Creating on really rough paper: The 4 problems I solved

Creating on really rough paper: The 4 problems I solved

Why work on rough paper?

One way to boost creativity is to solve problems that arise from extreme pre-treatment of the paper support.

Click here to read more about the pre-treatment and how to create new work inspired by older ones.

'Can Red Come Out To Play Vii And Ix' Above 'Red Playground, 8 And 9'
'can red come out to play vii and ix' above 'red playground, 8 and 9'
Creating Art Around Life

Please watch, “Creating on really rough paper: The 4 problems I solved.”


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Problems and solutions

The problems I faced in using really rough and bumpy paper for Red Playground 8 and 9 made me look for creative ways to solve them. Here are the problems I encountered and the solutions I came up with. I also discuss factors I will use to  enhance the final pieces.

1. Drawing contiguous lines and shapes with the graphite.

The roughness of the support would not allow me to draw straight-forward graphite lines and shapes.


I simplified my graphite interpretations of the earlier works. Using an old clock-face to help draw for the circle, and a straight-edge to create  lines, I delighted over the contrast of graphite gaps on the rough paper.

My mind changed to embrace the results. The lines and shapes were rough, and not smooth as were their forebears. This is the “something new” for which I’m searching.

I will place additional shapes and lines in Inktense to compensate for those I could not draw with graphite.

Adding linear elements with the pigment ink pen will add complexity.

2. filling in shapes with Inktense.

The pre-treatment appears to have stressed the paper, as suggested by the Inktense wicking past the graphite boundaries.


I continue to intensify the strength of Inktense solution to avoid stressing the paper more with additional applications. 

I look forward to seeing the interesting effects where the Inktense wicked.

Adding blue Inktense next time will solidify the work because of the layering of primary colours.

3.adding a sense of form

It’s important to add a sense of form to ‘Red Playground 8 and 9’, much like I did for ‘Red Playground – Finish what you started’.

The support roughness will make this challenging.


I will add dimensionality to both pieces. It will likely be quite different to that of ‘Red Playground – Finish what you started.’  I am exploring, so, different is good.

4. The bands across the top and bottom

These were originally added to both new works as a unifying element during early set-up and design.

The bands would be “blank” so I could emphasise the pretreatment staining. I inadvertently added Inktense to the bands.


Not applying more Inktense makes them look out of place. So, I will add more Inktense, giving me one more opportunity to play with this design element.

Click to see larger image.

Creating On Really Rough Paper
Close-up view of paper with graphite lines
Stronger Inktense Applications
Stronger inktense applications
Form Was Added To Red Playground-Finish What You Started Using Coloured Pencils. Form Will Be Added, But In A Different Way.
Form was added to red playground-finish what you started using coloured pencils. Form will be added, but in a different way.
Arrows Showing Bands
Arrows showing bands

Future problem solving

I am pleasantly surprised of how creating on very rough paper is stirring up ideas for future works. It’s akin to an adventure.

 In my next studio session I add blue Inktense to the two new works.  With the prior strong yellow applications, I am anticipating the blue over the yellow will give green.  I envisage the contrast and busyness of the blue on top of the yellow (and red) will need to be toned down.  I also need to be sure there is balance in the chroma and patterns of on the quadrants of each piece and between the pair of work.

I’m also pondering the way in which I’ll introduce form or dimensionality to the piece in order for it to have a relationship with the ‘Red Playground – Finish what you started’.  I very much look forward to doing this.  

How do you handle problems in the studio?  In this “play” season, I see problems arising as away to learn new things and to experiment.  How are you experimenting in the studio?Please let me know in the comments below.

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Is there a better title?

‘Red Playground – Finish what you started’, is a working title. I’d appreciate your suggestions for a final title. Post them in the comments below or in the comment section on any of the videos of the series.

Red Playground - Finish What You Started, In Situ
"red playground - finish what you started' final.
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