Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Encaustic Wax Process - by Patricia Keeler

©Patricia Keeler 2016/Sky Pony Press

I love texture! I am currently illustrating a book for Sky Pony Press,, called LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL. Lou Seal is a blow-up plastic beach toy. When I saw Denise Fleming's Facebook post on encaustic wax painting, (nobody is better at mixed media than Denise! the flat, smooth texture of wax seemed a match for illustrating a plastic blow-up seal.

But to get started, I watched You Tube videos, like "encaustic art lesson 1 - abstract", then went for supplies.

I found case of block wax colors, wax medium (which look like rice) and boards at Blicks in Manhattan. That's when I realized this wasn't going to be an inexpensive process, and buying a lot of boards would mean I'd have to skip buying coffee at Starbucks, so I'm working on 28 lb copy paper.

I made the mistake of buying a steam iron. Then I realized the holes in the bottom of the iron would effect the texture of the wax. So I found a tiny travel iron with a flat bottom. A better suggestion, and a smaller iron, is the Clover Mini Iron. Thanks for the suggestion, Deb!

Patricia Keeler working with encaustic wax.

I experimented. I began by rubbing the wax block on the iron, then moving the iron across the page. I got flat areas of turquoise wax, although this did make for some interesting background textures. I used this wax image as background in the illustration at top.
But I was trying to develop a representation of a shiny surface, so I began using the clear wax medium.

Top left:  I sprinkled down the clear wax medium.
Top right: I dripped wax onto a sheet of paper. I lightly touched the iron to that sheet to collect the colored wax.
Bottom left: With turquoise wax on the bottom of the iron, I first press down on the dots, then move the iron lightly across the paper.
Bottom right: Wax image of Lou Seal.
I scanned the wax image into Photoshop and worked the other watercolor and photographic images around it.

©Patricia Keeler 2016/Sky Pony Press
Yesterday I tried creating ocean waves using encaustic wax. Love this process!

©Patricia Keeler 2016/Sky Pony Press

Facebook friend me at:  PatriciaKeelerBooks
Follow me on Twitter: @patriciakeeler

represented by Liza Royce Agency


  1. I loved reading this. I admire your willingness to take on a completely new technique for illustrating your book. Your seal looks great.

    1. Thanks! I think changing techniques helps me take a new look at the work.

  2. Replies
    1. Hey Lori, thanks for visiting! Fun to see your wonderful work on Facebook!

  3. Extremely exciting seeing you work through this process and the results are stunning.

    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Ginger! Working in mixed media is new to me, but really interesting.