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!