Resists are pencils, pens or liquids like rubber cement that prevent color from soaking into paper. I love using resists on my art journaling pages because it gives a type of texture to the page.
Tonight I tried three different resists, to completely different results and a big surprise to me. It seems the traditional resists I’ve used for a long time don’t always work the same way.
The first one I tried is white Uniball Signo gel pen from Jet Pens. I’ve used it to write on top of color and like the effect. It puts down a nice smooth, even line. I thought writing on Strathmore Ready-cut watercolor paper first, then using color, it would give me a nice resist. Not at all. The gel ink soaks into the watercolor paper and the color goes on over it. I was surprised.
I then tried Sharpie Poster Paint pens, which I did not expect to work well, but did, although it’s faint. I used watercolor pencils and a wet brush. I painted the wet brush across the pencil and used it as paint. You can see the dots as well as the flower on the middle of the page, right side.
Next I tried grease pencil, also called tile marker or china marker, is a white waxy pencil that is supported by a wrap of paper that you peel off to expose more pencil. I thought this would work; it’s my go-to resist pencil.
It didn’t work as well as I thought. I’ll admit, it worked a lot better with an ink wash, but I was using watercolor pencils, so it’s quite pale, but visible.
What worked best? Utrecht liquid frisket. I applied it with a brush. Use a cheap brush and be prepared to throw it out. The bottle says you can rinse the brush with soap and water, but after I do that, I throw it out. It’s just not the same anymore.
The dots are clear because the frisket goes down wet, dries, and you rub it off like rubber cement. There are no straight lines, but I like the clear effect, even if the watercolor is pale.
So, there are three variables: paper, resist, and the watercolor. I need to try ink washes to see if I get better results than watercolor pencils.
––Quinn McDonald likes the word “resist” because that’s what we do when we face ourselves in our art.