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Is it the paper or the prep?

Discussion in 'Substrates' started by Karl Becker, Oct 12, 2020.


  1. Karl Becker

    Karl Becker Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Welcome to the first installment of my WTF series of questions.

    I started a project on what is basically card stock. The intent was to use a blade to do some scratching. The paper did not comply. My question is, can any paper be used for scratch work if prepped right, or is the choice of paper the deal breaker? Assume I know nothing, because I don't.

    Your opinion is appreciated. :)
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  2. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    You choice of substrate should be in line with what you intend to do with the painting.
    The erasing tools required will be determined by the type of substrate. The harder the substrate the more aggressive tools can be used.
    Cardstock will tolerate gentle erasing with a fibreglass eraser - if you don't have one I suggest you start searching for both the 2mm and 4mm ones. (Happy to provide details if you need ). the standard double ended eraseser will be effective just don't get to heavy handed.
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  3. Karl Becker

    Karl Becker Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Thank you for that. I was using both soft and hard erasers, but neither performed very well. I don't have a fiberglass eraser, but will look into it.

    Thanks again!
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  4. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    normal school type erasers or the Faber-castell perfection eraser pencil- double ended. ?
    If its the pencil shaped eraser then with a blade sharpen it to a chisel shape, not a normal pencil shape -
    the 2mm fibreglass erasers can be used in a mechanical pencil that has the 'jaws' not just a push through tube. the 2mm fibreglass refills are not easy to find. check out hobby stores, they're often used for cleaning model railway lines, or somewhere like radio shack, they use them for cleaning printed circuit boards. when I do find them I stock up. the 4mm are easily available.

    hunt down 'set 3 scratch brush' in google, prices vary a LOT so don't jump on the first set you see.
    This set has the 4mm fibreglass, steel & brass brushes - as well as 'scratching' on the right surface for hair/fur.
    upload_2020-10-12_12-15-57.png

    refills easily available. the brass and steel refills can be easily spread to spray through to imitate fur / hair type of texture if scratching is going to be to aggressive for your substrate

    upload_2020-10-12_12-19-26.png

    NOTE: when using fibreglass erasers, do not wipe the surface with your hand to clear the fibres off the surface.... I suggest a cheapo large make up brush (or nick one from your mrs when she's not looking)
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  5. crazyvet

    crazyvet Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    On another note ( and to add more questions than answers lol) Not all paint erases and scratches the same. Not only does substrate need to be considered by type and brand of paint
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  6. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    True, forgot about that ! I use Illustration 90%of the time.
    from memory the paint of choice here is Wicked.... not ideal !
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  7. jord001

    jord001 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    I think most normal paper absorbs the paint to an extent where scratching and erasing is pretty much none existent, I have found that card stock and photo paper are better and you can do a bit. Not sure about paper made for markers with anti bleed properties. I think I have a pad of that so must give it a try at some point.

    And as Chuck said, paints are different, I mainly use Etac and Mick Neill's airbrush studio paint ( :( you cant get Mick's paint any more) however both erase really nice on Claybord, Schoellershammer paper and g4 board.

    I have used CI on Yupo and Claybord but cant vouch for any other paint system, Actually Mick's paint worked really well on synthetic paper, yupo or Larna Vanguard is all I have.

    oh I do know Etac doesn't work well on Yupo or Larna Vanguard synthetic paper you can spray it on but its really delicate.

    Most paint works well with canvas but you cant scratch or erase very well due to the texture but it can be done, I've done some on my mc painting. Maybe if its gesso'd really well you will get better results. Not tried it yet. Nick @Tuffnutz do you gesso your canvases? What is your prep procedure?

    Lee
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  8. jord001

    jord001 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    I know a few people who would chuck a coat or 2 of clear on some paper when they were clearing something. I was told it worked well but I have never tried it so can't 100% vouch, However if you clearcoat paper then you have more of a chance of being able to scratch and erase, it will behave like a hard surface and shouldn't be porous.

    Lee
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  9. Karl Becker

    Karl Becker Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Thanks guys!

    Lee,
    That what my thought going into it. I knew the paper was somewhat porous for what I was doing, so I put a couple coats of rattle can clear on it days in advance thinking that might seal the surface and make scratching/erasing easier. It probably helped, but still didn't work well.

    Jackie is correct, I am using Wicked with 4012 reducer. Maybe the paint sets too hard out of the gun, I don't know. Where I laid the paint down a little thicker, the eraser just took off flakes instead of the whole area. From what I have read, I gather that CI is more forgiving, but I don't have any yet.

    Lots to learn still...
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
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  10. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    CI is definitely the choice for erasing. with the wicked you may need to erase as soon as possible rather than let it set.
    Putting a coating on cheap substrates is a great way to practise, putting it on expense stuff negates buying the expensive stuff, you are painting on the coating rather than what you paid $$$$$$$ for.

    Not sure about the new avatar, it looks too cute and wet behind the ears.... oh, hang on maybe that's the impression you were trying to create lol
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  11. Karl Becker

    Karl Becker Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Who doesn't love Mal?

    Or do you prefer Jayne?
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
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  12. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    Robert Downey jr.... every gal luvs a bad boy :whistling:
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  13. Kim McCann

    Kim McCann Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    I think most of what you need to know has been posted already. The simple truth is that the support you choose will have a huge impact on sgraffito (scratching) techniques, as will how you prep the surface. Porus supports such as watercolor paper will be next to impossible to scratch or erase on without damaging the paper. So if you plan on erasing, choose a support that is less porus and has a tighter or smoother texture. Vellum, photo paper, synthetic papers, hot press plate finish cardstock, filled and gessoed canvas well sanded, clayboard, etc.

    The downside with these is that they are more prone to spidering, or runs. So it is a tradeoff between control and erasability. So you should experiment and find out what works for you.

    For freehand, as an example, I like yupo lightly sanded to add a little tooth, otherwise I find it too slick. If I am going to be working with frisket, I prefer illustration card. So it depends on what your goals are.

    Clear coating a rough surface is generally a bad idea as you get the spidering problems without getting much more erasability, and it ends up costing more than just going out and getting a higher grade paper. However some swear by it, so... your millage may vary.

    More than anything tho, work in as light layers as you can. Even cheap typing paper can stand up to some erasing if you work as light as you can.

    Blade work and scratching however require that you put down enough paint to keep it moist when moving to a blade or stick, and nothing makes porus papers more unhappy than moisture.

    Maybe consider making your own clayboard. It is inexpensive once you have the materials and is a dream for airbrush artists to work on.



    Sent from my SM-N920W8 using Tapatalk
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  14. jord001

    jord001 Air-Valve Autobot!

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    I wouldn't mind being locked in the engine room with Kaylee

    Lee
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  15. Karl Becker

    Karl Becker Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Amen to that! :whistling:
  16. Karl Becker

    Karl Becker Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Thank you for the very thorough reply!

    Subtrates are the X-factor for me right now. Most of what I've done to this point has been straight up painting without any extra technique involved. Now that I'm exploring some of that, I need to put more thought into this.

    I appreciate all of the information!
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  17. Karl Becker

    Karl Becker Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Na. I don't look anything like him.

    If it's any consolation, I aim to misbehave. :cool:
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  18. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    I’m listening.... so are @Squishy and @LadyCharlie :love:
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  19. Karl Becker

    Karl Becker Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    After further review of your replies on the topic of my avatar, I am led to believe that you have never watched Firefly. If that is true, our relationship can move no further. We need to work this out.

    Go on, spill it. I hope I'm wrong.
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  20. JackEb

    JackEb The Dragon Hunter Staff Member Admin

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    If I try and watch it in the next few days am I forgiven ?? It would have to be good to sway me from mr Downey !
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