Barbara Nielsen Designs

Painting Tip

Barbara Nielsen, CDA


Use heavy weight double stick tape and stick the bottom of the egg to the lid of a small jar. This prevents them from rolling all over your table.

Barbara Nielsen, CDA


Some of the small designs for the eggs may also be used to paint on other surfaces like this little teapot that I found at a garage sale.

About Pens

For many years, I used and recommended the Rotring Rapidoliner Pen because I like to ink the designs before painting and it set up so quickly in class when teaching. You could apply the color washes without spraying to seal the ink lines. Unfortunately it was discontinued some time ago. I now recommend the Koh-I-Noor pen. This is an expensive pen that requires cleaning and sometime new points. It is fine for someone who inks all the time but I don't recommend it for someone who only inks a project once in a while. Another option that works is the Koh-I-Noor Rapidosketch pen. It is less expensive than the Koh-I-Noor pen but you can't replace the points. Note: All the Koh-I-Noor technical pens, especially in smaller sizes, have a very delicate point so use a light touch when inking.

Most of the cheaper pens are labeled waterproof but they run when washes are applied. The Permawriter II is the only one that I have tried that doesn't but it dries so quickly and permanently that it is hard to remove a mistake and it doesn't come in as small a point as I would like. The other options are using the cheaper pens, then spraying lightly to seal the ink lines before painting (if you spray too to heavily the washes are harder to apply) - or - paint the design first and then ink. There are many cheaper pens and I have not tried them all, but the one I like best is the Micron Pigma. It does come in small points and is fade resistant.

Special Tips

Barbara NielsenAlways seal wood and base area to be inked with several light coats of white acrylic. I usually apply at least four coats so if I have to correct a mistake, I won't wipe off my basecoat. Let the basecoat cure before transferring the pattern.

Barbara NielsenUse Blue Saral transfer paper because it is easier to ink over.

Barbara NielsenI dilute my colors on a StaWet palette, blot on a paper towel and then apply.

Barbara NielsenKeep washes light. Even after the painting is complete, you can glaze on more color if needed in certain areas. Always have a swab ready to blot the highlight area so you do not lose the transparent sparkle.

Barbara NielsenIf second shading is stated, do not extend out as far as the first.

Barbara NielsenA + between colors means equal parts of both. Just pull a little color from each puddle of paint and brush mix on the palette, then dilute with water, blot and apply.

Barbara NielsenTints of color are used to help balance color in a painting. I like to call it bouncing color. I remove most of my paint from my brush with a paper towel and then apply it very lightly. Tints should be very subtle and not jump out at you.

Barbara NielsenAlways seal ink lines with an acrylic spray before applying a water-based varnish.

Barbara NielsenInk with acrylic washes is a very easy technique. Many of my patterns have a lot of detail. This is not harder to do, but it is a little more time consuming.

Barbara NielsenYou may enlarge patterns or portions of patterns and adapt them to other surfaces. Be creative and have fun painting!

Paint Color Conversion Chart - Click here to download