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About Traditional Art / Professional Gareth MongerMale/United Kingdom Recent Activity
Deviant for 3 Years
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Peacock doodle by GaffaMondo Peacock doodle :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 15 0 My Little Pony: Princess Luna by GaffaMondo My Little Pony: Princess Luna :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 2 0 #MakeDinosaursGreenAgain by GaffaMondo #MakeDinosaursGreenAgain :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 12 3 One from the vaults: inprog Rhamphorhynchus by GaffaMondo One from the vaults: inprog Rhamphorhynchus :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 26 9 Clydagnathus by GaffaMondo Clydagnathus :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 13 0 Utahraptor by GaffaMondo Utahraptor :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 43 10 Achillobator by GaffaMondo Achillobator :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 26 3 Utahraptor prep by GaffaMondo Utahraptor prep :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 24 11 Platecarpus by GaffaMondo Platecarpus :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 28 6 Envelope doodle: Adventure Time! by GaffaMondo Envelope doodle: Adventure Time! :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 7 0 Rhamphorhynchus not into skim-feeding by GaffaMondo Rhamphorhynchus not into skim-feeding :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 41 18 Sturnus vulgaris in red by GaffaMondo Sturnus vulgaris in red :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 2 0 The Courieropteryx by GaffaMondo The Courieropteryx :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 13 5 Ugly Stegosaurus by GaffaMondo Ugly Stegosaurus :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 24 3 Hallucigenia by GaffaMondo Hallucigenia :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 15 13 #BuildABetterFakeTheropod: Not A Theropod by GaffaMondo #BuildABetterFakeTheropod: Not A Theropod :icongaffamondo:GaffaMondo 49 16


Dinosaurs goes fluffy by IsisMasshiro Dinosaurs goes fluffy :iconisismasshiro:IsisMasshiro 2,694 567 A Field Guide to Mesozoic Twitter Birds by Albertonykus A Field Guide to Mesozoic Twitter Birds :iconalbertonykus:Albertonykus 90 13 It's a start by zarla It's a start :iconzarla:zarla 3,143 458 Tyrannosauroid integument composite by Tomozaurus Tyrannosauroid integument composite :icontomozaurus:Tomozaurus 257 78 New Tylosaurus. by LuckyLemontina New Tylosaurus. :iconluckylemontina:LuckyLemontina 37 2 velociraptor mongolensis by LuckyLemontina velociraptor mongolensis :iconluckylemontina:LuckyLemontina 43 0 Varanus priscus - Megalania by LuckyLemontina Varanus priscus - Megalania :iconluckylemontina:LuckyLemontina 59 10 Belonostomus Done by LuckyLemontina Belonostomus Done :iconluckylemontina:LuckyLemontina 20 1 Mosasaurus by LuckyLemontina Mosasaurus :iconluckylemontina:LuckyLemontina 50 2 Angistorhinus by LuckyLemontina Angistorhinus :iconluckylemontina:LuckyLemontina 74 7 Savannah Monitor. by LuckyLemontina Savannah Monitor. :iconluckylemontina:LuckyLemontina 47 2 Bendy Test by imaprettypeacock Bendy Test :iconimaprettypeacock:imaprettypeacock 19 0 A Guide to Mosasaur Scales by Yutyrannus A Guide to Mosasaur Scales :iconyutyrannus:Yutyrannus 155 36 Pterosaur ptuesday Thalassodromeus by tepuitrouble Pterosaur ptuesday Thalassodromeus :icontepuitrouble:tepuitrouble 41 6 Auk's Cables by Albertonykus Auk's Cables :iconalbertonykus:Albertonykus 23 5 Lend Me Your Ears by Albertonykus Lend Me Your Ears :iconalbertonykus:Albertonykus 130 19


So I've spent a couple of hours chatting with another artist about how certain artistic methods are often taken for granted by those who routinely use them, since they've forgotten the expensive trial-and-error process they had to go through.  For me, stretching paper had, perhaps, a 30% fail rate.  It wastes time and, in the case of thinner papers, can waste materials, too.

Whilst training at college and, for a while, whilst illustrating commercially, I used to use a thick watercolour paper, Arches 140lb hot-pressed.  It takes a lot of abuse, can be sanded, scraped and soaked.  And, if you really balls something up, you can shower off your gouache painting and start again.  That last one's not so good for watercolour and is no good for acrylic.

My current project is self-funded.  It's also pretty big and, being a book, there's no remuneration until everything's done.  So I've decided to work with 200gsm Fabriano cartridge paper.  It's thick enough to take decent paint layers and thin enough to put through a laser printer - and works out at 14p per sheet (420 x 297mm) - versus two or three quid for the equivalent size in Arches.

As with Arches, cartridge paper really ought to be stretched prior to painting lest it 'cockles', meaning that the paper's surface becomes uneven and doesn't dry flat.  Stretching paper is a way of loading the paper with water so that it expands evenly.  It is then secured to another surface and dried.  The water evaporates but because the paper is secured, it cannot shrink, and remains at its expanded size and under tension.  The addition of paint doesn't not cause the paper to expand, because it cannot expand any more.  When the painting is complete (and dry), it is removed from the surface and remains smooth and flat.  The following is my way of doing it.  Other people use different methods so find the one which works for you.

Wooden board: something like a 3-ply, or MDF, big enough to take your paper with a couple of extra inches all the way round.
Gumstrip sealing tape. I use a brand called Butterfly, manufactured by Wiggins Teape (Stationery) Ltd.  (Yes, it does say 'Teape' and not tape).
200gsm cartridge.

1. Cut some appropriate lengths of gumstrip, two for the lengths of your paper and two for the widths.  Make it an inch or so longer than the dimensions of the paper.

NB: Keep your tape in a plastic sandwich bag so that it can't get wet!  A wet roll of gumstrip is a DEAD roll of gumstrip.  Grrr!)

2. Fill your bath, or suitable container, with an inch or two of cold water.  Obviously your container needs to be large enough to take your paper.

3.  Carefully float the paper on the surface of the paper.  Try not to allow water to spill over the surface.  A few drops ain't the end o' the world, but we're trying to avoid submersion of the paper.  (Arches and thicker papers can be submerged, but this is thinner paper and may split if over-soaked.)

4.  After five minutes or so, carefully lift the paper off the water's surface, and dangle it until the water stops dripping off it.  Then lay it on to the board, roughly centrally.

5.  There are right and wrong ways to apply the tape.  DON'T chuck all your tape in the bath.  Its adhesive will soak off.  DO apply water quickly to the tape quickly, preferably squeegeeing off the water almost as soon as it's on.  Lay the tape on the paper, so that approximately half the tape is over the paper.  Run your hand/finger/approximately-similar appendage the length of the tape, to squeeze out any excess water which may delay drying.  The longer this entire set-up is wet, the more likely it is to fail.

6.  Take a clean towel - preferably one which doesn't shed fluff all over the place.  Lay it out on the board and paper, and pat it down to soak up excess water.  Then, lay the board out flat where it can dry.

There you go.  Hope it works for you.


GaffaMondo's Profile Picture
Gareth Monger
Artist | Professional | Traditional Art
United Kingdom
Palaeoillustrator from the Fens, now in the Fylde. Despite being more interested in theropods, here I am writing a graphic novel on pterosaurs. Occasional commercial illustrator; clients include Oxford University Museum, Smithsonian, Haynes Publishing and Dorling Kindersley. Author of 'Dear Annick', a compilation of genuine email correspondence between 'The Bowrunner' and Annick Zabre, an email scammer.

I blog about palaeo stuff at, and I co-blog with co-consporator-and-friend Andy Brain. I also colour TetZoo Time!, a spin-off cartoon strip conceived and written by Alberta Claw and John Turmelle, and inked by Rebecca Groom of Palaeoplushies fame. On top of that I also blog for UK art materials retailer, ArtDiscount.


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eagc7 Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2017  Student Digital Artist
happy bday
GaffaMondo Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2017  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks very much. :)
eagc7 Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2017  Student Digital Artist
your welcome!
TrilobiteCannibal Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for watching! I love your blog and your art :D
GaffaMondo Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
No probs - and thanks for watching me! Glad to know my blog actually gets read!
TrilobiteCannibal Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
megabass22 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for watching!
GaffaMondo Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
TheDubstepAddict Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist


eagc7 Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2016  Student Digital Artist
happy bday
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