View Full Version : TRY THIS...FROTTAGE (art technique)- Feb 2010

01-31-2010, 06:23 PM
Hi everyone!:wave: Welcome to one of our new projects for 2010.

’Try this’….it introduces an art technique or medium to explore.

This month we explore ....‘FROTTAGE’.....

Its a quick and fun technique for adding texture to artwork.

It can also be a good way to stimulate imagination and find unusual imagery.

Have fun and post your results here.:thumbsup:

01-31-2010, 06:26 PM

To make a ‘frottage’, you need some thin paper, e.g. Japanese, Thai, tissue, tracing papers etc. Then you need a drawing medium such as graphite, wax crayon, oil pastel, coloured pencil, etc. You need to find a textured surface to place the paper to take your rubbing: patterned soles on shoes, wooden planks, lace, fossils, marble engravings such as tombstones, brasses, etc.

Place paper on the texture and rub or drag the pencil or crayon over the surface, preferably using the broad side of the medium.

Textures or rubbings you make may suggest abstract works as well as fantasy imagery or realistic imagery to you.

Contemporary artist using frottage in work

http://www.greggsimpson.com/galleryThree/Frottage.htm (http://www.greggsimpson.com/galleryThree/Frottage.htm)

Youtube demo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEh8SfNcWfI (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEh8SfNcWfI)


Looking forward to seeing your experiments. :D

01-31-2010, 07:59 PM

Frottage is the French word for ‘making a rubbing’ to create texture in drawings.

In the past, people have made ‘brass rubbings’ of tomb engravings using wax crayons and thin paper.

The surrealist Max Ernst is attributed with first using frottage in a more complex fashion. He made impressions by rubbing graphite over textured wooden planks. Then he would use the resulting patterns to stimulate his creative imagination. He would look to see what shapes and images were suggested by the marks and then work them up into fantasy/surreal artworks.

Ernst quote: ‘I was surprised by the sudden intensification of my visionary powers and by the hallucinatory succession of contradictory images superimposed, one upon the other, with the persistence and rapidity peculiar to amorous memories. My curiosity awakened and astonished, I began to examine indiscriminately, using the same means, all sorts of materials found in my visual field: leaves and their veins, the frayed edges of a bit of sackcloth, the brush strokes of a “modern” painting, a thread unwound from a spool, etc.’ http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O5-frottage.html

01-31-2010, 10:45 PM
June, thank you so much for the link. That artist's surrealistic works in charcoal are so inspiring. Alright, texture rubbing. Yeah, I've got tons of the templates for texture rubbing. I'll do something with it with my new media.

I'll be back.

02-01-2010, 02:30 PM
Alright, here is my first piece.

This is in response to the Drawing Forum's Weekly Drawing Thread Feb 1-Feb 7 (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8501063#post8501063) and I couldn't resist using a template for the skin.

Plastic template for skin for frottage (texture rubbing)
Cretacolor 1 inch Chunky Charcoal - graphite stick - for initial skin tone
Wolff's Carbon Pencils - B, 6B for shading
General's Charcoal Pencils - 4B, HB for detailing
General's Powdered Graphite for background and last minute smudging
Japanese rice paper - 8.5 x 13 inch
Actual image size - 8 x 8 inch

The nose and eyes are a bit off but I was testing out a new technique with the thinnest paper I have so I'm not going to erase stuff and rework in case it tears. Just a fun exercise for now. I guess the viewer's right eye could do with more shading but that's the side I've been working most (and still didn't get it right). Next time, I'll probably try to do a draft with vine charcoal first. But it'll be hard to erase. I didn't use normal pencils because it's not going to be dark enough anyway when contrasted against the skin pores and the powdered background.


02-02-2010, 05:04 PM
Oh yes, that is very effective, Sandra. Looking forward to more!!

02-02-2010, 05:19 PM
For my first attempts, I tried wax crayon on Japanese paper then glued it to heavy weight paper. I went with the Max Ernst idea...using the markes to 'see' imagery. And so the result was a bit of whimsy.


1. Five figures: 'Here is a flower for you'


2. 'Bird on a pole'

I 'frottaged' over a couple of previous artworks of mine which had raised textures due to having bits of netting and tinfoil pressed onto the surface.

I wonder how to get from black and white to colour using frottage. Not just coloured crayons, but maybe ink washes?;)

I rather enjoy playing with 'whimsical' figure drawings and so this was enjoyable to do.

02-04-2010, 11:55 AM
June, I like the subject of the second piece. It is very whimsical. Very good terrain textures in the first one.

For ink washes, I was thinking if you rub white crayon, oil pastel onto the Japanese paper over the texture, the non-rubbed parts could be washed with ink.

02-05-2010, 06:58 AM
Hi Sandra, I think I'll try that later.

02-12-2010, 11:09 PM
Gallery Oil Pastel white rubbed over texture rubbing templates
Art Advantage gouache
Bombay India Ink for darker details
Academie Heavyweight Sketchbook full page 8.5 x 11 inch

I abstained from picking up a black brushpen to outline things and it seems to work well for now. Based on some landscape books exercise for the far away hills. The rest is improvised.

"Village in early November"


02-13-2010, 07:06 AM
Its a beauty Sandra. I agree its lovely as is and doesn't need black ink. It is gentle and atmospheric!

02-13-2010, 11:47 AM
Thank you, June. To achieve the same effect on the above with Chinese painting methods, I'd have to spray the piece with milk, and be more meticulous with where I put ink on. This is indeed a faster way.

02-15-2010, 07:36 PM
Just a quick sketch on top of a wooden school table.


02-16-2010, 10:16 AM
Nice work Sandra...want to try your mixture of crayon and paint...love the effect.

June...like your whimsy. I think the docu on Max Ernst was probably the most interesting I've seen on an artist.

Not as good as yours, but here's a start on frottage plus embellishment.

The Tree:


02-16-2010, 11:57 AM
I could see the tree and the log, Janet. What surface did you frottage on. Very graphical piece!

02-16-2010, 01:13 PM
I found two panels from an art class I took ages ago. Canvas board, spread with modeling medium and then drawn into. We used them for frottage, paintings and prints. I shoved them away...but they are now coming in handy for this project and maybe a frottage monotype. They are quite large with lots of swirls and texture. If I can get my camera skills together I'll post one of them. You probably could stick stuff into the modeling medium too.

02-17-2010, 07:19 PM
you all are posting some creative pieces.....playtime is good time

02-18-2010, 04:47 AM
Hi Janet, I like your tree. Could be useful technique for book illustrations. Sandra, the portrait on the wooden desktop is very effective.

Good idea to combine frottage and monotypes and so on and so on. Very inspiring and fun too.

03-03-2010, 12:56 PM
I'm still hoping to do something here.

03-25-2010, 08:45 PM
I finally got a chance to try this and I think this is play for adults --really fun

The pencil one I crinkled foil for the people and some of the bushes but the foil did not maintain the crinkle texture when rubbed it flattened. I also used corn husk on some of the plants but that was unsatisfactory too.

On the Turtle role call I used plastic netting that brussel sprouts came in.

And on the turtle on rock I used the netting on the shell and corn husk on the head, neck and feet and tail.

This is so fun. I will definitely doing more of this in my work. Learned a new word too - frottage.:thumbsup:

Thanks June.

03-25-2010, 09:37 PM
Robin, the turtle at the bottom is superb. Great colors and sunlight on its back and what a neat neat foreground! The cactus are recognizable.

03-27-2010, 09:10 AM
Love the textures you got Robin. It is fun....here's one called FACES I did this morning while trying to figure out how to do a monotype frottage. Now that it's posted I see even more faces.


03-27-2010, 09:38 AM
Neat work Robin and Janet. Frottage is fun. I like the unexpected images that appear. A welcome break from realism.

I found that if you crumple tinfoil and glue it down (use glue or acrylic impasto mediums to stick it on paper),,,then the 'crumples' stay fixed and you can frottage no problem.

I think the bird in my second frottage above was rubbed over stuck down aluminium foil. Netting always gives a great result too!!

03-28-2010, 12:10 PM
thanks Sandy

Janet what did you use for the bumps? That is mysterious.

June - thanks for the foil tip. I'll try it soon. I 've cleaned up a piece of asphalt shingle to use too.

03-28-2010, 07:00 PM
Robin...we did a project in an art class I took ages ago where we spread modeling medium on a large canvas board and then drew into it. When it dried you could do a rub or a print. Unfortunetely I dug a little too deep, so it was too raised for a print.

Here are two sections of the panel. You can see the different paints I tried to make a print. Actually they look better posted...sort of like the monotypes I'd like to do...sigh...back to the drawing board.