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An effective reproduction requires your medium applications to be made onto good quality, white matt / uncoated paper. The weight should also be compatible with your medium applications; therefore, heavy medium applications, especially hand or sponge printed picture with a bare background will need stronger paper from at least 160-300gsm to prevent paper ripples appearing in the reproduction as unattractive black shadows that can only be removed by costly retouching.
For collage applications, all exposed paper media to be scanned, whether it is in white, plain colour or pattern must also be in good quality to avoid poor reproduction. This means if you adhere a poor quality office white paper as collage to make a snowfield or a bold penguin tummy, the collage will reproduce poorly, even if your template is good quality paper; similarly, if you use bargain black paper to make a bold penguin, the black will come out grey and blotchy. - see ‘COLLAGE’ for full details
For heavy layering of paint or technical applications, we highly encourage using specialist art papers, either cartridge or cold pressed, as they can make a real positive difference in usage, to the finish and to the reproduction.
CARTRIDGE PAPER is a specialist all round art paper with superb erasability, suitable for most mediums including painting. It’s durability will enable users to efficiently experiment with technical applications without hindrance. Although more expensive than ordinary papers, it will provide a much greater pleasure in usage, deliver an unrivalled quality to the finish that will significantly enhance the reproduction. We sell 220gsm art papers with the template preprinted at low rate, payable at project end.
COLD PRESSED PAPER offers superior water absorbency, hence perfect for watercolours. It is more expensive than cartridge paper, but the rough surface will guarantee to enhance textures regardless of the artist’s skills. The added textures will reproduce beautifully and therefore, the end product will be greatly enhanced. Treat your pupils to these papers and discover the difference.
Understanding mediums and their application purpose can help create a good quality finish that will complement our reproduction. As long as a manageable picture type and subject is chosen correctly to start, there is always a suitable finishing solution for all ages and abilities.
This is undoubtedly the most effective medium type, will efficiently deliver unrivalled effects of tones, depth & textures vital for reproduction, requiring the least skills to use well if mixed accordingly for graphic type, and application is orderly made (not like colouring-in) using suitable tools. Their fluidity & outstanding vibrancy make them ideal for covering large areas, while their exceptional blending capabilities can facilitate constructive applications like colour-mixing, wet-in-wet, backrun, reverse painting, blotting or spattering to transform the picture.
Painting-in-layers will promote the easiest application and best results . . . Do only make up your picture with easy contour graphics and then paint in layers with gradual build up of intensities starting with background and follow by the subject. To eliminate awkward application and a poor finish, do not approach your paint application like a colouring-in such as painting a sky background around small intricate snowflakes, clouds, or the subject such as a snowman or a tree - correct application order is the key to success.
Paint + touch of other medium . . .Your entire picture doesn’t have to be finished with only one type of paint or just paint; you can introduce other textures by using marker pen or wax crayon to define a subject or to finish smaller graphics such as delicate facial features, arms and legs. Adding a touch of collage to a painting can substantially boost picture quality, material can be fabric for a snowman’s scarf + hat, or pattern card for a pot to accompany a hand printed Christmas tree.
Tools are not limited to brushes . . . Sponge is great for caterpillar, sheep, robin, snowman, reindeer. Finger or cotton bud is ideal for pattern, snowflake, bauble, berry, light, baby animal, bird. Finger or sponge can be used for covering plainer bold graphics like orange, chunky tree or ground for added textures. A lid can make ring patterns. Folded edge of a card or ruler end can make lines. Hand or foot print can be a shape for a tree, reindeer or angel, especially striking with tonal vibrant gouache compare to most average poster paints.
WATERCOLOUR is the easiest to use for novice due to their flexible transparent character, superior luminosity and high tonal output; it is fantastic for bold subjects, especially backgrounds & wax-resist applications.
INK has similar luminosity like watercolour; using an ink pad + finger can reveal skin textures, great for making round patterns and baubles. However, pictures made with ready-made stamps should be completely avoided unless it is used sparingly for a few background stars.
POSTER PAINT is much more opaque, must be mixed accordingly to suit graphic type & scale; it is best for patterns, smaller or shapely foreground and accent type graphics. When layered onto a background of a more diluted mixture or tonal watercolour, it can deliver strong subject focus, depth, contrasting textures. To avoid a dominating heavy & flat picture, never make thick pasty applications on entire picture or large areas, most backgrounds should be diluted at least 35% to promote visible brush marks, depth and textures.
White graphics look great painted with poster paint due to its heavier nature, not left as flat bare white paper.
Depending on the graphics and desired finish, paint mixture can be strong to mildly diluted, and must be layered onto a dry colour background that is best painted softer or more tonal in order to create visibility, contrasting colours, textures, and even some colour mixing effects when the underneath colour is slightly exposed. A snowman or sheep can be painted with a brush or sponge; a snow field or clouds can be easily painted with a large stiff brush, sponge, small rag, or finished as finger painting; and snowflakes can be quickly finger painted, applied with a cotton bud, or using spattering technique to create even more exciting visual effects.
GOUACHE is somewhat similar to poster paint, but without dull chalkiness even used in stronger mixture on large areas; it delivers a much livelier vibrancy & luminosity, hence will enhance picture quality. When diluted lots, it gives a tonal output that our reproduction craves - well worth exploring.
They should not be used alone or with wax-crayons as a ‘colouring-in’ tool. Good quality pens should be used sparingly, skilfully and purposefully as a mix-medium in a painting, not for filling in bold graphics, backgrounds or drawing doodles and foreground graphics entirely.
Like paint brushes, size and shape matters, therefore pen tip should be fit for purpose to promote application accuracy, efficiency and a good finish.
OIL BASE PERMANENT MARKER is far more effective for delivering vivid output compare to felt pen regardless of medium surface it is drawn onto. It is the only suitable type for application on top of wax or oil, such as for adding facial features on a wax snowman; even on a water base surface like poster paint or gouache, oil base pen will deliver superior vibrancy, even in black. They are also particularly efficient due to their waterproof quality, enabling certain dark graphics to be drawn before watercolour application without causing smudges. With exception of black or dark brown, other colours will not appear accurate or vibrant when drawn onto a coloured background as they would on bare white paper.
Only if added lightly or proportionally as a mix medium to a painting, collage can be highly effective for promoting picture quality + subject focus and for boosting effects such as depth & textures, this means that it is always best to paint the background tonally and then add your stark mix-textured collage foreground subject. For any collage subject that is bold or bulky, various texture, colour or pattern materials must be used to avoid a dominating flat, bland and dull reproduction, thus eliminating a poor quality picture.
The most counter productive pictures are of those made entirely of collage using a large colour media as a background
By solely relying on collage colours to deliver contrast is rarely enough because the finish will still be flat-on-flat, furthermore, the reproduction of any largely exposed chunky colour media is rarely attractive & often unpredictable, hence we stress to use collage sparingly and proportionally; a good quality picture demands contrasting tones, depth & textures, therefore painting the background is a vital strategy for effective delivery of these key effects. If you must use a flat colour media as a background, you do need to break up this vast flatness by covering it with at least 65% painted foreground graphics to promote contrasting textures - it is far easier and quicker to paint a background than a subject
COLLAGE-ON-PAINT is an easy mix-medium application, great for infants & novice with less graphic or medium application skills.
Do not use low quality paper or card material in any colour, white & pattern; choose smooth good quality stock, not office white paper or low end grainy construction papers made for children’s art & craft. Low quality = poor reproduction = payable retouching required
Do not use metallic or plastic star or shapes, they are no different to sequins, can easily fall off and damage our equipment.
Do not use high reflective material as it will reproduce negatively; use white for brightness over a dark or heavy surface
Do not attach preprinted graphics including stickers, with medium application or not; ie. cut-out santa, butterfly, fish, etc
Do not use anything with glitter, these fine particles will easily contaminate other art and our equipment.
For effective reproduction purpose, wax crayons should not be used alone or with felt pen as a ‘colouring-in’ tool; good quality crayons should be used skilfully & purposefully as a mix-medium. The most common application is for wax-resist, either applied partially for less demanding background graphics - stars, moon, snowflakes, random patterns, or wholly including easy foreground shapes - ground, building, tree, snowman.
Especially for the important subject, wax must be heavy + thick, skilfully applied, regardless application is for a texture finish to be filled with paint, or fully covered; therefore, subject wax may be unsuitable for anyone too young or with less ability.
Crayons do not have to be always used like a pen, rubbing with the side can efficiently cover large areas or form exciting textures; layering colours can deliver colour-mixed effects, while varying application pressure can promote various depth. For anyone capable, scraffito application can be effective, as long as plenty of well-composed graphics are etched away with various width tools to form a vibrant, meaningful picture.
Both oily and chalky types can deliver many stunning effects and a super vibrant reproduction, however, should not be used alone unless some effects can be created as these mediums are intended for. Like wax crayons, it is best to use the oily type as a mix-medium in wax-resist applications only for graphics that are appropriate for ability.
They require some skills to use well, neither are meant to be used alone for entire picture as a colouring-in tool to produce just a thick, flat and pasty finish; some application techniques like colour-mixing, smudging, blending, shading or etching need to be applied purposefully to create contrasting tones, depth or textures.
Their soft nature can especially enable easy applications - the sharp edge or point is best used for small details & lines, while the side edge of suitable width can be glided to draw chunkier dense or textured line type graphics like a tree trunk or snowman’s scarf; and the flat side can be rubbed to quickly cover internal of large areas, fully or with textures, making them possibly easier and less tiresome to use than wax crayons.
Not only great for boosting vital effects of contrasting tones, depth and textures, some usage of mix-mediums is absolutely necessary for a good quality finish as they can ease applications of any smaller type graphics including those that are delicate, intricate, linear, or pattern-like. Some common examples are scarf / hat, snowflakes, stars, bauble hangers, flower stems, facial features, or body parts such as arm, leg, antler and tail, of which can all be difficult to express well with paint+brush for most novice and infants.
These are some of the most effective mixed-medium applications for creating tones, depth and textures. You don’t have to apply only one mix-medium application to your picture, you can express it with any combination, in any proportion as required or desired, as long as your inclusive graphics are suitable for the artist ability.
One easy combination is ‘wax-resist + collage-on-paint’, which involves making a shapely ground + snowing / star lite sky with wax-resist application, follow by adding the subject on top using mix textured or pattern collage material; alternatively, a third mix-medium application ‘painting-in -layers’ can also be made using mildly diluted opaque paint for snowflakes, applied with finger, cotton bud or even with spattering technique.
As a final step for any picture, you should always stand back to evaluate your finish, paying extra attention to the all-important contrast and subject focus, and then make any necessary adjustment or enhancement using the most suitable mediums - this crucial finishing touch can make a significant difference in transforming you picture quality from average to outstanding. One of the most important adjustments is perhaps adding definition to your subject, either outline with a suitable tip size black marker pen to alleviate pale-on-pale, or a gold / silver pen to alleviate dark-on-dark. Other effective enhancement can be increasing vividness of any accent graphics such as a red scarf / hat, a red nose on a reindeer, a tummy on a bird; or it can be removing any overly dominating flat, dark or heavy paint in the background to create more contrasting depth, tones and textures using a clean brush dipped in water. For some infants, you may likely have to make some final steps for them, as this will eliminate any scribbles or overly unskilful application from using marker pens or wax crayons.
Take a look at our examples . . . find out how you can use mix-mediums effectively to make simple yet exciting good quality pictures rich in effects, suitable for all ages and abilities.
COLLAGE-ON-PAINT is a relatively easy application involving adding collage sparingly or proportionally to a painting, Collage can be only a touch or up to about 45% maximum depending on material and usage; please especially note that no picture shown is made entirely with collage, because this same-on-same approach will result in a bland, dull or even poor reproduction lacking any vital effect due to flat-on-flat or heavy-on-heavy.
WAX-RESIST is a water-over-oil application using watercolour, ink or gouache over heavy wax or oil pastel. The finish will typically appear with speckled textures if the combination of wax + paint is balanced and suitable for graphic type; it can be applied for creating speckle textured colour-mixed effects, which is particularly stunning on white graphics; or when similar paint colour is used, the application can boost picture quality by adding some subtle textures and intensified vibrancy onto any wax graphics, especially effective for most subjects or graphics that are more bold.
PAINTING-IN-LAYERS is not a difficult application at all if your foreground graphics are of easy contour, and you also use an effective painting tool suitable for ability. Foreground graphics in stronger paint mixture are typically layered onto a more tonal or softer background, and any smaller or accent type graphics can be finished with a touch of other mix-medium or not.
Incorporating some colour-mixing application should also be considered, it requires minimal skills using paint, great for any dominating area and can transform your picture from one that is average to outstanding.