Decorated Papers for Digital Art

The technique for decorating papers with colourants mixed with paste has been used for hundreds of years. These 'paste papers' were used for book covers and end papers and since medieval times. Now, they are scanned in for use in typography, as illustration (see Eric Carle’s books), website backgrounds, digital art, greeting cards, and borders. The technical side is easy to master, yet offers a huge variety of sophisticated creative choices. With practice and planning a wide range of strong graphic images, patterns and textures can be created. The patterns can be manipulated in Photoshop and colours can be adjusted to harmonise or match a corporate colour if desired.

You will leave with samples of painted textures, linear and brush patterns in a range of colours and a paste recipe. Afterwards, one or two people in a studio may choose to go on experimenting and perfecting their skills and create a large catalogue of patterns that can be scanned in for distinctive original art at any time.

The workshop covers:

  • Understanding what makes patterns work
  • Tools you can make or buy to create your patterns
  • Colourants that work for paste paper techniques
  • Techniques to create textures and specific patterns
  • Evaluating and planning your patterns

Above: See more on a Decorated Papers for Digital Art workshop.

Below: These are three variations of one decorated paper, created by scanning them  and playing with them in Photoshop. You can create a whole catalogue of imagery to draw on for creative work.

three paste paper variations