Friday, 19 December 2014

learn: Gold Leaf, pencils and ink with Patricia Ward

When I was little my Grandma always wore shiny things, and I think this is where my obsession with gold leaf started. I often get asked about the leafing process and how I work it into my art, so here is a tutorial on gold leaf, pencil and ink.

STEP 1
STEP 1:
I start with a sketch in pencil on the paper I intend to continue on. (I wish I was patient enough to sketch in a pad first, but alas I'm not.)


STEP 2
STEP 2:
Now, I start the leafing. This is the size (glue) that I use. I prefer a runny size as I do a lot of fine detailed work.

There are a few reasons for this...the main one being, there are a few things that can go wrong with leaf, so I would rather things go awry before the drawing is finished, rather than after.

STEP 3
STEP 3
I pour it into my ink tray for easy access.

STEP 4
STEP 4
I take a brush and paint the size onto the area I intend to leaf.

STEP 5
STEP 5
I keep the size fairly close to where I am applying it, and I clean my brush intermittently with water and a cloth.

STEP 6
STEP 6
Size never dries, so always apply it only to the areas you want to leaf.


STEP 7
STEP 7
Gold leaf comes in many forms. Although I do use actual Karat leaf sometimes, a lot of the time I use dutch (imitation) leaf. I buy it in transfer leaf, where the leaf is adhered to the tissue of a booklet, or loose leaf where the leaf is separated by tissue but loose.

STEP 8
STEP 8
Once your size has become tacky, take the tissue with leaf adhered to it out of the booklet and place it down onto your size.

Try not to touch the leaf as it sticks to your skin and you will lose whatever you touch with your finger. You can pick it up with a brush, especially if using loose leaf.

STEP 9
Gently smooth over it with your hand or cloth.

STEP 10
Then go nuts...don't be shy with the amount you use, cover all of your size.

STEP 11
Give the leaf a little time, then gently peel the tissue paper away.

STEP 12
STEP 12
You will end up with something like this.


STEP 13
STEP 13
Gently brush over your leafed section. There are many brushes on the market specifically for this, however I just use my softest painting brushes.


STEP 14
STEP 14
I brush the dust into piles and collect them into a container.


STEP 15
STEP 15
Gold leaf does get everywhere, this is an example of it's sticking power.

STEP 16
STEP 16
After I finish the leaf, I start inking in the rest of my picture. At this stage, I use a rotring mechanical drafting pen for the outlines.


STEP 17
STEP 17
Then I start inking in the shadows. I learnt with oils to do a raw umber under painting and I do a similar thing with ink, however, I mainly use black.


STEP 18
STEP 18
In this particular picture my next step is to start colouring with pencils. On the apple I have used Polychromos as they have a great range of reds. I block out which areas are shadow and which are highlights.

STEP 19
STEP 19
I then softly layer over the dark reds with a slightly warmer light red.


STEP 20
STEP 20
I continue to layer reds, pressing lightly harder.

STEP 21
STEP 21
I continue to layer the reds, then I start to burnish (blend) with yellows.

STEP22
STEP 22
At this point, I move on to Snow White where I have used Caran D'arche pencils (except for the lips which are polychromos). Luminance have a fantastic range of colours for skin tones. Again, I start blocking out the highlights and shadows.

STEP 23
STEP 23
The shadows are mostly blues and greys in this case, I use the same techniques as with the apple. Finally, I burnish the highlights with a light skin tone.




STEP 24
STEP 24
Once I have finished the focus point of my picture I move around the page and start working with washes of coloured ink.

STEP 25
STEP 25
I build my layers up, over my under painting.

STEP 26
STEP 26
I use Caran D'arche ink because of the hues they have available. Their colour range is pretty smoky.

STEP 27
STEP 27
Finally, I work in finer detail with the luminance pencils and then......


FINISHED!
I have my work photographed for its final presentation, as Gold Leaf and scanners don't play well together. Thanks so much for checking in, and I really hope this was of some interest to some of you.

Patrica Ward.

* I should also add that as I sat in a haze of glittering gold leaf, it did occur to me that perhaps in future I will wear a mask AND those white gloves that you can buy from your local supermarket. Although most imitation gold leaf is not deemed hazardous, there have been no long term studies on its effects on health, so perhaps err on the side of caution....which I haven't in this tutorial!


To see more of Trish's absolutely stunning work:
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3 comments:

  1. fantastic and thank you so much for sharing your process and techniques. I have gold leaf in the cupboard but have not had a chance to try using it so I am very pleased you shared this.

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  2. Wow!!! An amazing tutorial:) Thanks for sharing. I love this piece and still want a copy;) x

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  3. Thank you, Patricia, for this terrific tutorial! I admire your work and am appreciative of your sharing these techniques. I have always been intimidated by gold leaf, but may give it a try :)

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