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Botanical Art on Dura-Lar

As a botanical artist who also works full time, I tend to work on a single piece for months. Consequently, drawing sometimes gets tedious and it’s fun to switch things up once in a while. I recently got my hands on the Grafix Dura-Lar film, an alternative for paper and had great fun drawing a simple rose on it with colored pencils. Here are some of my thoughts on using this substrate as opposed to the traditional paper.

But first, what is Dura-Lar?

Things I liked about the Dura-Lar:

  • Transferring the sketch to the film is a breeze because it’s transparent.

  • The finished drawing has a wonderful smooth look to it

  • You can work on both sides of the Dura-Lar and experiment with giving depth to the elements in your drawing

  • The smoothness of the Dura-Lar lends itself well to fine detailed work

  • You can do a lot of experimentation with the color of the backing when it comes to framing

  • It’s acid-free and durable (not easily damaged)

Things I don’t like about the Dura-Lar:

  • The big one - it’s polyester aka plastic!

  • I don’t like that the film has so little tooth. Difficult to build up color in layers

  • Softer pencils like Caran d’Ache Luminance don’t work so well on it

But more than anything else, I think it is important to try out different things in your art practice as it helps you push the boundaries of what you are comfortable with. There is a certain way of drawing that works for me but I had to completely switch things up with the Dura-Lar. And that has only helped me to understand colored pencils techniques better and adapt my drawing style as needed.

Even though I am conflicted about using something that is plastic, I will certainly be trying out a few more ideas for the Dura-Lar. But in the long term, I think I will stick to the good old paper!

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