Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Rubbings

I was enjoying the great outdoors yesterday morning when I suddenly remembered doing pencil rubbings as a child.  I remembered thinking that it seemed magical at the time.  Do you remember your first rubbing of a penny?  I remember doing it over and over again, each time amazed at the detail I could see.

Thus began the great hunt around my house for things that I thought might make a good rubbing.  I searched through my jewelery drawer and found earrings and a pin.  I found a tin planter in the dining room, and I found medallions on the medicine cabinet and sink in the bathroom.  I gathered a couple African artifacts with interestingly carved designs.

I used copy paper for my rubbings, and I used various colors of Prismacolor colored pencils, holding the pencil sideways.  Using a medium pressure, a rubbed my items in the same direction (mostly) and got some pretty good prints. 

By far, my favorite object to rub  was the tin planter.  The pattern transferred easily using black and sienna colored pencil.

This is a lion medallion on the bathroom sink.  It was a little awkward to get to but I wasn't too concerned about getting minute details.

The partial rubbing on the left was done with a harder pressure than the rubbing on the right.  I used the same colored pencil (black), but you can see the difference in color just by adjusting the pressure.  After I had completed a few sheets, I opened my journal to see where I could use them.

I had been watching a movie (Honeydripper), and one of the characters said, "small minds are never in shortage".  Being fond of quotes, I had to write that down!  Later in the evening, Keith and I watched "Angels and Demons".  I was happy to have my journal open as I was rather bored by the movie.  I began sketching a Rome styled building with the quote, "Let angels guide thee on thy lofty quest."  Is art a lofty quest?  I'm beginning to think so!

The images begged to have some rubbings incorporated into them, so I tore a medallion from one of the tin rubbings, the lion medallion and a Fleur De Lis (from fake stained glass on a door in my living room), and Mod Podged them to the pages.  I applied three glazes to the page: warm yellow, orange, and red.  Then I took a dark umber glaze and applied it over everything, wiping off most of it.  I darkened the edges and splattered some of the same glaze over both pages.

Here's a close-up of the lion medallion on the left side of the spread, and the medallion from the tin rubbing formed the angel's hair.  The Fleur De Lis is almost totally hidden on the right side beneath the angel's hair.

I added detail to the angel's wing and medallion with yellow colored pencil.  I may add more detail to this spread, especially on the left side. 

Moving on, I wanted to use my rubbings in a way that highlighted them, so as I was looking at the rubbings of the tin, I thought they would make a great birdhouse.  I cut one whole tin rubbing and the corner rubbing I had made from the tin.  I cut the medallion out of the center on the whole tin for an opening to my birdhouse.  I had applied a dark glaze (left over from the previous day's journaling) to the bottom of the pages. I made a yellow glaze and applied that to both pages, then I applied 2 different green and 1 blue glaze over that after the yellow glaze had dried.  I dabbed and blended the green and blue glazes so some of the yellow would show through.

I painted in black craft acrylic tree limbs and branches, and I cut a leaf stencil from a heavyweight cardstock advertisement from the mail.  I applied the "birdhouse" with Mod Podge.

I painted in the birds with black craft acrylic and the opening of the birdhouse and little bird also.  I colored details of the birdhouse and birds with colored pencils.  At the bottom of the birdhouse I wrote, "The promise of spring is heard in the songs of birds."

That's your Tuesday Tips and Techniques for today.  I hope you'll go on a search around your house and give rubbings a try.  Whatever your preference for art journaling, remember: "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"


  1. I forgot about this technique too--what a great way to add detail to your piece. Great tip and great pages!

  2. Love your tips and techniques. Thanks for reminding us of this one, very effective and I love how you have incorporated them in your pages. I can actually see another angel in the Fleur De Lis.

  3. Great tips and techniques. Thank you for sharing so much and giving so many examples to show what can be created. Sheila


Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me! It's a pleasure sharing the creative world of art journaling with you. I love hearing from you, so comments and questions are always welcome.

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