Scratching Around

This is a postcard I did recently. Easy technique. Take a background with a shiny, slippery quality – ad cards that come in the mail are great, but I really favor the printed side of cardboard boxes for cereal, crackers, etc. I like the more substantial feel of the paper for this process, for some reason.

Take a spackle tool (the plastic spatula-like tools, often sold in multipacks at the hardware or paint store, differing sizes, for about $3 for 3). Squirt some acrylic paint on a spare piece of paper. Scoop up the paint with the spackle tool and spread it on the background’s shiny side. Get a nice thickish layer. Then, take a sharp-pointed item of some sort (I use metal double-pointed knitted needles) and just draw in this layer of paint.

You’ll find that the paint is scraped through to the background. Depending on what the background printing was, you will get some interesting patterns and variations enhancing your drawn image.

Or maybe not. In this picture, there were some black areas that I drew into, and these didn’t contrast with the black paint. I couldn’t have really anticipated it as I had no idea what I was going to do until I did it. Didn’t bother me – I adjusted by adding some collage. This is how the lady acquired her blue mouth, not to mention her nose job.

If you don’t like your drawing, take your spackle tool and re-spread the paint, and try again. You can do this a couple of times, usually, but the paint does eventually dry. You need to be quick and spontaneous with this technique. The knack will come to you very quickly as you work with it, don’t worry.

But, if the paint does dry, this technique also works well using layers of paint – good for when you just have plain paper as your background. Put down one color, let it dry thoroughly, and then do another layer with the spackle tool and scrape. It may also be a nice idea to use gloss acrylic medium between the layers – makes the bottom layer more “slippery” – but it’s not necessary.

I’ve added a gallery of some postcards I did last year in this technique as well.

Just try it and see what you get. It’s a lot of fun.

Lady With a Blue Mouth Mail art postcard 2013

Lady With a Blue Mouth
Mail art postcard


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