Here are some art techniques that you might have tried as a child and never used again. If you're someone that never tried traditional art as an adult, or even if you are an artist that is in a block stage, you should revisit these art techniques that are great fun and will reunite you with the pure joy of playing with color. And if you enjoyed, they can lead to some seriously good pieces of art if you allow yourself to develop them further.
You may also know it as “Scratch Art.” Some of you might remember the magical feeling of pulling a rainbow of colors from a big black plane. As children, they made us do it with crayons or oil pastels and India ink or a black coat of the same crayon or oil pastel on top.
As your results as a child might not have been museum-worthy, you might have forgotten the technique, as we tend to associate the value of a technique with its results. But now, do yourself a favor and do a quick image search for “scratch art” and be amazed at what you can actually achieve with this method if you take advantage of its key characteristics.
This scratching off to reveal the lower layer is also used (and has been forever) in ceramics, wall decor and many other fine crafts. So also do an image search for “sgrafitto”and see how many ideas you can get from just this one simple concept.
Collage (from the French: coller, "to glue) is the technique of composing a work of art by pasting on a single surface different materials (such as paper, cloth or wood). I'm sure we've all made one of this at some point in our childhood, but don't take this method of making art as a childish pursuit: the term was coined by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the beginning of the 20th century when collage became a distinctive part of modern art. It can be great for both detail-oriented and free spirited people. If you give it a chance, you might end up having so much fun while broadening your artistic horizons. Take a look at some art pieces made by adult artists:
Now give it a good search on Google Images or Pinterest and get inspired!
Now, you might remember making masks, like this kind of stuff from when you were little:
So, you grew up and never gave it a second thought. But paper mache is as marvelous and versatile as an art technique can be, so have a look at something you can achieve if you go further with it:
Now do a little searching of your own and be tempted!
You may remember this technique for the butterfly-like figures you got by folding a paint-spattered piece of paper in half. Or maybe you’re more familiar with the Rorschach test. While it was incredibly fun to watch the randomness of the paint or ink blots develop into something more, you probably forgot all about it and labeled it as children’s play. But it can be more than that!
Rorschach Test Image
The MoMA defines it as: “A transfer technique, developed in the 18th century, in which ink, paint, or another medium is spread onto a surface and, while still wet, covered with material such as paper, glass, or aluminum foil, which, when removed, transfers a pattern that may be further embellished upon. The technique was adopted by the Surrealists to create imagery by chance rather than through conscious control.”
One of the most notorious artists to use this technique was Max Ernst (do an image search for “max ernst decalcomania” and see for yourself). You can take this as far as you can imagine and it’s a great trigger for imagination. I developed my own technique on somewhat this principle and I do an ongoing series I call “Pareidolia”, which is the phenomenon to recognize figures or patterns in random stuff. Watch it here. I’m only mentioning this because I know for a fact how fun and inspiring this can be. So give it a try!
So there you have it. I hope you’ll give them a chance. What art techniques do you remember from childhood that you didn’t take seriously afterwards? Maybe there’s more to them than you think!
Barbara Din is a visual artist, graphic designer, painter, interior designer, crafter, musician and writer living in Argentina. Learn more about Barbara and her work at the following links:
Barbara Din Patreon page
Barbara Din YouTube Channel