Chinese New Year fun with ink swabs.

Cotton swabs let you see how an ink spreads itself on paper, and also thins out the color so you can better see hue and tone. If you’re testing colors, you might as well have fun. These swabs are round on one end and pointy on the other — twice the fun potential!

Double-ended cotton swabs

Double-ended cotton swabs

Many friends are celebrating the coming of the Chinese New Year, so I thought that would make a good theme.

Red, yellow, a hint of green

Red, yellow, a hint of green

J. Herbin Rouge Hematite, Platinum Mix Free in golden yellow, and De Atramentis’ Petrol came out of the ink drawer. To make an ink swab snake, make a swooshy S with the cotton swab side down to the paper. Add yellow dots with the pointy end. Dark green dots for eyes and a tongue in red complete the snake.

Ink swab snake

Ink swab snake

Make inky fireworks using a spray bottle with water and a loaded ink swab.

Ink swab plus spray bottle

Ink swab plus spray bottle

Experiment with the distance from the spray to the swab, and from the swab to the paper.

Spray away

Spray away

You can add a greeting while the paper is still a little wet.

Pretty accidents

Pretty accidents

Children love receiving ang pao, or red envelopes with money gifts, during Chinese New Year. You can jazz up a simple brown envelope with an ink swab doodle.

Ink swab on envelope

Ink swab on envelope

Or try a card!

Swabby snake

Swabby snake

If one swab is fun, why not use two at the same time?

Double swab action

Double swab action

The colors blend on paper as you draw, leaving parts of the stroke orange and parts distinctly red and yellow.

Why doesn't this look like a snake?

Why doesn’t this look like a snake?

Writing with cotton swabs is not easy. Use a light touch. I should have used new swabs per line for more consistent color, but I like the gradual fade of this too. Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!

Writing with two swabs

Writing with two swabs

 

 

 

 

 

  • http://sketch-books.blogspot.com/ Gentian

    Very nice Leigh! :D Some great ideas! Love the snake at the top :D

  • http://twitter.com/kuroba Estivalia

    Lovely and creative way to use cotton swabs :)

  • http://twitter.com/hauntedculture Beyla

    Lovely, I fear I’ll have to use the spray bottle to a swab technique sometime soon.

  • http://www.gourmetpens.com/ Azizah Asgarali

    So beautiful! You have such a brilliant mind. Jealous. :) But at least I get to enjoy your work via pictures!

  • Jim

    The last picture looks like 3-D!

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