Friday, May 25, 2012


When I saw Illustration Friday's prompt this morning, I thought of yesterday's gardening session-- not only the faded flowers I was deadheading, but the faded way I felt after excessive stooping, pulling weeds in the hot sun!

At first I thought it would be fun to do a stencil over colored paper & leave it in the garden to fade, but I realized that might take too long, so I decided to use bleach as my "ink" so as to fade the paper more quickly.

It was strange drawing with bleach, because the marks were almost invisible as I made them, developing over time in a mysterious & somewhat unpredictable way. It was almost like drawing "blind" actually, only I could see where to put the next line, if I waited long enough. Definitely not at all like drawing with white ink, despite the similar final effect.

If you try this, DO NOT use a treasured brush or nib, because the bleach will wreak major oxidative havoc with it. Even in the short time it took to do this sketch, the brand-new nib I'd loaded rusted out shockingly, & I had to keep wiping the rust off it to keep the lines light! Luckily I buy Hunt's 108 nibs by the dozen so I have plenty to spare.

Also, I'm pretty certain this process is not at all archival! But still, fun for an experiment.

Chlorine bleach on colored paper, ~2.5"x5"


  1. The question is did you use a brand name or generic brand chlorine bleach? Hehehehehe. Oh my gosh you are on aroll not just with your creative spirit but on the creative ways you execute these illustrations. Seriously - BLEACH! Did you wear a mask? I would have had respiratory distress. Sigh. I wonder what you will use next? Oh goodness, your unpredictable adventure packs more suspense than the Illustration Friday theme itself!!!

    I also know how stooping feels. I have a bad back just because I am a woman and I am a certain age :(

    Have a most lovely weekend. May it be filled with adventure!!!

  2. Arrghh!!! I type too much. Of course! I love your illustration.

  3. Very cool - or perhaps too warm!

  4. you are artist-scientist to the backbone !! Very sophisticated approach !

  5. Gorgeous results with such an unpredictable medium! I have used bleach to stamp a rubber image before, but to actually draw such a great piece with bleach?! Brilliant!

  6. I'm impressed with such a detailed drawing with bleach too. I would've thought that it would bleed into the paper and make it blurry. I wonder how lemon juice or peroxide would work? Technological issues aside, love the drawing!

  7. you are so creative. I have painted with bleach on fabric but never thought of paper. Fabulous! love it!