How To Color Pastelmat With Ink And Preserve The Tooth Of The Paper

by Wendi OBrien

Coloring Pastelmat with Ink

Today, I will be demonstrating a great way to get any color background you want on pastelmat while maintaining the tooth of the paper.


White Pastelmat

India Ink


Using the Ink

I put a bit of ink on the pastelmat then evenly spread it around with my brush.  I repeated this process until it was completely covered. 

Now, for this one I did use black ink but you could do this with any color ink.  I recommend doing this step first since it is a wet medium and if you apply pastel or other mediums on first then you run the risk of it running into those previous completed areas and ruining all the hard work you have put into your piece.

The paper does get quite wet during this process and you need to let it dry very well before continuing on with the next steps.  I did find it to buckle slightly when it was wet, but it flattened out quite nicely once it was completely dry. 

Be sure to tape it to a board prior to applying the ink to help keep it as flat as possible.  This is similar to working with watercolor and stretching your paper.  Same idea applies here.

Continue with Your Normal Steps for Completing Art

Once the ink is dry you can then proceed as usual.  Transfer your drawing onto the surface, apply and cut out masking film, and apply your pastels or colored pencils on top.  I never ran into the issue filling the tooth of the paper any more than if I had not used the ink.

Since pastelmat doesn’t come in a true black form and I really wanted the blackest surface for this piece of art I thought this would not only be a great way to achieve that, but a good experiment to see if it would affect the tooth of the pastelmat and if I could still achieve the final appearance I wanted. 

Again, this was not a problem at all.  The layers went down just fine, and blended as expected.  Even the pastel pencil I used to sign my work went down perfectly with no issues.

Open New Doors

I had a couple of ideas for an abstract background on pastelmat using inks and may give that a try in a future piece.  Trying this technique out has really opened up a lot of new artistic opportunities I hadn’t even considered before. 

No longer are you stuck with just the colors pastelmat comes in and no longer do you have to worry about creating a background and filling the tooth of the paper before even getting to the subject.  This was a real ah-ha moment and I can see how this could possibly used on other papers….which I must might have to try and see what works.

Share Your Findings with Art Supplies

Did you know you could use inks like this and still preserve the tooth of the paper?  What is your experience and do you have any other tips that I could try out?  Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time…keep on arting!

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