Wax Resist in Watercolors

Let’s go back to elementary school now and break open that box of crayons!  Though a primitive technique, a wax resist can create interesting effects in modern-day mixed-media.  Most of us are familiar with applying a crayon (primarily white) to a piece of paper, washing over the surface with paint and seeing the magic of a wax resist appear before our eyes. I wanted to experiment further by seeing what result I’d get by using a crayon color other than white.  Starting with a sheet of watercolor paper, I drew patterns over half the surface using a white crayon and the other half using a green one:

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Next, I covered the entire surface with blue and yellow washes of paint.  As you can see, the white crayon creates the true effect of a wax resist.  When using a non-white crayon, the surface takes on the actual color of the crayon used.  In other words, you get close to the same result, if you apply the watercolor wash first and then draw with the crayon over the top of it.  A wax resist can add texture and create interesting backgrounds for watercolor paintings.  You can also draw patterns and shapes with a white crayon on to watercolor paper, apply several different color washes and have a completed sheet of design elements that you can tear off, cut around and add to future mixed-media pieces!  

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