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View Full Version : Drafting Film Q's and hopefully some A's


TessDB
10-21-2006, 08:22 AM
Hi, All! :wave: Know I've been quiet lately... I'm finally snapping out of my slump and playing with drafting film for my celtic work and ... yich. This stuff has a serious learning curve for me. I keep getting to the "ugly" stage, and then it won't take any more layers! I'm really enjoying the painterly look I can get with it. And the speed of coverage. It's just... ugly. So. Here's my questions for those of you who aren't struggling with it (Maggie? Wendy?):

Workable fixative... Do you use it, is it helpful (having trouble with colors bleeding together where I don't want them), & will it mess up the drafting film or yellow or something over time? Thinking that it doesn't get absorbed like it does on paper, it just, uh, sits there.

Do you do an underpainting on the back side 1st, or do you reserve that to adjust values later?

Are you working with super-sharp points & light pressure or ...?

ummm... know there's more questions I'm not thinking of...

Any help will be greatly appreciated! If you really need to see the nastiness I'm creating, I'll post. But you're gonna hafta beg. :cool:

Tess

catchlight
10-21-2006, 07:49 PM
It sure is a learning curve isn't it! :) I had all those same problems when I first tried it too, believe me :D I don't use fixative on it as I use poly's and they dont' require any fixative at the end to prevent bloom. They also work differently on film in that they don't "smoosh" about and move on the film as prisma's can do. Once you put that line there with poly's, it stays there so that helps...I think anyway LOL.

I know there's a couple ways of doing it. One way I like to use for animals is to use very minimal blending and layering at all. I put down lines as fur basically, heavy and thick and don't bother with other layers. The other way is doing layers which I've done quite a bit of lately with experiments. For those you do have to be patient and lay the pencil down very softly and evenly and build up your layers patiently and gently which is a learning curve for me! Any time the pencil goes on too thickly in places it prevents you putting more layers so you have to be really even.

It sure does take practise but the good thing is, it erases completely so you can keep reusing til you get it the way you want hehe. Although I can tell you, with poly's and oil based pencils, they don't tend to erase quite as well as the wax based ones do, with strong colours you can get staining.

catchlight
10-21-2006, 07:50 PM
OH and I find that supersharp points are okay for heavy work but with light layers it's easier if they're slightly blunt at least. When you put a line on the film it can't be blended or anything (maybe with a colourless marker but I've not tried that) so you need to put it down the way you want it to stay! :)

Rita2479
10-21-2006, 08:02 PM
I have to admit that I'm glad this thread got started...:o

I have a few sheets of film that I've been dying to try but I'm afraid...very afraid. How many layers, maximum, does film seem to accept? I'm also assuming that it depends on how thickly the cp is applied.:confused:

Now, as for backing, do you put a backing on it or just leave it? The film seems pretty floppy and flimsy to me and I think I would prefer something with a more solid backing. That said I would think that a backing, white or otherwise, would alter the colour of the final piece.

Any input?

Rita

catchlight
10-21-2006, 08:08 PM
Well the cool thing, Rita, is that there's no need to be worried because unless you bend the film too harshly it's pretty indestructible, you can erase the pencil away entirely so making mistakes is no problem :)

Layer wise it does depend entirely on how thickly you apply the pencil. Can be anywhere from one layer to many. If you find that you want to put on more layers but it's not taking it, I've found that roughing up the surface a little with an eraser (carefully!) can allow you to put more down.

I use backings as another element to the piece itself. You can try different colours to see what compliments your piece, you can draw underpaintings on the back of the film (I usually do this at the end) to improve values etc. Many of mine I back with black because I like it, but it doesn't matter. You just go with what suits your piece.

It is really floppy but I just tape it to the backing I intend to use and go from there. You don't tend to make dents in it as you work like you would with paper simply because you don't have to press hard to get good coverage. It's tougher than it seems :D

TessDB
10-22-2006, 08:52 AM
I have a few sheets of film that I've been dying to try but I'm afraid...very afraid.

No fear! the stuff is incredibly forgiving (like letting you erase to nada-zip-zilch more times than I care to count) and hard to work with, all at the same time.

Thanks for the tips, Wendy! I'm just gonna keep (grrr) working on it until it either becomes clear I *do* need bazillions of layers to make something pretty or I "get" it. The brilliance of the color is amazing/wonderful/lovely/giving me fits. :D

Tess

Stormgirl
10-22-2006, 03:29 PM
Wendy, what type of eraser do you use? I've tried erasing on film before and have had terrible trouble - it goes all "glassy" and I can't put any colour over the top. On my last piece I discovered you can clean it off with solvent - but that's not much good for very fine areas when you just want to remove a little bit of colour :)

boobookat
10-22-2006, 05:11 PM
I haven't had much success erasing with anything but a battery eraser. That works dandy.

I gave up the idea of layers on film. I smush the color around as if its paint- though that method takes quite a lot of effort! I don't have the patience to baby along each touch so that I save tooth for another layer- so I change my thinking when working on film, and put down the only color I really want, and eliminate planning to modify the color via layers.

Tess, with your fine lines and accuracy, the smush method wouldn't work- except for the negative spaces. Maybe make a cloudy amorphous background, then decisevely place the outlines of the knots, after? Maybe place a dark inked outline of your design under the film, so that it shows through, and you can develop the negative areas, then even use a battery eraser and shield to erase off colors along the lines... then do them.... hey! This has me thinking - I might even give it a whirl!

on second thought, no.:eek:

Marci

ArtyLady
10-22-2006, 06:40 PM
Got to admit, I LOVE my battery eraser. I would really like to try drafting film but don't know where I can get it.

catchlight
10-22-2006, 07:33 PM
LOL Tess, that about sums it up... you love it and it drives you bonkers all at the same time hehe :)

Stormgirl, I found that too with erasers that are too harsh...ones that are abrasive. I use soft rubber ones and they don't give that effect. I found if I use ones with any sort of abrasiveness to them it will take off the satin/frosted effect of the film and leave you with the plain plastic underneath which is NOT helpful! I don't have a battery eraser, I have just a little soft regular one. It's kind of funny, unless I'm working on film I almost never ever erase on a cp piece. I rarely ever have to, but on film it kind of adds to the effects sometimes, especially since it's so easy :)

Printmakerguy
10-22-2006, 08:42 PM
I have been 'playing' a bit with drafting film, and picked up some great tips on this thread... The only thing that frustrates me a bit about it is that it is hard to build up layers- but, as pointed out, it does erase VERY well, so if you make a mistake, it is easily corrected!!!

-Andrew

Stormgirl
10-22-2006, 10:15 PM
Thanks for the hint Wendy, I'll try another eraser.

Liz, you can buy drafting film at Artistcare on Clarendon St in South Melbourne. They have a store in Berwick and one in Brunswick too, but I don't know if you can get it from there.

ArtyLady
10-23-2006, 03:51 AM
Thanks heaps for that Stormgirl, I will try them.

LiftNw8
10-23-2006, 07:13 AM
Wow, interesting to see someone using drafting film for something other than its normal use, engineering and archictectural drafting, which is what I used it for a long time ago, when we still used pencils. To address some of the problems you all have with erasing, you must be very careful in doing that, because what this stuff is, is actually more like a sheet of plastic with a coat of mylar film on it that can be drawn on, the stuff was created because as you can tell it will take a beating before getting really damaged, so great in engineering and what not when you were constantly having to change things, the problem is that to much erasing eventually erases the mylar, and you are left with the plastic, so you have to be very gentle, and it usually requires an electric eraser to get anything off of it.

Rita2479
10-23-2006, 07:25 AM
Okay, another question about using a backing. Should you decide to go the route of using a coloured backing what do you use to adhere the film to the backing? Glue? Tape?

Rita

Rosa Weitzel
10-23-2006, 10:37 AM
Can someone give me the name of there favorite film, I've tried a few and am not happy with them. On one I did discover that you cant erase.

Rosa

boobookat
10-23-2006, 11:18 AM
My favorite is the brand Dura-Lar. The matte variety. Its not coated- its sanded to get the matte finish. Although, they do make a coated one for using wet media and ink on.

It absolutly doesn't allow color lifting or ereasing, except with a power eraser. OR, that's my experience, anyway.

Marci

Printmakerguy
10-23-2006, 11:51 AM
I have been able to get the color off with A 'plastic' eraser (Mars), using prismacolors.... I use Duralar film...

-Andrew

boobookat
10-23-2006, 11:58 AM
I sure couldn't get it to, but I'm glad someone else has and can clarify. Did it take quite a bit of pressure and work, or does it come off easily with that kind of eraser? I generally only have the kneaded erasers on hand, so I can't try it out just now!


Marci

Meisie
10-23-2006, 12:07 PM
I'm rating this thread so it can become a sticky and <please mods;)> end up in the library :D

Keep the info coming folks, and thank you for all the info already shared! :clap:

Meisie

Meisie
10-23-2006, 12:08 PM
And after all that I forgot to rate....:rolleyes:

Must be Monday morning....:D

Meisie

Molesworth
10-23-2006, 02:03 PM
"Do you do an underpainting on the back side?" - the only time I've done this was when I sat on my palette.:lol:

TessDB
10-23-2006, 04:34 PM
- the only time I've done this was when I sat on my palette.:lol:

And that, Ladies & Gentlemen, is why I work in pencil... :lol:

I'm getting lots of good tips from this. Thanks, y'all!

Ok, here's what I'm learning works & doesn't:

Prisma Verithins *don't* smush. They stay where you put them. And sadly, prisma artstix don't work nearly as well as I want.

Workable fixative: While I still wonder about how it'll behave over time, as far as working with it, you can get one, *maybe* two layers on top of it. So it's a last-ditch/want fine lines at the end sort of thing.

Being the oddball that I am, I'm playing with doing backgrounds (yes, Marci, for the negative spaces between the bands of interlace) on the *back*. Now, complimentary colors to the interlace don't boost the color for me. I keep going grey (or muddy) & there's no coming back from it. So. You can use white or the colorless blender to create a resist & keep it really faint *or* nearly invisible...

If you are doing something on the back that'll be a major element, you've got to think about what you want to be the most visible, & work it first. So, dark to light (like I normally do the backgrounds) has to be reversed... Which can really make your brain tickle.

I'm using a white "click" eraser. Maybe Bic brand? Not sure. It's what I always use & lifts the color like a dream off of the film. The vibration from my battery eraser sets my wrist-twinge thing off so I avoid it when I can.

Because I do a lot of filling in of well-defined areas, I've discovered it helps to swap between a backing of white & black-- makes it really obvious if something is ragged or odd looking... Although I'm finding its a good idea to mainly work on whatever you're planning to use as a backing.

ummm... that's it so far.

I think I'm "getting" it. Hopefully, I'll get the one I'm working on to a stage where I can post it before I, um, go horribly wrong. :D

Tess

faula
10-23-2006, 05:36 PM
I can't find any kind of drafting film here. probably called something different or its right in front of me and I just can't see it.

Great thread for info!

TessDB
10-23-2006, 05:50 PM
Faula-- I couldn't find it in any stores. I ended up ordering online. Here's the link to what I got http://www.dickblick.com/zz555/05/ from Dick Blick.

Tess

faula
10-23-2006, 06:05 PM
Thanks for the link :) Not sure of the shipping costs though, might have to go without or get someone to sneak it in if they come visit. :p

catchlight
10-23-2006, 07:24 PM
Well it can be a bit tricky to find even if you're in the right store because they tend to store it behind the counter if you buy it in sheets because it can get scratched or damaged and certainly dirtied up by fingers touching it. I buy mine from my art store BUT it also caters to people doing drafting/architectural stuff etc. So if you can't find it in an art store, try somewhere that would supply such places. But also make sure you actually ask at your art store, they may well have it but not on display. I asked for drafting film and they didn't call it that (in my store it sells only as open stock, not pads) but they new what I meant and got me some. So the kind I use doesn't have a brand name.

Kneadable erasers definitely don't work on film that's for sure. Even lifting with tape is pretty limited. But a good softish rubber eraser works just fine. Kneables go all shiny and polished on it and don't move anything at all. Abrasive erasers are a bad plan because they remove the satin sanded finish and make it just clear shiny plastic and pencil won't adhere to that. You also have to be careful not to bend it too sharply as it'll make a white "scar" in it that you won't be able to remove and it's very upsetting when you get that in the middle of a good piece that's half done!!!

catchlight
10-23-2006, 07:31 PM
Oh and the question about how to adhere the film to your backing...I attach it the same way I would with paper. (I use either black or white foam core to mount my works so I just decide which suits my piece the best). Or you can mount it on whatever you like and put some acid free paper behind your work to give the effect you want. I attach the film to whatever backing by using acid free tape, for a normal non see through paper work I'd use a T-shape mount (picture framers use this) but with film it's a little trickier because you can sometimes see the tape. So what I do is adhere the top part of the film to the backing using just a strip of tape being careful to keep it invisible behind the mat I'm using. You never mount a paper artwork of any sort by attaching at both the top and bottom because heat, moisture and just time can make the work shift a little in its frame and buckle if you have it attached top and bottom. So ONLY attach at the top and let the bottom hang. It won't go far once it's framed and prevents any buckling. I also sometimes use acid free double sided tape just at the top and just be careful not to press too hard and make the shape of the tape visible through the film. It's tougher than paper so you can get away with the odd thing you wouldn't with paper :)

Rosa Weitzel
10-24-2006, 09:29 AM
Ok, I bought the kind with the matt surface and found if I erased it took off the matt part and no pencil would stick. So I posted here at CP and was told there was one out there that was matt but you could erase until that place freeze's over and not harm it, well I could not find it in local art stores so I sent off to dick blick and got a huge tablet of plain plastic "she sighs" guess I will use it to cover pictures back and forth and for storage. Oh I tried the ink intense pencils with a little mouth water and that works on the plain plastic, so just might try a picture with them and water at my side.
So if any one knows the name of the one you can erase and not go down to glossie plastic I sure would love to know what to order.

Rosa:wave:

LiftNw8
10-24-2006, 09:42 AM
Rosa, you must have really been beating on that film to take the matte finish off of it, because I used Mylar Drafting Film for years and the only way to take that finish off was to just over do erasing on it, and that took quite a bit, its a matter of making sure you use a soft eraser on it. For those looking to get Mylar, I found this link in just a quick search with some reasonalbe prices and a variety of sizes available.

http://www.draftingdog.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=258&Page=2

The stuff isn't to easy to find and generally you will have to buy it from a place that sells architectural/engineering drafting supplies, because this paper is still widely used in this arena.

catchlight
10-24-2006, 10:13 PM
Rosa, I'd say that it's the type of eraser you're using. If you have one with any abrasiveness to it (and some have abrasiveness that you don't realise) it will take off the matt finish in pretty short order, but soft rubber varieties don't and you can erase yourself silly with no problems. Kneadable erasers won't work at all and just polish the surface though. So you're looking for a nice soft rubber eraser :)

TessDB
10-29-2006, 02:23 PM
Rosa-- It might not be your eraser... I managed to create some dead spots in the piece I'm working on. I was using a fair amount of pressure (because I was *certain* it was the last layer I could get on that area) and a pretty sharp point. I was also using one of the lightfast pencils. I'm going to try some experiments on a scrap and see if I can duplicate what happened. And try to isolate if the problem was in the pressure/sharp point situation or in the lightfast pencil or... Good think I'm curious as a :cat:

Luckily, the dead spots were on the back of the piece, so it didn't kill it. But it did push me in a color/intensity direction I hadn't planned on... :rolleyes:

Stay tuned.
Tess

TessDB
10-30-2006, 08:19 AM
Ok, I've been able to do some experimenting.

Long story short, keeping in mind I didn't test *all* of the prismas, any of them that feel "dry" or go on paper with a bit more resistance than the others, has the potential to scrape the coating off of the drafting film. The blue/green/purples seem to be more prone than the others, so tread carefully.

Experiment #1: LF Cobalt Blue. Which is the one that got me already. 1st little swatch is sharp point & heavy pressure, about 3 layers & switching directions. You can see the streak of "dead" pretty clearly. 2nd is medium sharpness & lighter pressure. You can see it starting to go, but it's still recoverable at this stage.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2006/46497-draftingfilm1.jpg

Experiment #2: Others in the LF line & a small swatch of Black Cherry from the regular line.

1st swatch is Thio Violet, sharp point & heavy pressure. It didn't do it at all. Piled some crimson from the regular prisma line & it was fine. 2nd swatch is LF Titanate green. It started, to do it. When I added celedon from the regular line, it peeled right up. 3rd little swatch is Black Cherry. It started to do it, so just for giggles, I erased some & added lavender to the erased area. You can see the streak the black cherry created..

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2006/46497-draftingfilm2.jpg

Next was trying the LF cobalt blue with very light pressure. It went on cloudy, which seems to be the early warning sign. Keeping the pressure light & the point on the dull side seems to be the safest way to go with this one. Next to that swatch, is Verithin Violet. It didn't do it at all. No matter how hard I pressed or how sharp I kept the point.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2006/46497-draftingfilm3.jpg

Finally, here's the guilty LF Cobalt again. This is a single layer with a fairly dull point & light pressure. You can see really clearly what I mean by "cloudy".

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Oct-2006/46497-draftingfilm4.jpg

It's at this point, my instinct is to increase pressure to try to smooth those darker wads of pigment out. The best I can tell, the wads of darker color are from the pencil already loosening the coating of the drafting film. Where the color is darker, the coating is still hanging on. The scraping/peeling thing happens in the *lighter* area.

When I get some more time, I'll experiment a bit more. I want to find out if it's if you use the "drier" pencil as your first layer & if using something "creamier" 1st will protect it. And if workable fixative will "heal" the area enough to make it passable...

I didn't get a chance to test my FC Polychromos, so if someone wants to give those a whirl I'd be really interested in what you find out. Or any other brand, for that matter.

Hope this helps someone avoid disaster!

Tess

Rosa Weitzel
10-30-2006, 08:29 AM
Boy you guys have given me some great info, I really appreciate all the input here. I thinkthe answers I have read has really cleared up my questions.

Rosa

TessDB
10-31-2006, 07:48 AM
ok, really really strange question...

Anyone have any idea what sort of *glue* would be safe to use on the drafting film? Brain churning with ideas to work with it dimensionally... as in having a band of knotwork that arches over (coming toward the viewer) the main piece... Yah. Framing would be a bit tricky... The idea fairy is in overdrive this morning. :D

Tess

LiftNw8
10-31-2006, 08:04 AM
ok, really really strange question...

Anyone have any idea what sort of *glue* would be safe to use on the drafting film? Brain churning with ideas to work with it dimensionally... as in having a band of knotwork that arches over (coming toward the viewer) the main piece... Yah. Framing would be a bit tricky... The idea fairy is in overdrive this morning. :D

Tess

That is one thing I am even unsure of, most stuff we placed onto the film was always using some kind of adhesive, never glue. I am sure however there is something that will work, you might have to go out and buy a couple of things and try them to see what does or doesn't damage the film.

boobookat
10-31-2006, 11:33 AM
Tess, I know the film can be shaped with warm water, and will harden off as it cools. Blick had a classroom project to make a Chihully-esq bowl using film shaped by submerging sheets of it in warm water, then painting with glass paint when cool. (I think the "lessons" link is at the bottom of the page on their site? It was aimed at highschool, if I remember right) I don't see why it couldn't be shaped after being CP'd, since CP wouldn't wash off...

Did the fairy explode?

Marci

TessDB
10-31-2006, 01:15 PM
Did the fairy explode?

Ack! She left & got reinforcements! And here I am stuck at work with an entire *swarm* of idea fairies swirling around me. Anyone know if there's humane traps for these critters so I can save 'em for when I've got time to chase the zillions of possibilities down? :lol:

Thanks, Marci. I think. :D

That is one thing I am even unsure of, most stuff we placed onto the film was always using some kind of adhesive, never glue.

What kind of adhesive & was it archival? One of the (ack! dive-bombing idea fairy!) things I was thinking of was doing something on paper, and then creating a ... um... bridge (? not quite right but you get the idea) on the film to go over it. Possibly even cutting & weaving several together. So whatever adhesive would need to be able to take more stress than just keeping the piece in place under a mat...

Tess

objectivistartist
11-19-2006, 06:20 PM
How big can you get these sheets - for those of us who would like doing 'large scale' works ?

boobookat
11-19-2006, 06:47 PM
You can get it on a roll that's 100 feet long and, oh... 54 inches wide? Maybe larger.

Marci

LiftNw8
11-19-2006, 07:32 PM
How big can you get these sheets - for those of us who would like doing 'large scale' works ?

I am pretty sure that the person below who stated 54" is correct as far as its width, the length on the other hand is as long as the roll can be made, I think 100' is standard.

boobookat
11-19-2006, 08:09 PM
Yep- and some art stores will sell it off the roll by the linear foot- or sell rolls broken down in 25' or 50' lengths, or the whole 100' for a discount.

Marci

duene
01-23-2007, 11:20 PM
I had to search for this thread, as it seems no one has posted to it lately! Sure glad I found it.

I was so interested in trying mylar, and many of you have been SO helpful. Thanks so much.

I have tried my first project on mylar, and will post it tomorrow. I am upstairs on my laptop, it is late, and I don't think I will go down and turn on the scanner.

I loved working on the mylar, but feel my work is unfinished. I haven't done anything on the back yet, and am thinking I will probably ruin it when I do. Which is OK, because I want to learn. I know I didn't apply enough pressure, tried to layer too much, and need to do something on the back.

Has anyone else done some recent work on mylar you can post? I really hope we can keep this going and learn from each other.

I'll post my anemic drawing tomorrow!

Duene

Netty
01-24-2007, 04:25 AM
I am so glad you ressurrected this thread Duene. I have been working on drafting film today, I always bite off more than I can chew, lol.... I have not really used colour pencils before as I usually use pastels.... and have never used drafting film ever..

So today I decided to try the dewent drawing pencils. I have a set of 24 earthy colours, which went on beautifully, but when I tried to add other colours they did bleed. RATS!!! so the black and white fur didn't really work too well. It sort of became a splodge...

Would that be because the derwents are a waxy pencil, are poly's the best to use on the drafting film? and when applying fur that is speckled with black and white, would it be best to put the white down first then add the black last?
Overall I can see with the right pencil, that it would be very enjoyable to draw on, as the pencils go on like butter.....

thanks guys for this thread,

Annie-Maree :)

TessDB
01-24-2007, 07:46 AM
I loved working on the mylar, but feel my work is unfinished. I haven't done anything on the back yet, and am thinking I will probably ruin it when I do.

I feel like that too, with the mylar! And I think it's cause of how few layers it takes & it's speed. There's this moment where the mylar is done, but I'm still thinking "huh, that's it then?" :rolleyes:

You don't *have* to do anything on the back if you don't want to. I know lots of the folks who are really good on the stuff don't always. I've been playing with it 'cause it'll let you do overall washes & patterns that'll show through your main objects *some* without becoming dominant. Works really well for my Celtic stuff, but might not work too well for you realistic folks. :D

when applying fur that is speckled with black and white, would it be best to put the white down first then add the black last?

Wendy or an animal person is probably better qualified to answer, but here goes! I'm guessing it doesn't really matter what order 'cause you can *always* erase it to zero to bring back lighter areas or clean up your white space. Another major benefit of the mylar.

Looking forward to seeing what y'all are working on! :wave:

Tess

duene
01-24-2007, 11:42 AM
Here is the drawing of the gibbon I did on mylar for one of the challenges. It is bout 5x7 and I used prismacolors. I do hae some polycromos and want to try them also.

I feel the drawing is not very vibrant, and of course I think the hair could look much better. There is no backing, just the off-white top of the scanner.

I really want to work on the back of this and see how it changes it.

Duene

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Jan-2007/92645-gibbon_on_mylar.jpg

TessDB
01-25-2007, 08:45 AM
Nicely done, Duene! Have you tried backing it with anything? I'm thinking black... but the cool thing with the film, you can try different backing colors & get a zillion different effects from it.

Please post if you do work on the back!

Tess