It’s so much fun to teach silk painting to people who never thought they had a lick of artistic skill… and to see them light up like the sun when they create something beautiful! Just hand them a drawing to trace, teach them the basics and watch them go.
The fact that you can see through silk makes it very user-friendly to artists and non-artists alike. I like to create my drawings first and then trace them onto the silk with pencil. That way, when it’s time to apply the gutta, I already know exactly what it will look like when it’s done. Gutta itself is NOT forgiving; once it goes onto the silk, it’s there permanently. That’s why I like to have the drawing planned out ahead of time.
Here are a few tips:
Using pencil, create the drawing for your silk painting on white paper. Go over the pencil lines with black permanent marker. Using permanent marker instead of water-based insures that the ink will not transfer onto your silk by accident (studio tables often have water on or around them), and that the drawing will last a long time in case you ever want to create that painting again.
Lay your silk, already stretched onto its frame, centered over the drawing. You’ll be able to see the black lines through the silk. Trace the drawing onto the silk lightly with pencil.
Make your pencil lines just dark enough to see. Sometimes the pencil lines won’t wash out of the silk during the finishing process, so you’ll probably want to minimize them.
If you make a mistake, don’t try to erase it. It won’t work very well, and you’ll leave eraser residue on your silk. That could interfere with the dyeing process and leave a mark or a smudge on your silk.