Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tips for Taping Off

When I do Dinotopia paintings on illustration board, I tape off the edge with blue low-tack painter's tape (from the hardware store). Then I cut a thin strip of white so-called "artist's tape" to put over that to preserve my perspective grid markings. Red marking is the eye level. I don't recommend using the white tape directly on the illustration board because the adhesion is too strong and it rips the board—and it's non-archival, as is almost all tape, really.

I seal the whole surface, including the edge where the tape meets the drawing, with clear acrylic matte medium so that the oil paint doesn't seep under the tape. 

When the painting is finished, I remove the tape. The image can be flapped with polyethylene coated paper while in production, and it has a safety margin of white board around the image. When it comes to framing it can either be cut down to the edge of the painting and framed without glass or matted and framed. 
Previously on GJ:
Perspective Grid
Technique Notes
Want more insights? Pick up a signed copy of the new expanded edition of Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara at my website or on Amazon or Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist.


Patricia Wafer said...

I often but not always tape the edge around watercolor or gouache sketches in my sketchbook. The nice clean edge often shows the sketch to advantage. I do the same when painting pastels or watercolors en plein air. But the blue color of painter's tape distracts me so I use black or beige drafting tape which seems a little lower in tack and doesn't rip the paper as easily as masking tape. I love the idea of sealing the edge with acrylic medium and marking the eye level line, etc. Great ideas as always!! Thanks, James

David Webb said...

When I paint watercolours outdoors I usually stick the paper to the board with masking tape, all around the edges of the paper.
To avoid damaging the paper surface when the tape's removed, I run a hair dryer over the tape first. The warm air heats up the glue and softens it, which allows it to come away cleanly, leaving a nice clean border.


Steve said...

David, thanks for the hair dryer tip; great idea!

For the past couple years, when doing very detailed cover paintings for a local publication, I've been using an Arches paper specifically created to take oil paint. I adhere it to a birch plywood panel. Some regard it as a nice alternative to illustration board. Among the painters of my acquaintance, it is not very widely known.

Colin Boyer said...

James, I would love a Gumroad video going over your entire process of doing a perspective drawing.

jeff jordan said...

I use whit artist's paper tape for my gouache paintings. It's a bit tackier than I like, so I adhere the tape to my drawing table, then pull it up, about 5 times, then put it where it's supposed to go. It's worked out fine for me.

jeff jordan said...

White….not whit

Peter Drubetskoy said...

Hm, if you seal the surface with Acrylic matte medium, could you not then put the artist tape on top of that without fear of it tearing the board? Or would it also lift the acrylic medium?
BTW, when removing the tape, one great tip I learned from Nathan Fowkes's videos is to remove it at an angle away from the painting: this way even when it rips the paper, it usually only outside of the painting. It really works.
Can you explain the perspective grid markings and their use (or point to the resource)? If oyu already have the drawing, why you you need those?

James Gurney said...

Peter, you could, and the layer of acrylic emulsion would reinforce the surface of the board a bit, but maybe not enough. But you still might want to seal the tape edge to keep the paint from leaking under.
I have added a link at the end of the post that goes into the perspective grid. The reason I like to have access to it when the painting is underway is that I can find it again if I cover up the whole drawing with paint.

Jeff, I've also done something similar when I have tape that's too sticky. I usually put the tape down over the blue jeans of my thigh a few times.

Colin, Yeah, good idea. Perspective is a big topic, and worth a whole video.

Steve, I do something similar, gluing canvas to birch plywood.

Patricia, That blue sometimes bugs me too, and then I just put some white tape or white paper over it.

Unknown said...

Oh, interesting. I’ll have to try that! Thank you!

Unknown said...

Great suggestion to use birch plywood panels.I'm going to give it a try. What kind of glue do you use to stick the paper to the board?
Cheers, AW

Steve said...

Adolf -- To adhere the paper to the panel, I brush Golden GAC-100 on both surfaces. I then place some kraft paper on a clean, hard, level floor. The Arches paper goes on this, wet side up. I carefully place the panel over the paper, wet side down. I then stack every free weight (dumbbell) I own on top of the panel and let it sit overnight. That's 370 pounds of weights, but really, some stacks of heavy books would probably do. It's especially important to get pressure along the edges and corners. Hope this helps.