Paint, Play, Explore: Expressive Mark-Making Techniques in Mixed Media

Paint, Play, Explore: Expressive Mark-Making Techniques in Mixed Media

by Rae Missigman


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Discover the marks for your most authentic art!

Mixed-media artist Rae Missigman identifies herself as a "mark-maker." Ever in the forefront of her art, organic shapes and graphic marks are what give her work a sense of authenticity. With an adventurous, anything-goes attitude to expressing herself, she is just as likely to use a celery stem, a sewing machine or a cardboard tube as she is a brush, a palette knife or her own hands.
In Paint, Play, Explore, Missigman helps you discover those marks that define you as an artist, and weave them into your art in new and interesting ways. Through page after page of creative exploration, you'll become a collector of tools--traditional and unconventional mark-makers that will become an extension of your unique voice.
You'll become a tinkerer as you recycle and repurpose, striving to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary. You'll become an explorer as you draw with your non-dominant hand, create "blindly" using resists, stamp with your own handcrafted organic ink, and follow other creative prompts to widen and shape your artistic world.

Whether you're just starting your creative adventure or you're looking to break through to the next level, Paint, Play, Explore will set you in motion. Setting the tone with her upbeat vibe and joyful use of color, Missigman pushes you to find your own beautiful artistic "fingerprint" to create work that is interesting, full of life and distinctly yours...and above all, to embrace the journey.

"The shapes you choose to etch in your work, free flowing and heartfelt, are a part of what makes the art your own. Tools in hand, your marks will find you and you will begin to recognize yourself in your creations."

You're going to need a bigger creative toolbox...
  • 60+ mark-making tools and mediums
  • 23 stepped-out demonstrations on collage, one-brush painting, monoprinting, resists, transfers and other fun and versatile mark-making techniques
  • 4 start-to-finish projects for turning marks into inventive art

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440350283
Publisher: F+W Media
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 571,031
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 10.40(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt


The Tools


To be a mark maker is to declare your love of all things that leave a visible imprint or outline on something. To be a mark maker is be a collector of tools, both traditional and nonconventional, that will become an extension of who you are as a marker of art marks. As a mark maker you will become a tinkerer. You will inspect, explore and study your tools and what they can do for you. To be a mark maker you will reinvent the way your art is created, adding and subtracting along the way, remaking something ordinary into something extraordinary. As a maker of marks you will seek to discover your own representations in art, forming and shaping your individual style of imprints along the way. You will find yourself selecting and sorting a unique set of tools that will speak to who you are as a maker of art marks.

Writing Implements

EACH OF THE MOST BASIC MARK-MAKING TOOLS — pens, pencils, crayons, markers and ink-filled brushes — offer their own unique fingerprint when it comes to forming fundamental marks. These simple writing elements are easy to gather and provide you, the artist, with limitless opportunities for forming and shaping marks on a variety of substrates.

As you experiment with these uncomplicated tools, you will discover their individual natures: some are flexible and yielding, allowing you to create outside the bounds of their intended use; others are unbending and less manipulative in what they will allow you to render.

Exploring these tools is key to mastering what they will do for you as an artist. Practice and play with each implement, stretching the limits of its intended use. Dedicate a journal to making notes on all your mark-making tools. Observe how your writing implements respond to water, paint and other mediums. Test them on all varieties of substrates and make notes so you can track what each tool does and how it reacts when paired with other elements. These rudimentary tools are the ones you will most often reach for when making your mark.


Water-soluble with intense color, writes on most surfaces

* DERWENT INKTENSE BLOCK, SHERBET LEMON Intense color, can use wet or dry, permanent when dry

* NO. 2 MECHANICAL PENCIL Blendable, erasable, writes over most mediums

* BLACK CHINA MARKER Waxy, water resistant, writes on most surfaces

* WOODLESS COLORED PENCIL, ORANGE Smooth pigmented color, blendable

* YASUTOMO SUMI INK PEN, BLACK Opaque, highly fluid, water resistant

* UNI-BALL SIGNO GEL PEN, WHITE Archival, water resistant

* BLACK PERMANENT MARKER Alcohol-based, permanent


* CARAN D'ACHE NEOCOLOR II WATER-SOLUBLE CRAYON, JADE Great pigment, reactivates with water


* PORTFOLIO OIL PASTEL, PINK Soft, smooth, blendable

Paintbrushes, Palette Knives & Brayers

PAINTBRUSHES, PALETTE KNIVES AND BRAYERS are all great tools for creating interesting marks that leave a lasting impression. Each of these instruments allows you to manipulate the mediums you are working with, resulting in unexpected and compelling effects. Collect and experiment with an assortment of these tools before delving into a new project.

Having a wide variety of paintbrushes with assorted head shapes and sizes will ensure you have just the right tool to create specific marks as you work. Wide soft bristles, short dense hairs and broad sweeping arcs all have the power to move a piece in a new direction.

Palette knives bring dimension to the table and are indispensable when it comes to building texture and adding a unique sense of flavor to a piece of art. Choosing the right knife is requisite to adding a specific finish to a piece. Small, rounded blades are perfect for adding paint to small areas while wide, flat tips are best for spreading smooth, even texture to a large surface. This simple and age-old tool is the one that will take your art to the next level by cutting, etching and dividing areas of the piece into beautiful and interesting levels of depth.

When searching for a true workhorse of a tool, you will need to look no further than your brayer. It has the power to spin a full and impactful background on a large work in a short amount of time as well as roll the final touches across your piece, suddenly and fully bringing it to life.

Work with these tools and make notes in your journal. Which ones feel good in your hand, are easy to handle and give you the desired results? Which ones will require a bit of handling to become an extension of you, the mark maker? The staples of any artist's toolbox, you will find these implements to be the faithful laborers that build beautiful foundations over and over again.

* RED DETAIL BRUSH No. 0, synthetic, round

* GREEN LONG HANDLE No. 6, bristles, round

* SMALL BRAYER Ultra soft rubber, footed stand, 2½" (57mm) wide roller

* DECORATIVE BRAYER 1¾" (44mm) wide roller

* TROWEL PALETTE KNIFESTRAIGHT PALETTE KNIFE 23/8" (60mm) and 3¾"" (10cm) plastic, washable, lightweight

* OVAL WASH BRUSH 1" (25mm) rubber grip handle, soft bristles

* SHADER BRUSH ½"" (13mm) flat shape, angled edge, synthetic fibers

* FAN BRUSH no. 2, durable synthetic nylon fibers

* CHIP BRUSH 1" (25mm), great for laying thick layers of paint or gesso

Fingers & Hands

THERE IS SOME THING VERY PERSONAL AND PROFOUNDLY EXPRESSIVE about painting with your fingers and hands. The root of all artwork and a practice that dates back millions of years, finger painting allows you to create at a basic level. While seemingly simplistic in nature, this practice allows for the greatest control when placing marks on or within your work. Without the added extension of an outside tool, your fingers and hands allow your marks to be added in both a fluid and defined manner. In creating with these take-along tools, you will find that using your hands and even your lower forearms can add an unexpected and delightful layer to your work.

Think of your hands as a built-in brayer, allowing you to move paint and other wet mediums across the surface of your canvas quickly and in large sweeps. The results are both surprising and unique: Each artist's hands leave their own distinct texture behind in their wake. Just as your hands are a brayer, your fingers are your brushes, varying in size and shape and each leaving a detailed and unique mark with each stroke. Controlling your medium is straightforward with the use of these fundamental tools. From coverage to placement, you will gain a new awareness of what it means to build a foundation that speaks to who you are as an artist.

Begin by doing a short case study in finger painting. Using nothing but your hands, investigate the powers of moving the paint across the page. Experiment with one finger first, then use your whole hand to smooth and blend the colors. Add notes to your journal about the texture and marks that are built into these take-along tools, observing how these tools' fingerprints change as you create on an array of substrates. Immerse your fingers and hands in the paint. (This can be a big hurdle for some artists.) Become familiar with how the different mediums feel on your hands as you work. Do they dry quickly or stain? Do some mediums react poorly with your skin? Be aware of your allergies and note reactions in your journal, steering clear of any paints or mediums that cause irritations. Once you have answered these few simple questions, you will be ready to create some of the most intimate marks an artist can add to a work.

Stamps, Stencils & Masks

A FAVORITE OF MANY ARTISTS, STAMPS, STENCILS AND MASKS offer an endless lineup of mark-making tools. Both handmade and straight off the shelf, stamps, stencils and masks are easy to add to your toolbox and are easily mastered.

Stamps are typically made of a clear acrylic plastic or red rubber material and have the ability to add specific and planned details to any work of art. You, the artist, have the added benefit of being able to create your own hand-carved stamps. With a variety of materials and instructions available, even the novice carver can create specific stamps. You can harness that power and introduce one-of-a-kind marks simply by using a hand-carved stamp. Combined with inks, paints and other wet mediums, stamps can add interesting color, texture and detail to your work in a short amount of time.

Stencils are also tireless tools. Most commonly made of chipboard or thin plastics, shapes, words or numbers are cut into the material, leaving a void. Because stencils stand up to a huge array of mediums such as paint, ink, gesso, modeling paste and more, you, the artist, can collect and create with an endless supply of premade marks.

A mask is used to protect the surface beneath it and has the potential to create a beautiful negative space in your artwork. Stencils and masks, like stamps, need a counterpart before they can be used to help you make your mark. Sponges, brushes, palette knives and your fingers are all good choices for adding mediums to your work when using these tools.

Stamps, stencils and masks are all indispensable when you are looking to create visible and easy to repeat marks. When adding notes to your journal, consider these points. If you are going to apply paint to your stamps, red rubber is the better choice. Wet and fluid mediums are best used with a plastic stencil. What kind of predesigned marks are you looking to collect in the form of stencils and masks? What size stencils will work best for your projects? Make additional memos on application methods, noting in your journal what works best with specific mediums of your choice.

* MYLAR STENCILS & MASKS Heat resistant, reusable

* CLEAR ACRYLIC STAMPS Work best when mounted on an acrylic block, work well with ink pads and paint markers

Paints, Inks & Dyes

PAINTS, INKS AND DYES ARE ALL COLORFUL CHOICES for mediums when working with your favorite mark-making tools. Paints and inks are available in any number of viscosities and when paired with assorted mark-making tools will offer a wide variety of end results. You, the artist, can easily control the application of this medium simply by choosing a specific applicator, such as a brush, sponge, palette knife or your fingers and hands.

Ranging from fluid and transparent to opaque and heavy body to sheer watercolors, paint is a colorful choice. Not limiting yourself to what is available on the shelf but, instead, mixing your own colors to create a unique and captivating palette will help to create artwork that is intriguing and polychromatic. Price points for paint are usually reflective of both depth of pigment and range of coverage that a specific brand will produce.

Inks are similar to paints in that they are available in a wide range of colors and brands. In addition to offering a full range of color options, inks are also found in both permanent and water-soluble formulas. Acrylic inks present pigments that are very intense and opaque while water-soluble inks are sheerer in nature. Both types of inks are fluid, but they can be diluted with water, allowing you to alter the levels of intensity and transparency.

Dyes are similar to inks in that they offer a range of permanent and water-soluble stains. Fabric dyes are highly pigmented and combine special binding agents to make them waterfast and lightfast after the initial dyeing process. When creating, you, the artist, may enjoy the flexibility and unique properties of less traditional dyes, such as food coloring and the small pellets used for egg dyeing.

It is important to get out your journal and test the different varieties of pigmented mediums. Try making a color swatch for each brand and note the name of each color. Consider adding supplementary notes on opacity, water solubility, viscosity, favorite application methods and whether a brand is colorfast or lightfast. Record the results when experimenting with nontraditional dyes. Dyes of an organic nature have a tendency to degrade over time. Consider creating a color swatch and record how the dyes react over a longer period of time, paying special attention to color and light-fastness.

* ROW 1

Golden Fluid Acrylic: Quinacridone Magenta, Quinacridone Red, Transparent Pyrrole Orange, Diarylide Yellow, Green Gold, Teal, Ultramarine Blue, Payne's Gray

* ROW 2

Golden Fluid Acrylic: Alizarin Crimson Hue, Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold; Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic: Hooker's Green; Golden High Flow Acrylic: Turquoise; Golden Fluid Acrylic: Dioxazine Purple; Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic: Mars Black

* ROW 3

Golden Heavy Body Acrylic: Titanium White; Master's Touch Heavy Body Acrylic: Ocean Green, Olive Green; Amsterdam Standard Series Acrylic: Reflex Rose; Golden Fluid Acrylic: Raw Sienna; Martha Stewart Acrylic Metallic Multi-Surface Paint: Brushed Bronze

* ROW 4

Liquitex Acrylic Ink: Pyrrole Red, Cadmium Yellow Light Hue, Sap Green, Permanent Prussian Blue Hue, Quinacridone Magenta, Deep Violet, Dioxazine Purple

* ROW 5

Shinhan Watercolor: Crimson Lake, Permanent Rose, Cadmium Yellow Orange, Greenish Yellow, Veridian Hue, Light Red, Indigo, Peacock Blue, Permanent Violet, Opera Pink

* ROW 6

Paas Dye Pellets: Purple, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange, Pink

Primers, Pastes & Resists

PRIMERS, PASTES AND RESISTS ARE MEDIUMS THAT PRESENT NO VIBRANT color. Like paint and ink, however, they do come in a range of viscosities and can be used to create interesting negative spaces and build texture and dimension in almost any work of art. Before incorporating primers, pastes or resists into your artwork, study them and consider creating an entry for each one in your journal. Test each medium on different substrates and record how they react with paints, inks and other mediums both as a foundation layer and as a layered component while working through a project.

Gesso is most often used as a primer. Typically it is applied to paper, canvas, wood or other substrates and adds a bit of tooth to the foundation. Gesso, like most mediums, comes in both student and professional grades, with the main difference being the amount of filler used in the gesso. The most popular color choices are white and clear, though gesso can also be found in black and a range of other colors. Gesso can be easily tinted by adding a bit of paint or ink and mixing well. Because it is primarily used as a primer, gesso is found in a variety of textures, such as coarse, extra coarse and smooth. Working with a sample of each type in your journal is a great way to explore which options work best for your unique style of artwork. Try creating a swatch palette of different textures and grades. Add color to tint and explore the results of working on nontraditional substrates such as fabric and wood.

Modeling paste is a white opaque acrylic medium that allows you to add controlled amounts of texture to your artwork. It, too, can be used as a primer, but it is best for adding stiff peaks and definable dimension to any number of substrates. When dry, the paste can be sanded to create a smooth finished surface. The paste can be tinted before applying it to your surface, or painted and inked after it is dry. Try observing the different levels of texture and dimension you can achieve when working with different tools such as stencils, masks and palette knives. Note the difference in finish quality when the paste is sanded.

Gel medium is another indispensable tool that can be used to build texture, act as an adhesive and finish and seal a piece. Gel medium ranges from fluid to very heavy body, has a slow drying time, dries translucent and makes a great adhesive for collage and paper projects. During your record keeping, note how the heavy-body gel holds knife and brush marks while a more fluid medium increases the "flow" of paint when used as an additive.

Resists are another great supply to have in your toolbox. Both masking fluid and rubber cement can be used to "mask" off specific areas of your work to protect underlying layers. One common difference is the viscosity. Masking fluid is very thin and can be applied to specific areas using a detail brush. Rubber cement is thick and goopy and will work better for masking larger areas. Both types of resist are easily removed using a pickup tool or by gently rolling your fingers over the dried resist areas.

Another great resist tool is a simple wax-resist stick. Think about adding a swatch palette to your journal using both translucent and colorful wax crayons with your favorite watercolors. This is a great reference when you are looking to achieve a certain look with your resist and paint colors.




Excerpted from "Paint, Play, Explore"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Rae Missigman.
Excerpted by permission of F+W Media, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Collect, Tinker, Explore, 4,
Art Marks: A Love Story, 6,
CHAPTER 1 The Tools: Things That Leave a Mark, 16,
CHAPTER 2 The Marks: The Fingerprints of Your Art, 34,
CHAPTER 3 The Art: A Home for Your Marks, 74,
CHAPTER 4 Projects: Ideas for Put ting It All Together, 124,
Index, 156,
Dedication & Acknowledgments, 157,
About Rae Missigman, 158,

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