Resist – The word resist is used to describe the action in which two materials or media repeal each other either chemically or physically. In the examples above I’ve used Elmer’s glue, gold paint pens, whiteout correction pens and oil pastels as different types of resist.

The first five resists were done with Elmer’s glue on black cover stock. The sixth was also done with Elmer’s glue but on white cover stock. When the glue is applied it is white, but dries clear. The dried glue creates a clear shiny line revealing the color of the cover stock underneath. If the cover stock is black the embossed line appears black, if red cover stock is used the embossed line appears red, and so on.

After the glue has dried for twentyfour hours, or until it is clear, I usually add highlighting with either a gold or silver paint pen. Then I color the empty spaces in the design with colored pencils. I prefer Prismacolor® pencils and typically use two or three colors in the same color family to create a richer color scheme. The first image Illuminated Manuscipt Letter is an example of this basic process. I’ve not added the gold highlighting to Image Two – Acapulco, Image Five – Ruffled Tulip or Image Six – Dandelion, but have used a combination of black embossed and gold highlighted lines in Image Three –  Undersea Flowers.

Image Six – Flowers and Butterfly was an “I wonder what if” experiment. Recorded in my art journal where this image was created, I learned a number of things from doing an Elmer’s glue resist on white cover stock and painting it with watercolors. I learned that eventhough the pencil lines are hidden when the glue is applied, the lines of the master design are clearly visible when the glue dries. It is difficult to keep the watercolor off the resist because of its fluid nature unlike the solid nature of colored pencils. The paint can be carefully removed from the glue with a damp Q-tip, many of them for one painting. The glue becomes tacky with too much water and paint is lifted off the paper by the damp Q-tips. Paint can be intentially left on parts of the glue resist to create intermediate tones and emphasize stems. From a distance the picture looks quite amazing; up close it looks remarkably messy. Both perspectives are charming. Creating with this kind of resist and paint medium is very hard work and requires lots of grace.

Elmer’s Glue Resist 


Step 1 – Sketch an image on the black cover stock and outline the pencil markings with Elmer’s glue.

Step 2 – Dry undistrubed 8 – 24 hours depending on the thinkness of the glue lines.

Step 3 – Color with colored pencils. I like using three analagous colors in each space for visual complexity.

Step 4 – Paint the dried glue lines with a permanent gold paint pen. I like DecoColor™ paint pens.

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For more information on Elmer’s glue resist and illuminated manuscript letters, purchase my ‘Art & Soul Resource Book available in my Webstory.