Work In Progress: The Weird World of Yupo

Yupo is a painting surface, but it’s not paper or wood. It’s plastic. Polypropylene, to be precise. Watercolor puddles and contracts, acrylic skates across the surface. Watercolor pencil goes on smoothly, like paint. Watercolor markers look great. It’s like working on greased glass. Yupo is not easy to work with if you want it to behave like anything else.

On the other hand, it’s a lot of fun to play with if you just like to experiment.

Yupo_GardenI started by using acrylic paint and cosmetic sponges. Really different feel, but a lot of fun. Then I branched out and tried wetting the whole surface first.

Yupo_FlrsStill no brush. This was paint dripped on wet Yupo, allowed to dry, then some removed, then the background added.

Yupo_seedlingsThis final piece is watercolor pencil and Pitt Pen. Some of the color was added with watercolor markers, then blended.

After a tough week of travel and teaching (although the class was lots of fun, it was far away) playing was a prerequisite to a productive week ahead.

Quinn McDonald will be teaching “The Magic of Yupo” at Arizona Art Supply on February 15. Details and registration.

6 thoughts on “Work In Progress: The Weird World of Yupo

  1. How intriguing! I’ve heard about yupo but no details as to what it actually was like to work with… I love each piece you made and they are so distinct from one another!
    Beth P

  2. Love what you did here, all three pieces are awesome! I love playing with Yupo paper and watercolour paint, mostly very wet puddles letting them merge and blend to make beautiful designs. I tried acrylics but the cool effects of Yupo didn’t develop. Tried using watercolour pencils and they hardly left any colour at all….or did you use them wet?
    I used Derwent, Artists Loft, and Staedtler Karat Aquarell WC pencils without success. Can you tell me what brand goes on smoothly? Also what brand of watercolour markers. I have tons of markers but none are watercolour, maybe they’re not available in Canada.

  3. So cool! I’d love to play with Yupo . . . it’s damned expensive here though and I have to add postage. That list of what to buy when I come over is getting as long as my arm and my arms will be long carrying it all back!

    I’m thinking about what I can use as a substitute . . . I’ll get back to you on that one.

    • It’s quite expensive here, too. You don’t need a whole pad’s worth just to experiment, so you can share a pad with someone. The sheets are pretty big. Save some space for paper made of minerals, like TerraSkin. That’s fun, too.

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