Monday, October 13, 2008

Wax Resist, part 1

I'm back, What a trip! I met so many wonderful people and had a great time with everyone.
Thank You to everyone who attended my certification classes, visited me in Savannah, or that I got to talk to in Kansas City. Now I'm back to all my unanswered e-mails, questions, and tedious coloring that fills my days. If you think I've been ignoring you just know I've been busy and will answer your questions in due time.

Wax Resist & Copics
Years ago I was doing presentations in an art school and the teacher who I was presenting to said she gave each student a lump of clear paraffin wax the first day of class so they could do resist techniques. As simple as this is, I don't know how many people actually have tried it.

A good coating of wax will repel Copic inks, though you have to be careful. Here I've taken a sheet of "Pool Fun" by Reminisce and by putting clear resist (a clear tea candle) over one word I can get it to stand out more by coloring over the rest of the area with a wide B34 marker. To clean up the area so the white is more vibrant I scratched off the the wax after I did the resist and any residue of blue came right off.

Once this is coated in wax Copic markers will not stick to that area very well, so if I had wanted to color in the word "Swim" I needed to do it before I added wax to do my resist.

Here are some rules of thumb to get the best results when working with wax resist and Copics. Wax is something you don't want on your marker tips, but if you're careful this technique will work just fine.

1. Always work over a good scratch paper and clean up any bits of wax you may leave behind. Otherwise it will come back to haunt you, stick to your fingers, get into your keyboard, or get ground into your carpet and other awful things. Clear wax could get on your clean paper and when you try to color later it will prevent you from getting even coverage.

2. Try not to scrub and soak your marker over wax. This might clog your tips, so color quickly but evenly- no need to go over an area twice. If you pick up a stray bit of wax get it off your tip quickly or it will cause streaking, especially with colored waxes. If it gets embedded in your tip you're in trouble.

3. Clean up any stray wax bits before you color with marker. I'm going to say it again because it's so important. Look at my red crayon/yellow marker example and how the red specks get picked up and smeared when I add color over the top. These lines look really bad.

4. Evenly cover the area you want resisted with wax, then test. You need to make sure the wax is protecting your paper and filling in any gaps that marker might seep into (see my example at the bottom of the page where the first word is not evenly coated with wax).

5. If you are layering colors to resist, plan which color needs to go down first. In this example the white was paper that I put wax on, then I added yellow, added more resist to protect the yellow area, and then added blue. The blue turns greenish from laying over the yellow, but both the yellow and the white show through the final layer of color.

6. For different resist colors, use crayons. Crayola crayons are the least waxy and will give you the best colors, but you need to color firmly to get best coverage. Waxy crayons will resist better, but their colors aren't always the best and they leave more little flakes that could get picked up and smeared around. Test a few brands for best results. In this example you can also see how much more vibrant the color gets when I scratched off the top layer of wax on the last 3 strokes after I colored over it with marker.

7. Avoid going over the wax with a Multiliner. It clogs and ruins the tips, trust me.

After you color over your wax, clean any stray marker off the wax area by gently scratching the top layer of wax off. Do this only when you are completely done, NOT between colors if you are layering colors. The wax protects the under color from the marker and when you scratch it off it isn't as protective. I scratched off this wax with my fingernail- see how much more vibrant the white looks. Also, see how I didn't evenly cover the first word and so it wasn't completely protected. You should experiment a bit to make sure that you are coating your paper thoroughly.

Now that you have some ideas about how to get the best results I'd love to see examples of what you've done with this technique. I'm going to finish this up tomorrow and show you my final image at that time, since this post is getting kinda long. Have a great day!


Nicole said...

GREAT TECHNIQUE! I will have to try this one!

Susie said...

Sounds like fun - a must try! I'm wondering if, instead of scratching off with your fingernail, you could place a paper towel over the waxed area and iron it - the wax will melt onto the paper towel.

marianne walker said...

Yes, you probably could do it that way, but then I'd have to go pull out my iron, whereas my fingernail I knew would work and I didn't have to plug anything in :)

Lori Craig said... you find the B34 marker...LOL! Great post!

Anne Holliday said...


Judikins MicroGlaze should work swell for this technique without the waxy buildup, yes?
Creepy Stalker Girl

Unknown said...

A while back ago you mentioned holding a certification class in Dallas. I would like to know how to get on your waiting list should this materialize. Thanks you so much for presenting this technique with wax resist. I've been wondering how to make more use of my copics.