Monday, December 2, 2013

Is Streaking a Problem???

Try to Avoid Streaking ( of any type) !!!!!!
Okay... that's a bad joke...

BUT I did get a email question from someone about problems she was having with using her Fantastix Applicators with Tsukineko Ink and getting some undesired ink streaking in her painting on fabric.
I thought a general post might be warranted  on the subject. First though... a few basic things I've come to learn about working with the Tsukineko Inks and Fantastix. I DO LOVE THEM... and... there are things to know to make them really work well in a painterly fashion.

  • A lesser amount of evenly distributed ink across the surface of a Fantastix applicator  coupled with little downward pressure on fabric surface ( i.e. a light hand) gives the painter a much better chance of a soft value with more even distribution.
  • One bottle open at a time and place OFF the fabric being painting. .( SAVES spills)  but admittedly has nothing to do with streaking. 
  • Particularly with newer stix and painter experience, rub down( on test scrap cloth)  stix to a light value and repeat strokes if necessary if needed to increase value. 
  • Once one is familiar with inks on the fabric being used for a specific project, your intuition will take over and you'll better know how wet or dry to work.  
  • New Fantastix applicators  need 'brakeing in'. Following it's early use dips in ink... test ink AND stix on scrap fabric... rolling the stix a quarter turn for several strokes, repeating with additional turns. In almost every case... too much ink on a stix will produce streak-like results when the painter really wanted a soft even value (almost pastel chalk look). Go dry and repeat strokes instead 
  • Tsukineko Inks 'like' natural fiber (cotton/silk etc.) Avoid natural/non natural fiber blends. 
  • An uneven surface beneath the fabric or drawing will often produce uneven inking results
  • Don't store inks in a freezing environment... keep them in the house in cold climates. This is a distributors recommendation so I've never tested it. 
  • Use Fantastix brush tip applicators on their side ... ie as parallel to the fabric as possible. This covers more area and  extends the stix life as well as the point of the brush tip.

I'm brainstorming here...

1. IF... Fantastix were used at a 45 degree angle or more and have created excessively relaxed the fibers of the stix, one could during ink application  be hitting the fabric with the EDGE of the plastic cyclinder on the stix.  
2. The Fantastix got exceptionally dried out and needed work to loosen up. This usually doesn't happen so soon but does happen on stix that haven't been used for a year or so or maybe in an exceptionally dry geography.

3. Often a bit too much ink on a stix.. can streak a bit.

4. A really coarse fabric does tend to "grab" ink more than a higher thread count and/ or softer fibers... so prewashing a coarse fabric might be good. There are sometimes downsides to that tho and too soft fibers tend to 'ball' when painting. 

5.  I will hope a painter experiencing streaking problems didn't use Tsukineko's white or a metallic with on some other colors Fantastix applicator now causing streaks as opaque inks stiffen stix.  I clean opaque inks stix off with scrap fabric before putting them away in the cap. 
6.  Also .. if the stix are  overly 'limp'... either though rough use or  usually over alot of repeated use over time... it is  time to replace. 

Hope this is helpful and I welcome your comments on other ideas/learning. Thanks all... Patt

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