Multicolor enamel ballpoint pens can provide the artist graphic versatility and direct color enhanced drawing never before possible. In combination with enamel painting and other drawing mediums – (watercolor, oil, and crayons) – the possibilities seem limitless.
Figure 1. The composition was derived from a color sketch in gouache and some black and white photos. The ballpoint drawing began at the top of the enamel white tile to eliminate smudging the lines.
By firing between drawing and painting stages, alternating, built-up layering can be realized as richness
in depth and detail unfolds. Ballpoint line-work can be added when needed to reinforce earlier linear effects.
Figure 2. The drawing, upon drying, was fired for 2.5 minutes at 1300°F – slightly underfired to guarantee to no burn-off.
My example demonstrates simple alternating drawing and thin washes of painting zxnha ; other combinations, for example, crayons and/or vitreous enamel powders, could be used for varied effects. Take the ball and run with it and explore the possibilities!
Figure 3. Detail of fired drawing.
Figure 4. Red and yellow oil (screening) enamels, thinned with paint thinner (turpentine or rubbing alcohol), were applied with a waterproof brush. Fired for 2.5 minutes at 1325°F.
Figure 5. Next, a blue wash of enamel, oil in this example, was laid over the fired red and yellow. The oil wash was dried with a heat gun to burn off the oil (“smoked”). The dry blue powder was sgraffitoed or rubbed off in some areas with a stiff brush.
Figure 6. The blue enamel was fired 2.5 minutes at 1350°F. I turned the tile and reinserted it in the kiln to maintain an even firing.
Figure 7. The enamel panel after firing the blue layer.
Figure 8. Additional drawing was added to carry the linear aspect further by using various ballpoint colors ,and a wash of blue enamel watercolor was painted on the lower right. Final firing was for 2.5 minutes at 1350°F.
Kettle Point, Lake Huron, Ontario. 2004. 8” x 10” enamel on steel, enamel ballpoint, enamel watercolor, and oil enamel.
By John Killmaster [Volume 23, Number 2, April, 2004]
In association with
Glass on Metal is the only publication dedicated to enameling and related arts. Technical information, book reviews, how-to articles and insight on contemporary enamelers highlight each issue.