So What Is Gesso Anyway?

Gesso and Test Sheets

This afternoon, I did another experiment using the Strathmore Premium Cover white cardstock I purchased a few weeks ago, this time looking at how prepping it first with gesso changes the way a variety of art mediums behave on it. All of the art mediums I tested are commonly used by stampers: regular colored pencils, watercolor pencils, watercolor markers, archival pigment markers, watercolor crayons, pastel pencils, alcohol ink markers and Gel-Sticks/Gelatos.

My inspiration to play with this traces back to my most recent “Gelatos, Gel-Sticks & Stamps” eArticle. In researching the topic, I learned that you can improve dry blending of Gel-Sticks or Gelatos if you first prep the surface with a light coat of gesso. After I purchased the Strathmore Premium Cover but wasn’t happy with the way it takes colored pencils, I wondered if some gesso might make a difference. So today I gave it a try.

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Neenah Classic Crest Paper Tests

Neenah-Classic-Crest-Inks

I ordered some Neenah Classic Crest Solar White (80#) last week from Marco’s Paper after several stampers highly recommended it to me. It arrived in yesterday’s mail. (I placed my order on the morning of 8/29 online. They shipped it by early afternoon and I received it by 8/31. Speedy!) I put this cardstock to the same tests as I did with other white cardstock/paper on in my recent “Searching For the Best White Cardstock For Stamping” and “Same Papers, Different Inks” blog posts. Here are the results.

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Same Papers, Different Stamping Inks

Stamping Inks

I’ve got some Neenah Classic Crest cardstock on order, after hearing it so highly praised by several stampers who recommended it here. In the meantime, I’m still playing around with the white cardstock/paper I’ve got on hand.

Forrestwife mentioned in a comment that type of ink can make a difference in how an image stamps on a particular paper and this is a fair point. So I decided to try using one stamp (this time from Gotcha Images) to stamp on three different papers: Kromecoat glossy coated cardstock, Strathmore Premium Cover cardstock (Ultimate White) and Canson Cold Press Watercolor paper.

The inks I used included: Ancient Page archival ink, ColorBox pigment ink, Distress Ink, ColorBox Fluid Chalk ink, StazOn solvent ink, VersaFine archival pigment ink, Brilliance archival pigment ink, Antiquities pigment ink and Ranger Archival ink. I didn’t have black ink in all of these colors (and black isn’t the only type of ink we use anyway!) so this time, the ink I used is mostly red, pink or plum.

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Stippling Inside a Stamped Image (Sort Of)

Stippled Flowers

You may recognize the card on the right from the most recent eArticle, “Sponge & Brush Techniques for Stampers”. On the left is a second take on the card that I created today using the same stamp images and the same basic color scheme. Both cards used stippled ink from an inkpad for the base color on the stamped flower. But there are some differences . . .

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Brayer Play: Comparing A Brayer to Other Application Tools

brayer play

Today, I’ve been busy working on the next eArticle, “Brayer Techniques”. (It will be ready to post sometime on Monday afternoon 5/20/13.) I’ve mostly been working on the text and the layout for the pdf version today, but I had a little bit of time to get my fingers inky too! Here, I am comparing the look you get with six different ink applicators using Ranger Archival Ink on glossy white cardstock. It probably won’t be in the eArticle itself; consider it a bonus! :)

End of a Cosmetic Sponge: This is the way we used to get ink on paper for backgrounds way back when. We stampers still do it some, but we’ve learned easier ways since then. Still, I thought the look of simply repeatedly pressing the sponge end to the paper (instead of trying to smear it smooth) had potential for a background pattern.

Direct To Paper: DTP is a technique popularized the the ladies at Magenta many years ago using Clearsnap pigment inks and it is still a good one. You want  a juicy inkpad so that it doesn’t drag on the cardstock too much and cause the inkpad come loose.

Brayer: I used a soft rubber brayer here. It was the quickest of the techniques (except for using a stamp) and gave me a smooth bold result.

Sea Sponge: I tend to use sea sponges more with paint than with ink but sometimes when you want a more random speckling of ink, they can be an effective choice.

Stipple Brush: This was done with a JudiKins Color Duster brush. It creates a more uniform speckling pattern.

Stamp: The stamp is by Deadbeat Designs. Stamping is of course my favorite way to get ink onto a piece of paper. What is yours?

~Nancie