2020 Topic 13: Lines
Dounia's gel plate has been in overdrive creating some incredibly intricate pages. She takes us through the process really clearly and the layers are really well defined and finished with some contrasting lines. Her explorations have resulted in such a lovely project and we'll have to ask her for her home-made gel plate recipe, which works so perfectly!
Hi everyone, it's Dounia with you today, and I'd like to share with you a project mixing gel printing and line art.
Smooth lines on clean paper are always striking but I also like them popping out of a busy, even messy background. I therefore used this opportunity to mess with my gel plate then play mix and match on the theme of circles.
There are hundreds of ways to use a gel plate but after some experimentation, I found I prefer to build layers on the plate and on the paper. Among my favorite tools for that are rubber stamps as they can provide both background patterns and focal images. Lin Brown has an amazing line of stamps designed just for that! For this project, I used ELB29 & ELB34. The leaves are gorgeous and my lazy self likes making found objects textures without having to find the objects!
I like to start by adding color to the clean plate using the stamps with Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic paints. I don't worry too much about placement or colours, I just try to be fair and distribute patterns evenly. Here I had a blue palette in mind but I began with accent colours Butternut, Autumn Fire and Brown Shed.
(Don't mind the color of my gel plate, it is homemade and has been melted down and recasted a few times). Over that first texture, I brayered a layer of my main colours: Sargasso, Paua Shell and Smurf. I then used the stamps to take off some the paint layers.
Here are the prints. They are quite busy but I like trying lots of techniques, colours and stamps on the same plate. It gives me an idea of what works together and what doesn't. For example here I think I used too much of the contrasting colours, which muddled the palette.
I then repeated the process with new combinations and had fun! I like to keep my selection of colours relatively tight. That way the prints will form a coherent ensemble and can easily be used in the same project. In the next round, I focused on a cream look, using Buff, Sand, and Haystack, with a brown contrasting final layer of Toffee, Mud Splat & Chocolate Pudding.
Again, the prints are quite busy but they are only backgrounds so that's fine! They can of course be used as such but for something with a bit more focus, I like to print a separate, contrasting layer on top.
Of course I want to still see the beautiful background I worked hard for, so after brayering the paint on the plate, I take off as much as I can with the stamps.
Here is the result on the blue backgrounds. (But not using the layer picture above because I was focused on the time sensitive printing and forgot to take pictures consistently, sorry!) A good contrast between the background and the top layer is crucial for the focal image(s) to be visible. I had some struggles with that... (that's why you won't see the cream and brown background again).
I am really pleased with these even if some are, in my opinion, more interesting than others. I had some difficulty choosing the paint colours for the lines as I had no real way to know or test how contrasting they would look. In the end, some choices were not quite right, too stark or too different a hue. I think that for medium to light backgrounds, black would be a safer bet!
Finally, it is time for the actual lines! I think they really play well with prints as they can isolate and emphasise the focal stamps that would otherwise be lost in the texture. I tend to stick to simple designs that will work on a bumpy surface: winding lines, hatchcrosses, simple geometric shapes... (little circles count as lines, right?)Also, if the background is not that interesting, the line can be the focal point. I used that trick in some of the following pages. As I was planning to bind them together in a book, I chose a common theme for my lines. I went with circles, because they are quite versatile and go well in square pages.
I hope this encouraged you to try lines on a busy background. It doesn't have to be on gel prints (even if those are fun!). I know I have pattern papers or scraps from masterboards with hidden gems that could be "revealed" by some contrasting lines, and you probably do too! They can make an easy focus element on a card or an embellishment on scrapbooking project so don't hesitate to give it a go!
Stay safe and creative