The country I live in (Ireland) is known for a few things: St. Patricks day, Guinness, celtic designs and... steady weather throughout the year. And with steady weather I mean rain. Rain in all its wonderful shapes and forms: drizzling, pouring, lashing and even the kind that looks like less than a harmless drizzle and has you soaked to the skin in 2 minutes.
In the last two to three weeks however we were very lucky because the weather was beautiful, sunshine and a slight not too cold breeze made a welcome change to the usual damp conditions.
I decided to use the opportunity to create a new stash of pre-dyed paper to use later for arting and drawing on. I came to appreciate the random effect of the dye to create a background for the drawn design.
To dye your paper for later drawing you really want your dye to be waterproof; I tend to work a lot with Inktense pencils and watercolour and I would not want the background colour to reactivate and interfere with my intended later drawing. So I started doing a lot of research until I came across a number of artists on atcsforall.com that use fabric dye for exactly this purpose. Some use Jaquard dyes, I have Dylon dyes readily available in the stores around where I live.
The following picture shows the basic supplies I use for pre-dyeing my watercolour paper: warm water, dyes, paper, pipettes and - yes - coffee!
I like to vary the colours I use each time, this time I used Sunflower Yellow, Bahama Blue, Blush Pink and Goldfish Orange. The blue and yellow are suitable to make a lovely vibrant green together.
On the ground I spread an opened rubbish bag to sprinkle my dyes onto and dye my paper.
I do an initial layer of dyes, and I tend to to this layer with tone in tone colours like yellow and orange in the next picture. Then I let that dry completely!
After the first layer is dry I go at it again and this time I can use contrasting colour as well, like the lovely green shows. If I was to add the green onto a wet layer of orange I would get a murky brown colour.
Sometimes I want the two colours to mix, like the yellow and blue, and create a paper with a green hue to it, I can then go back later maybe with an orange or another colour.
Here you can see a little murkyness happening with the orange and pink and blue, I admit I did not wait long enough to add the paints. Right now the Dandelions are in full swing spreading their seeds and a few landed on my wet papers. I left them on and hoped for a nice effect like you would get from salt on wet watercolours. The effect is too subtle to be noticed, and maybe I would have had to dump a tonne of seeds onto my papers to really make a difference.
Now I have a good supply of pre-dyed watercolour papers and I hope they will last me for a few months. Who knows, maybe if you are trading on atcsforall.com you might be a future recipient of drawings made on these?