Old, New & Digital Too – Challenge 1

Hi everyone

I’m very excited to be part of the Old, New, and Digital Too design team. A wonderful new mixed-media challenge blog developed and run by Mo, a good friend of mine.

Old, New and Digital Too Challenge blog

I’ve been teaching and making art for many years but never been involved in something quite like this! So I’m looking forward to seeing all the creative ideas you come up with – it’s going to be fun.

With ideas and guidance from the ON&DT design team you’ll have plenty of inspiration to keep your creativity flowing.  You’ll find lots of exiting things developing on the ON&DT blog along with a monthly Mixed media art challenges.

I really hope you’ll pick up your brushes, stamps and crafting tools to have a go yourself.  I look forward to seeing your results and to read your comments. Don’t forget to visit the ON&DT blog to see the other inspiring ideas and variety of techniques used by Deborah, Sarah and Mo.

Anything Goes – Challenge 1

Old, New and Digital too. Challenge 1
Old, New and Digital too. Anything Goes

I recently completed a series of 20 still life pencil drawings and chose this one of the hen for this challenge (this is the New in ON&DT).  I  have been eager to do something with them – add some colour, texture – I wasn’t sure what – but I knew I had to do something so they would tell more of a story.  But I didn’t want to re-draw them!

I am really happy with the way my Lovable Hen turned out…

Here’s how I did it…



Critical to this process was uploading a digital photo of my drawing to my computer (this is the Digital in ON&DT).  Using Adobe Photoshop I altered the contrast and enlarged them from A5 to A3 size (international paper sizes) and printed them onto 120g/m matt inkjet paper. 

Step 2

Background + masking fluid

I used a scraper (old credit card), rather than a brush, to cover the whole page with white matt emulsion (you can use Gesso if you wish).  This layer needs to be thin so the drawing shows through – I didn’t want to lose all that hard work as it took me over an hour to draw the chicken sculpture in the first place. 

I found a bottle of masking fluid in one of my many art boxes that I hadn’t used in years, since my long forgotten water colour painting phase! (this is the Old in ON&DT) After letting the emulsion dry I covered all the pencil drawing (not the background) with Masking fluid. 

Step 3

Corrugated card

Once the masking fluid was fully dry (it can take a while) I brushed in the background colour with a large (2” decorators) dry-ish brush.  If you keep the hairs dry and only apply a little paint and lightly brush it over the surface you will begin to see the textures that were created when you applied the emulsion in step 2.  This is called ‘dry-brush’ technique. 

REMEMBER: It doesn’t matter if the paint goes over the masking fluid a little as it will be removed later.  This is why it’s there, but be careful not to paint too much paint over the masking fluid.

I used a piece of corrugated card to print texture lines and colours in 3 parts of the picture: I printed with the flat side of the corrugated card for the background texture; printed with the edge of the cardboard for the dark brown lines; and applied the peach accent colour using the edge of the cardboard as a scraper.

Step 4

Once all the paint layers were dry I removed the masking fluid by rubbing with my fingers.

The reason this drawing works so well is because of the contrast between the drawing and the colours.  Even at this stage the picture didn’t look very good because there was still one more thing I needed to do: redraw the chicken in black ink to make it stand out (increase the contrast) from the background. I used Indian ink and a pen nib as I love the variation (thick, thin, dribbles) in line it gives.

OK! It’s all coming together nicely but something still wasn’t quite right.  The last stage was to address the visual balance of colours and link the background with the foreground chicken drawing.  I continued adding some text into the background about my art work.  I wrote about what inspired me to make the drawing in the first place and a bit about the hens I keep at home.  This bit of writing adds a lovely personal note to the artwork.


That’s it: Finished.  I hunted around for a picture frame to fully complete the art work.  Amazing how much difference a frame can make!

Now all I have to do is give the same treatment to the next 14 pencil drawing!

 Have a go.  You’ll be amazed at the results you can get.

More art project on my website
Click here >

More ON&DT mixed-media challenges
Click here >

More inspiration on Pinterest
Click here >

More chance to comment via Twitter
Click here >