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Ceramics Tutorial: Painting Your Final Piece

Learn how to design and paint directly onto your ceramic pieces, with Chichinabo

A useful way of making sure you design fits your ceramic pieces is to design directly onto the piece. It is ideal for use on 3D pieces as it gives a very real vision of the finish our work will have and allows us to design to scale straight onto complicated pieces.

Patricia, creator of the brand CHICHINABO INC (@chichinabo_inc) teaches us step by step how to design onto our ceramic pieces and how to transfer that design to paper to be able to digitize it later. Watch the tutorial here:

1. Materials

For this procedure, we will need:

- 0.2mm marker
- Transparent adhesive tape
- A blank sheet of paper
- A pair of scissors
- The ceramic piece we want to design on

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2. Start drawing on the piece

With the marker, we will draw directly on the piece. The enamel will be smooth, which will help us to obtain a very fluid line. If we are not convinced by any part of the design, we can erase it with our finger and continue drawing over it.

At this point in the process, it will not be necessary to seek perfection. Although it is easy to become obsessed with getting the perfect design at first, we have to take into account that the drawing on the piece is not final. When it is complete, we will be able to fix what we don't like.

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3. Watch your finger placement

Being able to erase our lines on the ceramic is one of the biggest advantages of drawing directly on the piece, but it is also one of its disadvantages. If we get confused, we can erase parts of our design by mistake, so we will always keep an eye on where we place our fingers to avoid this.

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4. Start the transfer process

When we have finished drawing our design on our ceramic piece, we will stick the transparent adhesive tape carefully over our lines. Then, we will press it to make sure the design is completely transferred to the adhesive.

If the design is too big to cover with common adhesive tape, you can use packing tape.

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5. Transfer the design to paper

Carefully, we will begin to remove the adhesive tape from our piece from the same place where we had begun to stick it on. If necessary, we will cut the tape at a point without much color or detail and remove it in parts, although, if it is a continuous design, ideally it will be removed without interruption.

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Once the tape has been removed, we will carefully stick it on a white sheet of paper. If we have had to cut the tape, we will join the pieces of tape on the paper, ensuring any interrupted lines are brought together.

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6. Tracing

Once we have our life-size design on the sheet, we will redraw it with tracing paper or with the help of a light table. Now is the time to get the perfect design, fixing what we don't like and changing whatever we need to. However, it is important that we respect the original size: as we have worked on the drawing on the piece itself, its dimensions will be the ideal ones, and therefore we should keep them.

When tracing, we use the marker once more to create the contrast between black and white, which will make our work easier when scanning the drawing to digitalize our design.

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If you like this tutorial, you can learn to narrate illustrated stories on ceramic on Chichinabo's online course Decoration with Digital Ceramic Decals.

You may also like:

- Ceramics: modeling and decoration, a course by Paula Casella Biase
- Ceramic Illustration and Modeling Techniques, a course by Pepa Espinoza
- Creative Ceramics: Give Shape to Your Ideas with Artisanal Technique, a course by Lola Giardino

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