A place for Drachenwald's scribes to hang out, learn, discuss and critique each others work.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gilding doesn't have to be scary!

If you're like me, you might be a little bit afraid of laying gold to paper.  Gold leaf is intimidating, there's no doubt about it, and there's so many questions - "what's gesso? How do I use it? I've spent xx pounds, dollars or groats on all this gold, but I'm frightened of wasting it....."  I know how you feel.  Up til now, I was relying on artist grade inks and paints to get that golden shine, but it was never very...well, illuminating.

Well, fellow newbies, I have a solution.  I was very kindly gifted with enough gold and silver powder to last me a lifetime, so I have felt I am able to experiment with it. Here is the first experimentation: a basic side-by-side comparison on piece of scrap paper.... I used a modern gesso by pebeo, which is in effect a PVA glue.  Leave to dry for 15 mins, then simply dip the very tip of your brush into the powder and lightly spread over the surface.  You only need a TINY amount - I learnt that lesson quickly! (First time I used it, I treated it like glitter - tip a bit onto the gesso then tap excess back off into bottle.  Needless to say, I only did that once!!)

The first square shows the gilding powder I have been practicing with so far.  I have NO idea what make this is, or where it comes from - it was given to me in two of the old-style pill bottles (the ones with the god-awful childproof lids.)  The second square shows the next tub I was given - gold pearl lustre pigment from cornelissen. This is a HUGE tub, and whilst not being a true gilding powder (obviously!), it still gives a beautiful shine.  It is still available from their website and is probably one of the cheapest options out there.  Sticking with Cornelissen, the next square shows their gold powder - less bronzey than the unknown make,  but I can't see this anywhere on their website now.  The next square shows (again, available from Cornelissen) the Roberson Bright Silver burnish.  The last three squares show what I had been using previously - Windsor and Newton, Daler-Rowney and an acrylic paint.  Aside from making the paper buckle, the three inks/paints don't hold a candle to the actual gold powders.  They are duller, and much less interesting.

Tip for money-saving - you don;t need an expensive burnisher.  If you do want to bring up the shine of the powders a little bit more, you can use the back of a spoon.

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