Well - simple answer my little friend - is - these are gelatos:
They are yummy, lipstick style, very creamy, watersoluble sticks - and they can do this sort of thing on paper and in your sketchbooks:
and this sort of yummy thing on fabric:
I first saw them in February when visiting the trade show at the NEC with my friend Steph (this is a very dangerous place to visit alone .. take a sensible friend ... I haven't got any so I went with Steph). Anyway - saw theses and immediately thought they had a potential for use in place of neocolour 2 (not 1) - in bold because they are so easy to mix up .. and that is the point ... you know I love neocolour 1 for rubbings, drawing, sketchbook work, and on finished work, canvas etc etc. For me they are the essential one of the two neocolours, so I avoid neocolour 2, as they look exactly the same once the wrappers off (about 10 seconds in my case). But I would still like a watersoluble crayon of some sort .. tried inktense bars and they are lovely (I got the biggest set to check this) .. but they are very messy on the paws; tried the pencils .. but too fine really for what I want; tried artbars - again lovely, but messy on the hands too; watersoluble pencils - lovely but again too fine. So (I am getting to the gelatos - honest) I saw these and thought they looked very promising. My sensible friend said - oooh - yummy - I would deffo get those - so I did.
Then all my wheels fell of (pneumonia, house move, eye falling out, and car vandalism to name just the major players) .. and I had no chance to trial them out properly until recently. But when I did - ooh-er .. they do just what I wanted and so much more - my favourite type of tool - a multi tasker ..
So - what do they do? ..
They are wonderful when you are out and about and want some transparent colour to wash in your sketchbook - either as a base, or over images already made .. even I quail at the thought of carrying pots of liquid dye in my sketch bag ..
These above are all done either onto plain pages, or over other bits in my sketchbooks and once the gelato and water are dry, they are ready to work back in to. You may have noticed that you can sometimes see the lines made where I have laid the gelato colour on the page .. like this:
this is red gelato being washed out with a paint brush and spritzed water .. I have found that the marks do not wash away completely on most papers .. you can use this as a feature, as here, where I have lets the marks act as a vague outline on the pages .. I like this use a lot
or you can use another page as a palette .. like this:
or if you don't want the marks of the palette in your book - then you can use deli paper as a palette - just take a few sheets in your travelling kit - this pear on fabric was done like that .. and of course I have kept the deli paper to use with it.
Deli paper gives up virtually all of the colour so is really good as a palette for the gelatos
They are also handy for 'inking' little stamps whilst on the move .. just rub the stick (take lid off ..) over the stamp, give it a quick spritz of water and stamp .. it's a gentle impression .. but very useful ..
although they are water soluble, once they are dry they don't move much .. so I could go back over these with another wash of colour
they also mix beautifully with gesso to make gentle pastel semi opaque washes .. I can't find my image right now (been looking for 30 minutes) .. so will come back to you on that one ..
But washes and being lovely water soluble crayons is not all they do - in fact, it's not their most exciting use for me .. no .. that would be that they can also be use very much like oil pastels - but without the 'never dry' issue and smell - this page was just seeing how they blend and mix (answer - very very nicely)
so then I started drawing into some of my sketchbook prints (mostly from the gelli plate) to see what they were like:
oh - that last one is done over a background of gesso and gelato .. neutral colour pack on top
then inevitably, my mind turns to the need to add more colour .. and how to make these water resistant for that? Matt medium of course. Tiny splodge from tube brushed over the image and bingo - sealed . The colour moves a tiny bit whilst you are doing this - but that is actually very nice. So then you can do this : washing gelatos over fixed gelatos .. how multi task is that??
that is SO exciting .. here are a few more
the hole on the next one is where I was showing how to use a Japanese screw punch .. just in case you were wondering ..
the next couple have had dye added over the top instead of more gelato .. remember I have sealed the prints with matt medium ..
and this next one has some repair tissue with a stencil print of clocks on, pasted over the top of the gelato drawing and gelato wash .. to show how transparent the repair tissue is .. and also how everything plays together so well
then of course comes the question - can we do this on fabric? I should coco .. the gelatos work and blend beautifully, just make sure to seal with some matt medium and then add some liquid dye and voila ..
you can see where I laid a palette out on the one below .. but I like it
lots of dye runs and drying lines - not perfect .. but I like that too
I have not tried these through the washing machine yet - I will and let you know. A gentle hand wash will be fine though as the gelatos are sealed with acrylic medium. They are still quite soft enough to stitch - and I shall get doing that next
I have only really scratched the edges so far with these and am planning some time to play some more and see what else they will do . But I am totally convinced they are a great addition to my tool kit .. colour rich and versatile .. plus in a nice case for messy bods like me .. perfect.
I took them to the NEC to demonstrate and sold out of all sets ... but I've just got some more and put them in the online shop. I was going to wait until I had the new shop ready to launch ... but that may be a while yet!! so I've put them in the old one ..
Here is a quick step by step .. just showing a drawing, palette and wash, then going back in again to add some more colour
the background is a stencil offprint and the drawing is done with blended gelatos..
bit too pale after first wash .. so went back in on top with more gelatos
and added some more to the main image ..
as ever - just keep gong and keep playing. This could easily now be transferred to fabric and then stitched. I'll be back soon with some results using these pieces. Thank you for reading - Hilary x