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Frequently asked
questions

General

Art materials are very important for creative expression and the journey of art itself. From the early cave painters, we wanted to record observations, experiences and thoughts. They resorted to drawing and painting them since language and script were still centuries away. They sourced materials from their surroundings like pieces of coal from last night’s bonfire or a lump of limestone or red earth. First, it was only drawing and then water was used to dilute the colours available while palms, fingers and twigs were tools. Early men also tried ‘spray painting’ with a mouth spray.

With time, many more shades were added to the palette as new pigments coming from minerals, vegetables and chemistry were discovered and perfected. Those early artists also experimented with gums and resins they got from trees and animals to add more life and lustre to their works. Many more exotic pigments were discovered and used like the Ink gland from Cuttlefish, Emerald and Lapis Lazuli, extract of roots, beetles and even cows’ urine. Many toxic and harmful chemicals like Vermillion and Strychnine were also used as permanent and vibrant pigments. Though dyes were avoided due to their limited light fastness, some of them had to be converted into pigments after absorbing white pigments in case no others were available.

Oil Colours were discovered in the 10th century and the first known users were Buddhist monks in the Bamiyan valley. They concocted the mixtures to paint on cave walls and the world got a wonderful gift. Since Oil Colours offered a waterproof film with a very long life, they caught the fancy of the art world and became popular across Europe and Asia. It was first used on planks of wood (Russian icons) and later canvases, which are still very popular. Oil Colours were the mainstay of the Renaissance period and grew popular during the time.

However, during the early days, colours were not very easy to acquire, unlike today. The artist would purchase pigments, resins and other raw materials from specific shops and get them blended, ground and prepared by apprentices in their own workshops. Anyone who wanted to become an artist would join such ‘schools’ and start with tasks of preparing colours and canvases for years. Only then would they get a chance to draw and paint.

In the 18th century, a French pigment supplier was requested by an arthritic customer to prepare colours for him and he obliged just to earn some extra money. This service caught on. Lefranc Bourgeois became the first commercial art material manufacturer in the world. Soon, others like Winsor and Newton joined the industry in different parts of Europe. The colours were initially supplied in skin bladders which gave way to syringes and collapsible tubes. The mediums and tools also developed along the way as people experimented with different vegetables, mineral oils and animal hair.

In the 1950s, an artist experimented with acrylic resins and created a colour which was water soluble but became waterproof, like oil colours when dry and also drying much faster. Acrylic Colours soon became popular worldwide. Due to its versatility and faster turnaround time, it has become the most popular art material of today’s generation as well.

Asian contribution is also sizable in the development of art materials. The Chinese and Japanese have given us a vast range of papers, inks and brushes. They are unique and very popular for Water Colour painting and calligraphy. The Indian subcontinent, with its long history of creative art, had a huge understanding of art materials used in miniature and rock paintings. Many of them like Indian Yellow and Indigo Blue became global favourites along with the innovative use of precious metals and stones in painting. Though many companies experimented with artist materials, Camlin became the first industrial enterprise to successfully manufacture a wide range of art materials in the early 1960s for artists, schools and hobbyists.

Camel began their journey in 1931, as Dandekar and Co., when young chemistry graduate Mr. Digambar Dandekar decided to go into business by manufacturing writing ink. He made slow and sure progress with the help of his elder brother, Mr. Govind Dandekar, an engineer with the BMC. The brand name ‘Camel’ was decided by the founder while having tea in an iconic Irani café. A poster of Camel cigarettes that said “I’d walk a mile for a Camel.” gave him the idea of using this useful animal with its high endurance, long-range, adaptability and ability to take hardship in a stride for his own company. Since Camel is easy to pronounce in all Indian languages, it was chosen as the official brand name. Later ‘Camel’ and ‘Ink’ together, became the reason behind the name ‘Camlin’.

By the mid-1950s, the company had established a nationwide presence as a leading brand for most of the products it manufactured. The founders’ son, Mr. Subhash Dandekar, who later became Chairman and Chairman Emeritus of the company started visiting Camel regularly to help his father and uncle. He wanted to do something enterprising rather than just continuing with the established business. Considering the consumer feedback and the company’s strength in inks, he decided to experiment with Coloured Drawing Inks. They became instantly popular amongst cartoonists and designers and gave the quest of making colours a real boost.

Art materials and the colours for art and craft were being completely imported until then and the entire country was dependent on these foreign products. There were a few manufacturers around but the product quality was nothing close to the expectations of the small art community. Hence, Camel decided to enter the field and ensure import substitution in the field of arts and education.

However, making colours is also very technology intensive. Mr. Subhash Dandekar thus decided to set sail to Glasgow to further his education in colour chemistry. After returning, he set up a laboratory and started work on formulating colours for the Indian market. After relentless work for months, he was ready with Oil Colours, Oil Pastels, Poster Colours, Crylin etc. which were introduced into the market in 1962. In 1964, the company formally created the “Art Material Division”.

The initial response was not very warm as in most schools there was no credible art experience while premium residential schools and professional artists were happy with their imported products. The government of India had especially sanctioned the apex body of art, the Lalit Kala Academy, to import art materials without paying duty and make them available to artists at cost price. Selling colours was proving to be more difficult than making them. Apart from exhaustive visits to consumers and ensuring proper communication of the benefits of Camel’s products, various other modes of publicity, including demonstrations, exhibitions and sales etc. were used to help encourage people to start using their products.

In 1967, exhibitions were held in Delhi and Mumbai, where leading artists of the time were given all the materials to create paintings which were showcased to the public and offered for sale. This convinced artists to shift from imported products to Camel colours. The change in the policy of importing art materials for domestic consumption by the Lalit Kala Academy also gave support to the shift to indigenous art materials. The introduction of art contests for school students drew the attention of educators and parents towards the importance of art in the development of children and was finally instrumental in the inclusion of art in our curriculum.

Artist Acrylic Colours, invented in the 1950s in the US, were introduced to the Indian market in the 1970s on the recommendation and demand of artists like M. F. Husain and Satish Gujaral. This new age medium soon became the rage among artists and has become the most popular and largest selling artist colours in India. In fact, Camel Artist Acrylic colours are unique in many ways - their high tacking power and ability to instantly dissolve in water makes them one of a kind.

We are proud that our consumers have bestowed their faith and confidence in the brand and products. This has made Camel and Camlin the most recognizable brands in the field of art materials and stationery. Whether it is a professional product like Oil Colours or Poster Colours or school art materials like crayons or pastels, each one of them has been appreciated and adopted by consumers wholeheartedly. The response has been the same with our promotions like the Camel Art Foundation’s annual art exhibitions or the Camel Art Contest, which holds a Guinness World Record as the largest art contest in the world.

Early artists, like those who painted the Bhimbetka caves, were very candid and spontaneous with their paintings. They used their art to document their day-to-day lives and important events that took place around them. The first materials they started drawing with were pieces of coal (from wood fire), limestone, chalk and lumps of red earth. With time, they started mixing these basic pigments with water and applied the pastes with their fingers or twigs on various surfaces. You can compare these with today's Camel Soft Pastels and Camel Premium Poster Colours, though the range of shades they had was not as expansive.

The colours used in Ajanta, Elora during the Buddhist era (2nd century BC) were made from pigments mixed with gum arabic for better life. The pigments were sourced from minerals and vegetables and had good permanency. If you are on the lookout for a close match, Camel Poster Colours can do justice in terms of look, life and composition. However, most pigments now are from chemical sources.

India has a long and vast tradition of miniature paintings - Pahadi & Kangda in the North, Thanjavur in the South, Kalighat and company in the East, Rajput in the West, and Mughal miniatures in the center. From around the 17th century when miniature paintings took root in India, to the late 20th century when commercially produced colours became popular, the artists made their own colours.

The pigments used to come from nature either in form of minerals, like various hues of earth, precious and semi-precious stones like emerald and lapis lazuli, plants like haritaki, fauna like kermes beetles and a few chemicals like Vermillion or Strychnine. For metallic hues, miniature artists used foils of real silver and gold. Artists and their families used to process these pigments manually along with resin (Gond) of an acacia tree and apply them using brushes fashioned out of squirrel hairs. There were some very exotic pigments used by these artists like Indian Yellow (derived from the urine of cows fed exclusively with mango leaves) and Indigo Blue etc.

However, with the advent of commercially-produced colours, artists slowly began trying paints like Camel Poster Colours. This eventually led to the entire industry shifting to such colours. While you may find some miniature artists displaying exotic pigments in their showroom, most usually use poster colours for their miniature paintings. In our interaction with master artists we have found that they use handmade colours for the restoration of old paintings, but for new work, they use Camel Poster Colours as the product is perfect for creating miniature paintings.

Tribal art is the purest form of expression which is closely related to nature. Initially, the mediums were sourced by using materials from their immediate surroundings like cave or rock art. However, with time and commercial pressure, these artists have innovated and started using commercially-produced art material. Since the surface is mostly absorbent and permanent and being wash-proof is the need of the consumer, they are mostly using Acrylic Colours. Gond and Warli art is mostly executed with Camel Artist Acrylic Colours whereas Madhubani mostly goes on fabrics hence Camel Fabrica Colours are used. Artists engaged in Pattachitra etc. are still happy with the Camel Premium Poster Colours. We are proud to be a part of such great traditions.

Do’s and Don’ts

Oil painting has been the most popular form of painting since the 15th century. However, it is the most technical one too. If you use all the right inputs in the right manner and proportion, your painting will come out excellent and last really long. Let’s try to understand the inputs and how they should be used:

Surface or substrate

If the subject demands an infinite and robust look or a square shape or you wish to avoid framing, we recommend using a Camel Stretched Canvas; the size is at your discretion.

If you have an uncommon size or shape in mind, get a wedge-joint frame made with bevelled strips of good quality, strong and lightweight wood. Then, get the Camel Canvas Roll stretched over it

The canvas generally tends to loosen up after the application of colours. It would perform better if you could stretch it a little further by inserting wooden chips into the slots in the corners of canvas stretchers and tapping them lightly with a hammer.

If the canvas becomes a bit slippery and is not accepting the colours properly, use the finest sandpaper you can find to rub the surface lightly and ensure you clean the dust off before starting work.

Drawing

Drawing is optional as some artists prefer to start with paint right from the beginning. However, if you must, please use the Camel Compressed Charcoal Sticks to draw. It will help you with painting but the charcoal would neither tarnish the colours nor would the drawing be visible under the painting.

Painting process

For a good-looking and long-lasting painting, always use Camel Artist Oil Colours. Their superior ingredients, rich formulations, and better processing will give you the desired results.

While selecting the shades, always refer to the transparency and permanency indicated on the shade labels.

Paint in the classic ‘Fat over Lean’ technique and keep increasing the quantity of the medium (Linseed Oil) in every subsequent coat for better drying and finish.

While mixing shades, keep their individual composition in mind as some pigments do not go well with others.

Do keep the drying speed and vehicle absorption nature of the shade in mind while painting shades over another or side by side.

Add sufficient mediums to shades - not less, not more.

Cautiously handle the earth shades which don’t absorb enough mediums but become transparent or crack if they are not saturated with sufficient mediums.

Unless you are using a wet-on-wet technique to blend the shades on the surface, let the first coat dry properly before applying the next one.

Don’t over-brush and give the painting a “wooly” look or use stark outlines to make it “edgy”

Preparatory mediums

Use Camel Gesso in 3 to 4 coats to prime the surface and make it suitable for oil painting.

If you need to create any special texture on the surface, use Camel Texture White. The ideal way to use it is in thin layers, building up the area gradually

There’s no need to apply Camel Gesso on an already primed canvas

The drying time depends upon the thickness of the Camel Texture White used.

Let the Gesso/Texture White dry completely before you start painting.

Painting mediums

Mix sufficient medium in the colours on the palette with a palette knife before painting as required by the shade concerned and your individual technique.

For fluid application Camel Purified Linseed Oil is the appropriate medium, however, if you want faster drying, you can use Camel Artists’ Drying Oil.

For thicker application with a knife etc., you should blend Camligel with the colours before applying on the canvas.

Turpentine should be used to clean brushes or thin the colours if required. However, being a volatile material, you need to take some special precautions. Please refer to the relevant question for more details.

Preservation mediums

It is advisable to varnish the oil paintings after it is fully dried for longevity.

Please ensure that the painting is fully dry before varnishing.

Use all precautions and processes while varnishing the painting.

Use Camel Picture Varnish Spray or Camel Picture Varnish in the manner suggested.

Tools

Camel Wash Brushes (Series 58) are the ideal tool for applying Gesso or a base coat of Oil Colours in broad washes.

To develop paintings, you can use Camel White Bristle Brushes in the Flat shape if the viscosity is moderate.

For thicker colours, painting knives are the ideal tools.

In the case of colours with a very thin consistency, Camel Synthetic Gold Brushes in the Flat shape could be used.

For details and line work, Camel Synthetic Gold Brushes in the Round shape would also be the right tool.

Make sure that the brushes are dipped in Camel Distilled Turpentine to avoid residual colours from drying.

Use a brush washer to help retain the shape of the brush and clean it thoroughly.

Clean the brush completely with Camel Distilled Turpentine, then wash thoroughly with soap and water before storing.

Dry the brushes thoroughly and store them in a container with a dehumidifier and Naphthalene balls for better protection.

Accessories

These aren’t compulsory but they do help in improving the experience and results. Accessories for oil painting include palettes, double dippers, easels, and brush washers.

Acrylic Colours were first used in the mid-20th century but, within a short span, acrylic painting has become very popular and is loved the world over by professionals and hobbyists alike. For reasons like versatility and faster drying, acrylic painting has become a favourite of the current generation. The following points are advisable while painting with Acrylic Colours:

Surface or substrate

Use a Camel Stretched Canvas (size of your choice) or you can also use paper or any other surface.

If the subject demands an infinite and robust look or a square shape or you wish to avoid framing, we recommend using a Camel Stretched Canvas.

If you have an uncommon size or shape in mind, get a wedge-joint frame made with bevelled strips of good quality, strong lightweight wood. Then, get the Camel Canvas Roll stretched over it.

The canvas generally tends to loosen up after the application of colours. It would perform better if you could stretch it a little further by inserting wooden chips into the slots in the corners of canvas stretchers and tapping them lightly with a hammer.

If the canvas becomes a bit slippery and is not accepting the colours properly, use the finest sandpaper you can find to rub the surface lightly and ensure you clean the dust off before starting work.

Thorough cleaning and a coat of Camel Gesso are advisable before commencing painting if you are planning to use a non-paper/non-canvas surface.

Drawing

Drawing is optional as some artists prefer to start with paint right from the beginning. However, if you must, please use the Camel Compressed Charcoal Sticks to draw. It will help you with painting but the charcoal would neither tarnish the colours nor would the drawing be visible under the painting.

Painting process

Always use Camel Artist Acrylic Colours for a better look and longer life as they have superior pigment quality and load and offer better processing.

While selecting the shades, always refer to the transparency and permanency indicated on the shade labels.

While mixing shades, keep their individual composition in mind as some pigments do not go well with others.

While using the wet-on-wet technique to blend the shades on the surface, use Camel Acrylic Retarder to keep the colours wet for a longer time and allow mixing on the canvas.

Don’t over-brush and give the painting a “wooly” look or use stark outlines to make it “edgy”.

Preparatory mediums

Use Camel Gesso in 3 to 4 coats to prime the surface and make it suitable for acrylic painting.

If you need to create any special texture on the surface, use Camel Texture White. The ideal way to use it is in thin layers, building up the area gradually.

There’s no need to apply Camel Gesso on an already primed canvas.

The drying time depends upon the thickness of the Camel Texture White used.

Let the Gesso/Texture White dry completely before you start painting.

Painting mediums

Mix sufficient medium in the colours on the palette with a palette knife before painting as required by the shade concerned and your individual technique.

For fluid application with a glossy finish, Camel Acrylic Gloss Medium is appropriate.

For a matt finish, you can use Camel Acrylic Matt Medium.

For thicker application with a knife etc., you should blend Camel Acrylic Gel Medium with the colours before applying on the canvas.

Use Camel Acrylic Retarder to slow down the drying and facilitate the wet-in-wet blending of colours.

Water is the vehicle for Acrylic Colours but not the medium and hence we don’t advise the use of water as a medium. It may cause issues like fungus and a dry/chalky look.

However, if you are using water, make sure to use purified or boiled water to protect the painting against contamination.

Preservation mediums

It is advisable to varnish the acrylic painting for longevity.

Please ensure that the painting is fully dry before varnishing.

Use Camel Picture Varnish Spray to varnish acrylic paintings.

You can also use Camel Acrylic Gloss or Matt Mediums as varnish.

Tools

Camel Wash Brushes (Series 58) are the ideal tool for applying Gesso or a base coat of Oil Colours in broad washes.

To develop paintings, you can use Camel White Bristle Brushes in the Flat shape if the viscosity is moderate.

For thicker colours, painting knives are the ideal tools.

In the case of colours with a very thin consistency, Camel Synthetic Gold Brushes in the Flat shape could be used.

For details and line work, Camel Synthetic Gold Brushes in the Round shape would also be the right tool.

Make sure that the brushes are dipped in water to avoid residual colours from drying.

Use a brush washer to help retain the shape of the brush and clean it thoroughly.

Clean the brush completely with Camel Distilled Turpentine, then wash thoroughly with soap and water before storing.

Dry the brushes thoroughly and store them in a container with a dehumidifier and Naphthalene balls for better protection.

Accessories:

These aren’t compulsory but they do help in improving the experience and results. Accessories for acrylic painting include palettes, easels, and brush washers.

Water Colour painting is one of the first forms of painting used by humans and is still a very popular form. Every artist’s creative journey starts with water colour painting and then moves ahead to other mediums. However, this one is also the most difficult and demanding form of painting.

Surface or substrate

Paper is the most popular surface for water colour painting.

Paper with high rag content and without acid is ideal.

The texture of the paper is very important and should be selected keeping the style and application in mind.

A paper with alkali reserve would guard the painting against external acid attacks for a long time.

Drawing

This is optional as some artists prefer to start with painting from the beginning.

If you must, you can use Camel Colour Pencils for drawing.

You can use the relevant shade of the pencils for drawing so that the remaining lines, if any, won’t look odd after painting.

Painting process

Use Camel Artist Water Colours for the best results as they have superior pigments, higher pigment load and better processing.

While selecting the shades, always refer to the transparency and permanency indicated on the shade labels.

Start painting from the left bottom corner and move towards the right and top to avoid accidentally touching and disturbing the colours. For those who are left-handed, the order would be in reverse.

While mixing colours, keep their individual compositions in mind.

Preparatory mediums

There is no preparatory medium required for water colour painting.

Painting mediums

The use of purified water is recommended to maintain purity and the brilliance of the shades.

Preservation mediums

There is a need for a preservation medium for water colour paintings, just glass painting is enough.

Tools

Since the colours have a very thin consistency, Camel Synthetic Gold Brushes could be used.

Make sure that the brushes are dipped in water to avoid residual colours from drying and ruining the brush.

Clean the brush completely with Camel Distilled Turpentine and wash them with soap and water before storing them after finishing the work.

Dry the brushes thoroughly and keep them in a container with a dehumidifier and Naphthalene balls for better protection.

Accessories

These aren’t compulsory but they do help in improving the experience and results. Accessories for water colour painting include palettes and sketch easels.

Drawing is the oldest form of creative expression. It was a precursor to paintings and an independent artistic creation as well. Here, we would be discussing drawing as an individual creative discipline so that we can talk about the whole process.

Surface

Paper is the ideal surface for drawing, however, the texture would depend on the drawing material used and the style of the drawing.

For colour pencils and drawing pencils etc., smoother paper would be better.

For products like pastels and charcoal, paper with a bold texture would be ideal.

Paper needs the right ‘teeth’ to hold the drawing material along with the ability to withstand the test of time. Hence, being acid-free (alkali reserve) and high in rag contents are desirable.

Canvas is also an excellent surface for drawing. Its texture and size flexibility also adds to the appeal.

Drawing

Drawing materials can be divided into two broad segments - with some binder and without any binder. Oil Pastels and Colour Pencils etc. are the drawing materials with a binder and would retain themselves without a Fixative. Soft Pastels and Charcoals etc. are without any binder and must be fixed with a Fixative or the drawing would smudge and disintegrate and the powder might fall off. Newer products like Water Soluble Graphite Sticks can be used to draw even by applying water and be converted into a painting. Camel is happy to serve drawing enthusiasts with a handsome range of drawing materials like:

Camlin Drawing Pencils

Camlin Charcoal Pencils

Camlin Colour Pencils

Camel Compressed Charcoal Sticks

Camel Soft Pastels

Camel Oil Pastels

Camel Water Soluble Graphite Sticks

Drawing process

Start drawing from the left top corner and go towards the right bottom so that there are fewer chances of accidental damage to the drawing during the process.

Along with the drawing material chosen and tools like an eraser, the other most important thing is a clean duster and/or paper napkins to keep the surface neat and clean.

Perspiration is very bad and hence try to avoid it.

The room should be airy and well-ventilated but strong winds and gusts could easily disturb the work so try and work away from breezy locations.

Use Blending Stomps of a suitable size to spread and manipulate the drawing material.

The unfinished drawings could be and should be protected with a fixative so as to avoid accidental smudging and damage.

While drawing with colour pencils, techniques like hatching and cross-hatching could be used to create effects of mixed shades and gradation.

Preparatory mediums

There is no preparatory medium required for drawing.

Painting mediums

There is no medium required while creating a drawing.

Protection mediums

Preservation of drawing is necessary as most drawing materials do not have an added binder.

The Camel Fixative Spray is the best protective medium for drawing.

For drawing material with a binder, like Oil Pastels, a fixative is helpful as it protects the drawing from dirt, soot and friction and helps maintain neatness.

Unlike Varnish, Camel Fixative Spray could be applied to the drawing immediately after completion or even during the process.

You can draw further over the dried layer of Fixative Spray.

Never apply Camel Fixative Spray on any painting as it is not removable. This would become a problem if you try to restore the painting.

Tools

For drawing, the only tool that can be used is blending stomps or a scraping tool.

Once the points of the stomps get dirty, they could be polished with fine sandpaper and made usable again.

A kneadable eraser would also be a great help in drawing with pencils and charcoal.

Framing, Display
and Housing

Painting or drawings are either a labour of love or acquired at a hefty cost and hence are very valuable and must be handled and displayed with great care.

Framing

They should either be glass framed or protected with varnish/fixative, as the case may be, before displaying.

Care should be taken to frame the artwork properly with an acid-free mount and backup board to protect it from damage and deterioration.

Display

Select a prominent wall for display but avoid the walls which are damp, uneven, and weather-beaten. Also avoid walls that get prolonged, direct or bounced sunlight, walls that face a water body or open fields, and external walls.

Hang the painting at eye level and its center should be between 150 - 180 cm from the floor.

The painting’s back should not be flat against the wall but a little tilted at an angle of 15° to 30° depending upon the height.

Illuminate the painting properly so it can be admired. The light should be covering the entire frame evenly and no harsh light should fall on the viewer’s face.

Housing

The painting should be cleaned with a dry duster periodically from all sides to remove soot and dust.

In the case of a glass frame, the glass could be cleaned with glass cleaners. No liquid, neither water nor any other chemical should touch the painted/drawn surface, even if it is protected with varnish or fixative.

In the case of a stretched canvas, the gap between the canvas and the wooden frame should be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner to remove the dirt and dust.

The stretched canvas should also be re-stretched or tightened when the canvas expands and loosened when it shrinks or shrivels.

If the room where the painting is displayed is not getting any sunlight during the day, it would be good to face the painting towards the sun from both sides periodically.

The room can become exciting and look fresher if the displayed paintings are rotated periodically.

Paintings and drawings that are not being displayed should be stored in a safe manner so that they don’t deteriorate.If the paintings or drawings are unframed, they can be packed in a compact manner and could be preserved better. Here’s how:

For the sake of protection, a smooth sheet of butter paper should be placed in between two paintings or drawings.

Wrap them in brown paper or old newspaper loosely so that air can circulate freely.

Put the bundle in a polybag with moisture-absorbing crystals and seal it to prevent any moisture from entering.

Add a few moth balls in a pack to protect the work from insects.

The canvases could be rolled with butter paper on the painted surface, put in a polybag, and packed in a plastic or paper tube along with the moisture-absorbing crystals and mothballs.

Keep the pack in a cool and dark place, away from sunlight and dampness.

Ensure that the pack is not touching the floor by keeping it propped up on wooden planks.

Make sure that there is no moisture or dampness near the container.

Dust it regularly from the outside and check the surroundings for any dampness and insects. Check the inside of the container as well.

For framed paintings or drawings and stretched canvases:

Clean the painting/drawing thoroughly with a duster and/or a vacuum cleaner.

Ensure that these are absolutely dry and there is no moisture present.

Wrap individual frames/stretchers in brown paper or newspaper.

Make a bundle with a couple of canvases/frames of similar sizes and wrap them in a polybag with dehumidifier crystals.

Keep the bundle propped up on a wooden/plastic storage palette or wooden pegs so as to keep it above ground level. This will prevent any accidental damage by flowing water or dampness.

Don’t prop these against a damp wall or one which is external and might get wet during the rains.

Expose the work to the sun for a short time after reopening the bundle.

Usually, people scoff at the idea of glass framing an oil painting, thinking that since the paint film is hard and waterproof, there’s no need to frame it behind glass. The size of oil paintings is also an issue and hence it is considered just enough to varnish them.

However, technically speaking, glass framing is good for oil paintings as well after it is completely dried. It protects the painting better from pollutants, elements, and friction while also cutting harmful ultraviolet radiation. The only caution is that the glass should not touch the paint film, the mount, and the backup board. If used, it should be acid-free and archival quality and the frame should allow “breathing” of the painting. Glass framing enhances the beauty and life of the oil painting which is why it is advisable.

India is full of art but is sadly also full of adverse conditions for maintaining it. Being a peninsula, we have an extensive coastline with high humidity. Our inland borders are high-altitude zones with colder climates and lush vegetation. These conditions are conducive for fungus, which grows very easily but isn’t removed as effortlessly. Cleaning fungus-infected work is no do-it-yourself project. It’s a specialized task that needs to be performed by a qualified restorer. Hence, our emphasis should be on avoiding fungus.

Some precautionary measures that we recommend for this are:

If possible, avoid working in the monsoon.

Try drawing and experimenting with Pastels, Pencils or Charcoals.

If you must, use Camel Artist Acrylic Colours or Camel Artist Water Colours.

Try using mediums that help colours dry faster.

Avoid using tap water, and use purified or boiled water while painting.

Don’t stack or hang paintings on exterior walls or walls with dampness.

Hang paintings in a tilted manner. This will ensure there’s constant air circulation even behind them.

Stay clear of a mess and keep your studio premises clean and tidy.

Periodically, or whenever possible, expose the paintings to the sun.

Don’t hang or store paintings close to vegetation.

Don’t touch the canvases and papers while eating.

Use dehumidifier crystals to manage humidity.

If the fungus has already infected the paintings, it’s best to contact a qualified restorer.

Surface for Painting

A properly primed or coated canvas is the most suitable surface for oil painting since it prevents the oil in the colour from seeping into the fabric. This ensures an excellent finish, look, and life. However, an economic alternative is Oil Sketching Paper, which is a primed or coated drawing paper used only by entry-level students.

Oil Colours are unique in their formulation. The slow-drying oils like Linseed Oil perform the role of both the vehicle and binder. An uncoated surface would absorb the oil and cause the colours to dry and weaken. Hence, to avoid such issues, oil colours are used only on coated surfaces, be it paper, cloth or wood.

Canvas is the most preferred and widely-used substrate for oil, acrylic and even mixed media works. A painting canvas is made of three important components: Support, Ground and Priming.

Let’s review the quality parameters that we should expect from each of the individual components to make a good canvas:

Support: The frame or structure

Strong and non-warping

Long-lasting and adaptable to changes in the weather

Convenient to paint, house, display and transport

Properly constructed

Ground: The fabric

Made of virgin material

Starch or acid-free

Free from weaving defects, knots and lint

Strong, tightly woven and stretchable

Having even and uniform texture

Priming: The coating

Flexible, non-porous, non-flaky, long-lasting, free from pinholes, non-absorbent but with tooth to hold colours and maintain the desired texture

Kokuyo Camlin has been making artist canvases for over four decades now and its current range includes the following products:

Camel Canvas Rolls: Made by coating the highest quality acid-free, lint and knot-free canvas fabric with flexible and non-cracking/non-flaking priming material to avoid deterioration. They are available in Medium Grain and Fine Grain options of 5-meter rolls with 16 width options.

Camel Canvas Pads: These high-quality canvases are presented in a pad format that is easy to carry and use. Available in 3 sizes between 20 cm and 40 cm.

Camel Stretched Canvases: Manufactured by mounting the Camel coated canvas on the frame made of beveled/slotted strips of seasoned wood making this non-warping, non-sagging surface. They are available in a wide range of 22 sizes.

Camel Canvas Boards: Made with superior Camel cotton canvas by pasting it on quality masonite board, the Camel Canvas Boards offer a non-sagging sturdy and firm surface for painting. Available in 26 popular rectangular and square sizes.

Camel Art Boards: The latest addition to art surfaces as an economic substitute for canvas boards, these are available in multiple sizes of 6 different shapes - rectangle, circle, triangle, oval, star, and heart.

Camel Oil Sketching Papers: These primed papers are an economic surface for oil and acrylic painting. Available in individual sheets of 50 cm x 70 cm.

Canvases were initially designed for oil paintings but they can be used for several other mediums like acrylic and mixed media painting, although these can be executed on a wide variety of surfaces. Apart from these, the canvas is a good surface for Charcoal, Water Soluble Graphite, Oil Pastels, Soft Pastels etc. Even Colour Pencils can be used on a canvas for stunning results.

One of the benefits of using a stretched canvas is that the artist has a solution when transporting a big canvas. They can simply remove the staple, disassemble the frame, pack the two separately, ship it, reassemble the frame and re-stretch the painting on it once it arrives at the destination. This is only possible if the canvas is back-stapled.

On the other hand, if the canvas is side-stapled, there is no margin to hold the canvas for stretching. Hence, it makes more sense to use a slightly more expensive Camel Stretched Canvas rather than the cheaper side-stapled one.

To answer this question, we need to understand what goes into the making of a stretched canvas. A combination of three major components(fabric, priming and structure) makes the canvas. All three aspects can impact the art and the artist.

Here is how the two compare and the benefit of using a Camel Stretched Canvas:


 
Unbranded Framed Canvas
Camel Stretched Canvas
Benefits of Camel Stretched Canvas

GROUND

Cheap, thin, recycled fabric, no standardization, full of defects, loose weave

Strong fabric with a denser weave made of virgin cotton, starch and acid-free, without impurities or knots

Better fabric allows smooth application of colours with the desired texture and look. It also ensures the longevity of the artwork.

Priming

Frame priming with hand/brush, doubtful and unstable priming material, flaky and porous, insufficient and uneven coating

Continuous multi-coat roll priming with a machine, non-flakey and non-porous, smooth, adequate and uniform acrylic gesso priming

Better priming will result in smooth application of colours, brilliant and lustrous feel, no seepage and peeling of the paint film. Apart from this, it makes sure the painting is more vibrant and long-lasting.

Wood

Cheap, recycled wood, manually-shaped, thin, weak strips, un-bevelled flat strip

Strong, seasoned wood, machine-shaped, proper thickness, beveled inner surface

This ensures a strong structure which facilitates better execution and display of the painting as it retains the shape forever. The painting will not sag or warp.

Fabrication

Fixed joints, loose stretching, side-stapled/nailed, improper packing

Wedge joints, back-stapled, expandable with strips, properly stretched, shrink-wrapped

This ensures a well-stretched canvas that retains its shape over time. It facilitates periodic adjustments and re-stretching of the painting.

You can use either of the two. It all depends on the way you want to display them. If you have a cluster frame or structure in mind, Camel Canvas Board would be a better choice as it is easier to frame thin boards. If you wish to exhibit them framed individually in a random arrangement, Camel Stretched Canvas would be better. Both options would do justice to your visual imagination and add glamour in their own unique manner.

These chips are an integral part of the pack of Camel Stretched Canvas.

The canvas can expand after absorbing moisture from the atmosphere and colours. When this happens, the canvas tends to become loose on the frame. It looks untidy and it is also difficult to paint on such a canvas. If not attended to, the canvas can sag at the bottom where dirt, lint etc. will get accumulated. This will further absorb moisture and become a fertile ground for spreading fungus and dampness, which would add to the deterioration of the painting and lead to serious damage.

In order to prevent this, we’ve fashioned our stretcher in a way that the canvas frame could be further expanded to accommodate the expansion of the canvas. You need to insert 2 chips in each corner of the canvas frame in a manner that the indented side is facing outward from the frame and lightly tap with a light plastic or wooden hammer. This would expand the frame and adjust the canvas, removing any chance of further deterioration.

Have you ever checked a Camel Stretched Canvas painting with another stretched canvas side-by-side? If you do, you’ll see that the painting on the Camel canvas looks uniform throughout, whereas the painting on the other canvas stands out more prominently on the wooden strips and is a little undertoned in other areas. This is due to the tapered frame strips on the Camel Stretched Canvas. Since they do not touch the frame, the full canvas gets painted uniformly. On the contrary, the plain flat strips used to make the frames on ordinary stretched canvases touch the canvas and hence change the look of the painting in the areas where it touches the frame as compared to the rest. In addition to weakening the overall look of the painting, such frames stick to the canvas and might damage your painting.

This occurs with a slippery canvas, which is quite common and there is nothing to worry about. When the canvas is primed with an acrylic material and heated at a high temperature to dry, the surface acquires a shiny and slippery texture. Due to this, the colours, especially thin washes of acrylic colours, do not seem to adhere properly to the canvas. Also, when you get the canvas stretched locally, the handlers leave stains of oily hands on the canvas, which are invisible but might create an issue with the adhesion of colours. This is a common issue with canvas but the remedy is very simple. To ensure better adhesion, gently rub the canvas with the finest sandpaper and remove the dust. This will open up the ‘teeth’ and make the canvas more receptive to colours. Don’t overdo this as it might damage the surface of the canvas.

This query addresses two key questions - ‘Should Texture White be used for priming?’ and ‘Can it improve the cheap canvas?’. Given that Texture White was mainly designed to create relief texture on canvas prior to painting, Camel Gesso would be better to prime a canvas. Cheap canvases come coated with some material, which might crack, flake and peel off within a very short time. By applying one more coat of Texture White or Gesso, you may assume that you will no longer have any trouble with the canvas but this isn’t the case. Since the material is already coated, it would behave the same way and the additional layer might not be able to improve it. It may not crack itself but will not be able to help the undercoat from cracking. Hence, the right thing is to use a good canvas from the beginning, Either buy a Camel Canvas or buy a good quality starch-free raw canvas and then prime it with Camel Gesso.

It means that the canvas has been treated with a fungus retardant chemical, providing protection to the canvas from fungus. However, none of this can ensure 100% protection from fungus and hence the canvas can be called ‘fungus retardant’ at best, but can never be ‘fungus free’. It is only an added protection against fungus and not an absolute guarantee. You must still take necessary precautions against the various factors causing fungus.

Since there are different types of artists and different types of art, there are different types of canvases available. Both the canvases are woven with a cotton thread of the same thickness on the same kind of looms. However, the difference is in the surface texture. As the names suggest, fine grain is finer in texture and favoured mainly by portrait painters and those who want to paint realistic images whereas medium grain is good for a vast range of painting styles, be it landscape, abstract or composition. Apart from individual preference, there isn’t a lot of difference between the two.

As the name suggests, the cloth used to make the canvas can make all the difference. A canvas woven with 100% cotton cloth makes a Cotton Canvas and a canvas woven with one thread of polyester makes a Poly Cotton Canvas. Both are good in their own ways, the difference is again in individual choices. The use of poly cotton results in a more flexible canvas and provides better fungal protection. Cotton on the other hand has a better overall life. Choose whichever you prefer.

In the case of a canvas, an ounce refers to the thickness of the canvas in “xx ounces per square foot”. It is similar to the modern measure of thickness used for paper, called grams per square meter (GSM), which is the weight of a standard measure of paper or canvas. Though this denotes the thickness of canvas, it does not have any bearing on the ‘quality’. It is a fallacy that a thicker canvas performs better than a thinner one. It may even be the other way around in some cases. Artists are concerned that the canvas should not tear on applying normal pressure, beyond that thickness is not a desired feature. It may even make the canvas unnecessarily stiff, robbing it of suppleness and flexibility.

Water colour is a very beautiful and delicate medium of art and has a following of its own. The ideal surface for water colour painting is paper, preferably with high rag/cotton content for strength, optimum sizing, better-controlled absorption, and desired texture. Ideally, the paper should be acid-free to avoid yellowing and subsequent damage to the paper along with the deterioration of colours. In India, students and beginners use handmade paper which is good but, being brush-sized, the sizing is uneven and only on the surface. On the other hand, serious artists use paper made by legendary paper manufacturers like Canson, Fabriano etc. Apart from being acid-free, the best water colour papers also boast of an alkali reserve (PH level 6.5) which will fend for itself against atmospheric acid damages for a long time. These papers are tub sized for better results.

It is a common issue with handmade paper since it is brush sized by hand. This manual process creates chances of uneven sizing resulting in uneven behaviour of the same sheet of paper. Wherever there are gaps in sizing, the colours would blot or get absorbed fully, leaving very poor and barely noticeable colours. However, wherever there is an extra deposit of sizing material, the colours would slip and would not find tooth to hold on to. Since this is the result of the process and human factor involved, there is no way to avoid it 100% unless the process of sizing is changed by the manufacturers. The imported papers are sized with ‘engine’ or ‘tub’ sizing and don’t have such issues.

Handmade papers are brush-sized and hence the sizing is deposited on the surface. With actions like erasing, the paper gets damaged and the spots start to absorb colours. It is normal, considering the process. Imported papers are tub or engine sized and hence sizing gets penetrated deep within the paper. Hence, there should be no issue with such paper as it will retain similar characteristics even after it is scraped, cut and sliced.

We think your father had used a sketch book made with acidic paper which caused the deterioration in quality. Such paper has some amounts of chlorine present in it, which starts to yellow after reacting with moisture. It turns brownish and becomes brittle with time. Some shades also react negatively with acids, making the painting look worse. Such damage is gradual but permanent. The only remedy is de-acidification, which is a difficult and expensive process of restoration. The best way to avoid such issues is to use acid-free paper. If possible, use one with alkali reserve for better results.

Paper is made from old rags or botanical waste like husk, wood, etc. This makes the pulp a dirty grey/brown colour and the paper would be the same if the pulp is not bleached. The most common bleaching agent for cleaning/brightening pulp is chlorine which gets deposited in paper and remains there even after drying. It then reacts with the moisture in the atmosphere and creates hydrochloric acid, which attacks the paper and painting from the inside. Due to this acid attack, the paper turns pale cream, yellow and brownish with time. It also makes it brittle. As a result, the painting also changes hues and becomes susceptible to disintegration with time.

Some shades are very sensitive to acids and tend to fade and get damaged faster than others. This is called internal acid damage and could be easily avoided by using acid-free paper with a PH level of 7.

Vehicular and industrial pollution also lead to an increase in the toxic gas sulphur dioxide which turns into sulphuric acid and attacks paper and paints from the outside. This is called external acid damage and could be avoided by using paper with alkali reserve having a PH level of 6.2.

In case of normal paper, there is a possibility of de-acidification before or after the deterioration sets in but it is a tedious and costly process.

Drawing Materials

All the variants of charcoal are interesting mediums. Let’s study them closely for better understanding. Some of the variants of charcoal are made synthetically and the other is natural (made from grapevine).

Since charcoal pencils can be sharpened, they can be used for fine line work but the compressed and natural version would be limited to broad strokes and masking works. Natural charcoal, being absolutely without any binder, can also be used for pre-painting drawing on canvas whereas the compressed and pencil version would be more suitable for independent drawings. Regardless of the variants, a fixative is a must for preserving a charcoal drawing.

Charcoal pencils are made from synthetic charcoal and thus result in a blackness that is denser. Meanwhile, the core or lead of drawing pencils is made from a combination of graphite and clay which gives it a more greyish tone. Moreover, the combination of graphite and clay in drawing pencils gives it a greater range of firmness and shade variations. On the other hand, charcoal pencils are limited to 3 options (Soft, Neutral and Hard).

These are the degrees of drawing pencils which denote the hardness and blackness quotient of the lead inside. The clay brings Hardness ‘H’ and graphite brings Blackness ‘B’. More graphite and less clay will result in softer and blacker lead and will move upward on the ‘B’ scale. 10B is the softest but the darkest black pencil in our range. On the other hand, more clay and less graphite would make the lead hard but less black. The count would move upwards on the ‘H’ scale.

Generally speaking, B grades are more preferred by artists for sketching and drawing whereas the H grades are preferred in technical drawings like civil, mechanical etc. where the width of the line is important and makes a difference.

Hard pencils leave marks on the canvas, which are visible even after multiple coats of paint. The soft pencils get mixed with the paint and tarnish it. You can solve both these problems with the use of Camel Charcoal Sticks. Drawings made with Camel Charcoal would flake off the canvas in the process of painting, it would neither be visible underpainting nor would it mix with and tarnish the colours.

Both are pigment-based, opaque drawing mediums with a highly soft consistency that result in smooth painting-like effects. Oil pastels are made by mixing pigments with waxes and non-drying oils as binders whereas soft pastels either have very little binder or none at all, which is not enough to hold it on paper after application. Hence oil pastels adhere to any surface and its layers hold themselves on their own, while soft pastels can’t stick to any surface and the powdery discharge can’t hold itself without the support of a fixative. Therefore, fixative is a must for soft pastels but is completely optional for oil pastels.

There’s very little difference between the two. Soft Pastels are smooth pastels without any internal binder. Dry pastels are a similar product but are harder compared to the soft texture of Soft Pastels. Globally, soft pastels are used for works similar to paintings while crayons are used for line work and sketches. Some manufacturers introduced an in-between product and claimed it could be used for both line work and painting; they called it Dry Pastels. It is worth mentioning that they were supposed to perform both tasks but, being in-between, it can’t do either of them perfectly.

Colours

Pigments are the main ingredient used for manufacturing colours for art. Apart from pigments, other ingredients like vehicle, binder, plasticizer and preservatives are also used while making the colours to ensure the required flow, adhesion, binding and shelf life (preserving it from fungus, etc.).

Pigments are coloured particles which are opaque and have good light fastness but don’t dissolve well in mediums and have low colouring power. Pigments come from various sources like minerals, earth, vegetables, chemicals, etc.

Though pigments don’t dissolve in any medium and have low transparency and tinctorial value in comparison with dyes, they have very high permanency and hence are preferred over dyes, at least for art colours.

They aren’t but they have a very limited role in artists’ materials. Transparent Photo Colours, Solvent and Water based Glass Colours, and Coloured Drawing Inks (except White and Black shades) are made with dyes. Also, some shades for which there are no pigments available in nature or chemistry, are made by absorbing the dyes in transparent white pigments.

These marks/signs are ways to convey very important information about the product. The A, B or C denotes the Permanency of the colours and series numbers point at the cost bracket of the pigments used. ‘A’ means absolutely permanent, ‘B’ means permanent and ‘C’ means fairly permanent.

The information about the permanency of a particular shade is very important for a user. However, the series numbers are just related to prices and hence have no practical application, apart from the time of purchase. This information helps artists purchase and apply shades that are suitable for the purpose. If they are not as per the artist’s need, they can be managed by either adding a specific medium or by using them in a particular manner.

To understand permanency we will first have to understand the tones and the way in which colours are used by the artist.

Mass Tone: Colours used directly from the jar or tube without mixing anything.

Glaze Tone: Colours mixed with medium or linseed oil.

Wash Tone: Colours mixed with water or turpentine.

Reduced Tone: Colours mixed with a white shade.

Now, let’s understand permanency from this perspective:


Legend
Meaning
Details

A

Absolutely Permanent

The shades would be permanent in any tone. However, a slight fading might be noticed in reduced tone.

B

Permanent

Permanent in mass tone, glaze tone and wash tone but fades in reduced tone.

C

Fairly Permanent

Permanent in mass tone only while gradual fading can be observed in all other tones.

The whole idea of marking permanency rating on the pack is to inform the users about the nature of the pigment used so that they can take caution while using it and get the best out of it. It is possible to get a decent life even from shades with a lower permanency rating.

Once you know that the shade you must use is a shade with ‘C’ permanency rating, which is permanent in mass tone but fades in all other tones, you can get better permanency by:

Using the particular shade in mass tone (without dilution).

Using a thin wash of transparent white on top instead of adding white to get a lighter shade.

Using linseed oil/medium for thinning instead of water/turpentine.

In this way, you can get the best out of the shades with a low permanency rating.

It is important to understand here that the life of a painting, though mainly dependent upon the shade, also depends on many other factors.

Surface/substrate used - acidic deterioration, absorption in canvas, flaking, peeling, etc.

Interaction of various pigments used - mixed or layered, etc.

Vehicle and mediums used while painting

Framing/mounting of the artwork - mount, back-up board, etc.

Action of light - direct, indirect and bounced

Action of moisture which causes humidity

Action of temperature - fluctuations rather than the harshness of it is harmful

Actions of pollutants like sulphur-dioxide, etc.

Accidents, mishandling, human negligence, and bad storage

As a serious manufacturer of art material, we prefer to keep our valuable patrons aware of all information vital to the products they purchase. For artists’ colours, apart from permanency, the most important factor is the transparency of the shade. We use these boxes to convey the transparency of the shade to our users.

Blank: Transparent
Half-filled: Semi-transparent
Filled: Opaque

These icons help you understand the transparency of the shades regardless of your understanding of any language. This will empower you to buy and use shades with greater understanding and confidence.

Different shades are made from pigments of different sources and hence have different properties. Apart from permanency and transparency, the main properties of shades are vehicle absorption, film elasticity, and drying speed. The difference in consistency of the shades in tubes/jars is due to the different levels of vehicle absorption among shades.

The shades with higher vehicle absorption would ‘swell’ and become tighter whereas the ones with lower vehicle absorption would ‘shrink’ and become thin and runny. In low vehicle absorbing shades, one may find chunks of the coagulated medium on the mouth or crimp of the tubes. There is no need to worry as it doesn’t impact the quality of the colours in any manner.

Care and Caution:

Saturate the high vehicle absorbing shades by adding sufficient medium while painting.

While using low vehicle absorbing shades, don’t add liquid medium like purified linseed oil as it will make the colours thinner, transparent and runny.

Instead, add thick mediums like Camligel which will add body and strength to the colours.

Using low vehicle absorbing shades on high vehicle absorbing shades might cause the shade on top to become dry and crack.

Due to the reason of toxicity or the prohibitive cost of the pigments, some classic pigments have to be replaced with some reasonable alternative, like in Vermilion Hue or Cobalt Blue Hue. The genuine Vermilion pigment is highly toxic whereas Ultramarine Blue’s original pigment is a semi-precious stone called Lapis Lazuli which costs more than gold, weight by weight. Hence, genuine pigments are replaced with alternative pigments giving a similar visual impact. However, for the sake of maintaining transparency and clarity in communication, we denote such shades by adding ‘Hue’ to the name.

The process of creating pigments from dyes is called ‘laking’ and the shades made from such pigments are identified as ‘lakes’. It is interesting to note that, even after such advancement in technology, there are no pigments available for some shades. Hence, dyes are absorbed in transparent white pigments and such pigments are used to make colours. These shades generally have lesser light fastness and hiding power and hence the suffix ‘Lake’ is used to inform the users about the same. Please use with caution as some ‘Lake’ shades also tend to bleed.

In the art material industry, colours are basically divided in two categories - Artist or Extra Fine quality and Student/Studio or Fine quality. The difference between the both is as follows:


Parameter
Artist/Extra Fine Quality
Student/Studio/Fine Quality

Pigment quality

Original classical pigments are used

Low-cost substitute pigments are used

Pigment concentration

Higher ratio of pigments are used

Normal pigmentation with higher ratio of extenders

Identification

Different series with difference in the price of certain shades

All shades in a single price band (some brands charge more for shades that are metallic, fluorescent, etc.)


The benefits of using Artist Colours over using Student Colours are:

Greater coverage due to greater pigmentation

Superior finish and beauty due to superior pigments and processing

Greater post-painting life (permanency) due to superior pigments

Fat over Lean is a classic principle to create a sound oil painting. It simply means that each subsequent coat of paint should have more oil in comparison to the earlier one. According to this principle, the artist should use colours with very little or no oil in the first coat and keep adding more and more oil to the subsequent coats. This will also ensure a better finish and longer life of the painting. The point to note is that Turpentine plays no role in this formula.

Linseed oil, or any oil for that matter, dries due to polymerization. This is unlike water which dries due to evaporation. The process of polymerization requires oxygen drawn from the air. Hence the lower (lean) layer of paint with less oil will dry faster than the (fatty) upper layer with more oil. This will not only give a better finish to the painting but would also ensure better life. If this principle is violated, the lower layer would dry after the upper one and cause cracks in it. However, since water dries by evaporation, no such precaution is needed while painting with acrylic colours on canvas.

Acrylic is a multipurpose medium and can be used on any surface including coated and uncoated canvas, paper, board, ply, wood, stone, metal and practically everything including human skin. However Camel Canvases, in any of its avatars, would be the best surface for Camel Artist Acrylic Colours.

Acrylic colours are fast drying and water soluble colours which become waterproof and permanent on drying.

Acrylic colours can mimic the visual effects of water colours, oil colours and poster colours apart from the unique acrylic style.

Using acrylic colours along with or after oil colours would not be possible since water-based colours can’t merge with or work on top of oil colours. However, it is possible to use oil colours on top of the acrylic colours. In fact, it gives artists a unique advantage - the under layers of acrylic of the painting get developed rapidly and the top layer with oil colours gives it all the glamour of oil painting.

Acrylic is water soluble but water is of course not the medium for it. There are various mediums for acrylic painting in the Camel range like Camel Acrylic Gloss Medium (imparts oil-like gloss), Camel Acrylic Matt Medium (imparts smooth yet sober matt finish), Camel Acrylic Gel Medium (for thicker application with painting knife) and last but not the least, Camel Acrylic Retarder (reduces the drying speed for more time to work).

It is good to varnish acrylic paintings. Like in oil paintings, these should also be varnished once the painting is completely dried and there is no moisture in the colours. For this purpose, you can either use the Camel Picture Varnish Spray or even Camel Acrylic Gloss or Matt Mediums.

Since acrylic colours were invented in 1955, it has a history going back to just 60 years. However, the chemists have vouched after extensive research that Artist Acrylic Colours also have quite good permanency as both the light fastness and weather fastness are very good.

Fungus in acrylic colours is a real issue and is very difficult to drive out after it appears in a colour jar or on the painting. If it is limited to the jar, you can remove the colour affected with fungus and use the remaining colours without any reservation. However, it is important to know why it appears in the first place.

Though we have acrylic colours in tubes (40 ml and 120 ml) and jars (500 ml), the fungal problem is noticed in jars only and never in tubes. On studying the issue in our lab we’ve learnt that fungal infection takes place due to the use of untreated water from unreliable sources and unhygienic studio practices.

To avoid fungal problems, you must always use purified or boiled water from reliable sources and scoop the colours from the jars with a clean spatula or spoon in a palette or dish. Don’t add anything to your Acrylic Colour jars, keep them tightly capped, and store them in a cool and dry place. Also try to keep your studio, tools, and accessories clean. It will also help to keep food and greenery away from the studio.

Yes, Fabrica Acrylic Colours are chemically close to Camel Artist Acrylic Colours, as far as the binder is concerned but there is a huge difference too. Fabrica Colours are acrylic colours designed for fabric painting and are closer to student quality colours.

Apart from the normal differences, you’ll find between artist quality and student quality colours, these are made for fabrics and hence their shades are more suitable and attuned to fashion rather than art. Therefore, it is always better to use Camel Artist Acrylic Colours to create a piece of art and Camel Fabrica Colours should be used to add glamour to your garments and furnishing.

However, if you wish to and are planning to paint something that doesn’t require longevity and the shade intensity is not on your priority list, you might as well use Fabrica. It can be used on canvas too along with a host of other substrates but it will not be as lightfast and pigment-rich as Camel Artist Acrylic Colours. At best, Fabrica would give you results comparable to the student quality colours. Hence, please make an informed decision.

We have a long tradition of using metallic colours in paintings, be it Mughal miniatures or royal commissions. Tarnishing of metallic shades was a big issue in the past as these were made with metallic powders but not anymore.

These shades are made with special synthetic pigments which look and shine like metal but don’t have any metallic ingredients whatsoever. As a result, these new metallic shades keep shining and remain fresh for a long time, unlike any other shade. There’s no need to take special precautions or use special varnish etc. to maintain the looks and longevity. Simply use the metallic and iridescent shades of Camel Artist Oil and Acrylic Colours for a special glow in your painting.

There is no doubt that oil colours are time tested and hence their durability cannot be disputed. Since acrylic colours have been around for not more than 60-70 years, they cannot be compared to oil colours but it is possible to simulate the effect of exposure to sunlight, humidity and ultraviolet radiation in a laboratory. This test, called the Florida Test, replicates the impact of long-term exposure and makes it possible to predict the long-term impact of exposure to the elements in a short time. The long life of Camel Artist Acrylic Colours is a claim that is based on the reliable results of this test.

Camel Art Powders are poster colours in their dry form and can be used in almost all applications where poster colours are used. However, since they are ultimately processed by the user, the finish is not as smooth as Poster Colours.

Posters, banners, child art, rangoli or Kollam including large format artworks are some of the applications for this product. Currently, this product is mostly used in schools to allow students to play with fluid colours at a lower cost. They are a combination of pigments, binders and other ingredients with the exception of the vehicle and therefore the vehicle which is water needs to be added separately to make the colour usable. The process is simple but needs to be followed properly.

Empty the required amount of powder from the jar into a dish or bowl.

Add a few drops of water and mix. Keep adding water gradually until it acquires the consistency of paste.

Add an almost equal volume of water and let the colour ‘wet’ till it ‘swells’ by absorbing water.

Mix well with a brush and smoothen the paste.

Add the required amount of water and start painting.

Camel Coloured Drawing Ink is a wonderful and vibrant medium. Designed to colour maps and charts, these dye based (except black and white shades which are pigment based) transparent colours have a fluid consistency, are absolutely transparent (except black and white) and are waterproof due to added resins. They are used extensively for cartography, marbling and painting on paper. Good for masking and application with a brush, this medium is very popular with designers as well. Used on glossy paper, Camel Coloured Drawing Inks produce unique 3-dimensional effects.

Formulated with carbon for absolute blackness, opacity and density of line, Camel Fount Drawing Ink No. 100 has been specially formulated for use in a fountain pen. This jet black and waterproof ink can be used in a broad-tip fountain pen and is ideal for architects, designers, calligraphers, and anyone who loves solid jet black writing. Anything which needs reproduction should be and could be executed with Camel Fount Drawing Ink.

Caution: Always clean the nib assembly with running water before refilling it every time.

Originally designed to colour black and white photographs, transparencies, and cinema slides, Camel Transparent Photo Colours are used as transparent water colours on paper, where brilliance and density are valued more than light fastness. It is now majorly used by commercial artists and design students.

Camel Special Drawing Ink No. 99 is a very popular name among draftsmen and textile designers. Made from high-quality carbon and resins, this dense black ink is excellent for line work. Camel Ink No. 99 can be used with a crow quill, nib, bow pen etc. It has very good opacity, permanency, rub resistance and adhesion. It also doesn’t reflect light and is waterproof too.

Please note that, although it is a dye-based product, some shades of Camel Coloured Drawing Inks are made with pigments. Pigments by nature don’t dissolve in any medium and have to be mixed. They start to settle quickly once left idle. Shaking the bottle is only effective if it has been still for a short while but, if it has been lying still for long, the pigments won’t be dislodged from the bottom by mere shaking and would need a greater stimulus. Stirring the ink with a brush or handle might do the trick and the ink would soon be ready to use.

Both water colours and poster colours are made from pigments and hence should have good opacity. The transparency required for water colours is acquired by adding special transparent extenders in the water colour formulation. In this way, we can achieve good permanency and transparency in water colours. Most people find it difficult to notice the difference as they are similar in both look and application. If water colours are used a little thicker, they would look like poster colours and if poster colours are used very thin, decent transparency could be achieved.

The yellow honey-like substance on the top of poster colour bottles is the medium i.e. a mixture of vehicle (water) and binder (gum). Poster colours are pigment based and tend to sediment when the bottle is left undisturbed. When this happens, the medium surfaces. This is a natural physical action and there is nothing unusual about it.

Since the liquid contains the vehicle and binder, which are very important for the desired performance of Poster Colours, we would advise you to mix it thoroughly in the colours before use. It may surface again but don’t bother with it and simply mix well before using. It will enhance the smoothness and adhesion of colours and improve its performance. Though many people may suggest it, don’t ever discard it.

Both Camel Transparent Photo Colours and Camel Coloured Drawing Inks are primarily fluid, transparent, and dye-based colours (except the Black and White shades of Coloured Drawing Ink). However, the resin used in the ink differentiates the two. Coloured Drawing Ink is waterproof and designed to colour maps and charts whereas Transparent Photo Colours were formulated to colour Black and White photographs, transparencies, and slides. Presently, both are extensively used by designers for various paper-based applications since the resin in the ink doesn’t flow freely. It is also used for marbling on papers.

Face or body painting is exciting but it isn’t very popular in India as a hobby, except during events and cricket matches. Hence, neither Kokuyo Camlin nor any other manufacturer has introduced specialized colours for face or body painting, though some imported products are available. However, within our range, many products like Poster Colours, Fabrica Colours, and Artist Acrylic Colours could be used for body/face painting. Poster Colours are matte, bright, easy to use and easy to wash off. They do crack with skin movement and contraction. All other colours are flexible and glossy and also last longer since they’re acrylic based but they do need more effort in removal though they are not permanent on human skin. You can use any of these depending upon the need.

Both Water Based and Solvent Based Glass Colours are very beautiful and exciting but the different bases used in them gives them different properties and therefore makes them suitable for separate audiences.

Camel Solvent Based Glass Colours dry faster and the film formed on the surface is very tough, glossy, and thin. It has a high rub resistance and is waterproof and permanent on the surface once dried. The solvent used in manufacturing them is volatile and evaporates at room temperature and hence may cause irritation of the eyes, nose, mouth and throat during the application and might also be nauseating. It is not advisable for minors and hence recommended for professional or adult hobbyists who can take proper precautions while using them.

Camel Water Based Glass Colours, on the contrary, dry slowly. In addition, the film is thick, matte, and not very tough. It also absorbs water even after drying and comes off the surface if immersed in water for a long time. The big advantage is that it is absolutely safe in all respects and hence ideal for children and beginners. Both have their own target audience clearly demarcated.

People generally select new fabrics or garments to paint on. These come with starch or any other type of chemical sizing coating each fibre with a shiny slippery film that gives the cloth body as well as surface and shine. If the cloth is painted without removing the sizing, the paint might dry on the film of sizing and may wash off after the first wash itself taking all your labour down the drain, literally. Similarly while painting on old garments, it is necessary to remove all dirt and grime before painting for better fixation.

Hence, we recommend a thorough wash to the cloth before painting. Not as a mere ritual but with an intention to remove the sizing. A soak in hot water with mild detergent followed by light rubbing is best. It is important to check and make sure that the cloth is free of all kinds of sizing and is absolutely supple and soft. Iron it to remove wrinkles and any non-water soluble chemical sizing before painting. This process will facilitate proper adhesion of Fabrica Acrylic Colours on the garments and furnishing, giving them a long and beautiful life.

Fabrica Acrylic Colours are used for painting on cloth. They are acrylic colours which by nature are water soluble till wet but turn waterproof once fully dried. Though the colours seem to be dried soon after, the complete drying of acrylic may take 24 to 72 hours depending upon the quality of cloth, thickness of application and of course the weather.

There might be some colour deep within the weave of the fabric which might still have some moisture trapped after the colour on the surface dries. This surface colour forms a plastic film, hindering the flow of air which dries the colours. Hence, by ironing with a hot iron, we can ensure that the last molecule of the moisture has dried out of the fabric and the colours are absolutely fixed. This will ensure the longevity of the garment or furnishing you’ve lovingly painted.

Fabrica would work very well on terracotta and look great as well. However, you need to take certain precautions while doing so.

First, select the plate or any other terracotta article you wish to paint and smoothen it with very fine sandpaper. The second step is to further finish the surface and control its absorption power by applying a primer. If you want to mask the natural look and paint the whole thing in the colour of your choice, you should use a couple of coats of Camel Gesso. In case you want to retain the natural beauty of terracotta and wish to enhance it with painting, you should use Camel Fabrica Medium No. 1. Though the medium looks milky white, on drying it will become absolutely transparent and enhance the natural beauty of earthenware while also controlling the absorption of colours.

You can start painting in the medium and shades of your choice and even use embellishments if you find them suitable for work. Let it dry completely and it is ready to flaunt. If needed, you can use a hair dryer or room heater to accelerate drying. Give protection, shine, and life to the masterpiece with a coat of Camel Picture Varnish Spray or Camel Fixative Spray, although you can also use the same Medium No. 1 with a brush for the same too.

In this case, the glass colours used could have been water based. These take a longer time to dry and the painting may have been framed before it was 100% dry. Water Based Glass Colours may seem dry to the touch quickly but absolute drying takes a very long time. We presume the framer has not left any place for the trapped moisture to release and hence it is condensing in the frame itself. The solution could be to open the frame, let the painting dry 100%, and get it framed again. This time, make sure that there are some ventilating holes in the frame to release the moisture, in case there is a need.

Old glass paintings were created using opaque oil paints. This method, called reverse painting, requires special skills. To execute a reverse painting, the artist needed to work in reverse order - paint the features first and finish with the background. Since opaque colours were used, this process fetched interesting results. These paintings look different as both the material and method used are different compared to today’s glass painting.

Today’s glass painting is closer to stained glass works. To execute a reverse painting today, you can choose from options like Camel Artist Oil Colours, Camel Student Oil Colours, Camel Artist Acrylic Colours, Camel Fabrica Acrylic Colours, Camel Solvent Based Glass Colours and Camel Water Based Glass Colours (after adding an opaque white shade to every shade).

Although fading is a natural process that’s bound to take place, art can help you in reviving it in a unique manner. Use Camel Fabrica Acrylic Colours in a shade that matches the print on your skirt and draw on the outlines of the design. Cover all important lines with the Fabrica Acrylic Colours and allow the skirt to dry in shade for close to 72 hours. Once it has dried, iron the skirt from the reverse side to ensure 100% drying and adhesion of the colours. Now, you can flaunt your rejuvenated favourite skirt!

Glass paintings are usually executed with liners of various colours to mimic the brass wire frame of stained glass paintings, keeping all the shades neatly separate from each other. In order to give our patrons a wide choice, we have introduced Camel Glass Liners in various shades like Gold, Silver, and Black which help you create a barrier between shades and give a neat glass painting look. This will help you achieve the look where no line would be visible.

Mediums

There are three issues with the pre-painting texture created using POP or similar materials.

1. The surface is not suitable for painting.

2. Its adhesion to the canvas might pose a problem.

3. Its lifespan is shorter than that of the painting.

As a result, the finish of the painting gets affected and the life of the painting is compromised because the surface texture may chip off the canvas and disintegrate. When you use Camel Texture White, since it is chemically similar to the canvas priming material, it becomes a part of the canvas itself once it has dried. So, the finish remains similar across and the longevity is maintained while adhesion doesn’t create a problem.

Texture White and Gesso are chemically from the same family but there is a difference in the consistency and the purpose of both. Camel Gesso has a runny consistency. It is designed to coat various surfaces, seal the pores and make them suitable for oil or acrylic painting. Its purpose is to prime the surface (canvas, wood, board, metal or anything else) and prepare it for painting. Camel Texture White, on the other hand, is a thick paste. It is used to create 3-dimensional textures or reliefs on the surface of the canvas before painting. It is always used on a primed surface to create relief. We are sure this will help you understand both mediums better and empower you to use the one you need in the right situation.

Linseed Oil is the most important oil painting medium since it is a vehicle and binder both rolled into one.

In its natural state, Linseed Oil has two impurities - soluble waxes and fatty acids. The Linseed Oil available at hardware stores is treated to remove the soluble waxes but not the fatty acids. These fatty acids give a strong colouration to the oil and can cause acid damage to the paint film later. Hence, it is advisable to use alkali-refined Camel Purified Linseed Oil for the best results with the Camel Artist Oil Colours.

Purified Linseed Oil is the best and most popular oil painting medium. However, it is slow drying in nature. Some artists are able to shorten the time by adding Turpentine while painting. Although this does accelerate the drying process, it also robs the painting of its lustre and life. The painting will look dry and chalky and will also be prone to cracks.

The best solution to reduce the drying time of an oil painting without compromising the look and life is to use Camel Artist Drying Oil as a medium in place of Purified Linseed Oil. Since Camel Artist Drying Oil is made by treating the same Purified Linseed Oil with synthetic dryers, it is absolutely safe for the painting. However, Camel Artist Drying Oil has a yellowish tint and, hence, care should be taken while using it with whites and other lighter hues.

Here’s what you should know about Linseed Oil:

Linseed Oil, like any other oil, has two impurities - soluble waxes and fatty acids.

The soluble waxes are easily isolated through the process of double-boiling.

However, fatty acids can only be removed by a complex process of alkali refining, which is not very common.

Therefore, cheap Linseed Oils come with the fatty acids present in them.

Using Linseed Oil that isn’t alkali refined will cause some shades which are otherwise absolutely permanent (eg: Ultramarine Blue) to fade with the touch of even a very weak acid.

We, therefore, recommend that only acid-free Linseed Oil like the Camel Purified Linseed Oil should be used.

This is not a good practice. Distilled Turpentine is colourless and a volatile liquid with a strong odour. Turpentine, being a solvent, is an excellent breaker of the bond between the molecules of pigments in oil colours. The role of a solvent is to clean the brushes, tools and hands while using oil colours. It is also used to increase the flow of the oil colours but excessive use may cause a loss of lustre and flexibility of the dried paint film and lead to cracks. Turpentine as a medium should be used in moderation and with full responsibility and understanding of its results.

Turpentine is a volatile liquid that evaporates at room temperature. Distilled Turpentine evaporates and thickens in the bottle in presence of light and air, which increases when the level of turpentine reduces with usage. The use of such thickened turpentine might create sticky patches on the painting.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind while using this oil medium:

Turpentine should always be stored in a full glass/pet bottle and in a cool and dark place. Keep transferring turpentine to smaller bottles or be a little creative and use pebbles or marbles to maintain the level.

Excessive use of Distilled Turpentine may make the paint film dry, matt, chalky and prone to cracks, especially with earth and other weaker shades. Do control your urge to dry the painting faster and restrain the use of Turpentine while painting.

Use in moderation and with a proper understanding of its impact on different pigments because nothing can reverse the harm.

Turpentine may cause respiratory issues if used in a closed environment for an extended period. Ingestion through inhalation, oral consumption or skin absorption may also harm all vital organs. It is better to keep your studio well ventilated and of course, restrain your use.

Being a solvent, turpentine removes the natural moisture from the skin, when the artist handles it. If this happens too often, the skin stops producing moisturizer and becomes dry, perched and crack-prone. This condition is called Dermatitis and is very difficult to cure, hence please avoid overexposure to Turpentine.

Since the oil painter will have to handle turpentine even if one doesn’t like it, it is better to learn how we can do it without harming the skin. You can purchase a good barrier cream at your local pharmacy and apply it thoroughly on the exposed areas of the body. Once done, you can handle any solvent without worrying about its penetration into your skin. This will assure you 100% safety of your skin.

Camel Artist Oil Colours are thick enough in general and can be used very well with a palette knife. However, there are some shades that, by nature, aren’t able to absorb too much vehicle. Hence, these shades “shrink” in the tube after packing and become thin in consistency. Since this is the nature of the particular pigments, not much can be done about it. However, we have a specific medium to address this issue.

You can mix these shades with Camligel which is a thick gel medium, on a palette with a palette knife. Camligel can help you get the required consistency of the colours without reducing the tone. The best thing about Camligel is that it doesn’t change the tone of the shade being mixed.

Camligel can also help you manage other unique shades:

High vehicle absorbing shades, i.e. those which become dry and chalky without medium

Expensive shades which are too costly to be used thick

Slow drying shades which may take too long to dry without a medium

According to classical text and practices, Turpentine is a solvent for oil colours and is advised for cleaning brushes and other tools as well as for thinning of the colours. However, artists have been using Turpentine to thin oil colours and to derive flowing/cracking effects. We have seen it being used to accelerate the drying of the painting too.

Please note that, if used excessively, Turpentine will reduce the gloss and bond of the oil colours. The extent would depend upon the shade used as well as the amount of Turpentine added. Although there is no sure-shot answer to this question, in our opinion, you should control using turpentine as a medium as far as possible. If you must, please use it in moderation and only with the shades which are strong enough with full awareness of the risk involved.

Camligel is a thixotropic oil painting medium. It is a wonderful medium which is handy for artists in many situations, as mentioned below.

Some shades have a low vehicle absorption level and hence are very thin in the tube. If you add oils, they become even more transparent and thin. By mixing with Camligel, these shades will gain body and look more solid.

Some shades, especially Flake White, have high vehicle absorption and turn chalky even after adding Linseed Oil. This impacts the look and life of other colours too. Flake White is also known to absorb oils from other shades around it and make them dry as well. This makes part of the painting very matte, leaving the remaining portion looking glossy. By using Camligel, such shades will also attain a gloss and shine.

Shades, from Series Number 4, i.e. Cadmium and Cobalt range shades are very expensive and you have to think twice before applying them thick with a palette knife. By adding Camligel, the volume of such shades can be increased without reducing the tone of the colours.

Some shades are slow drying and may take very long to dry, especially when applied thick. Camligel will ensure better and uniform drying in such cases.

Acrylic Colours are popular for being rapid drying but this very quality is a big impediment for some painters. For portrait work, wet-in-wet blending is very important and to facilitate it, colours must remain wet for long on the canvas.

We have a way out in the form of a special medium called Camel Acrylic Retarder. As the name suggests, Camel Acrylic Retarder retards the drying speed of acrylic colours. This gives artists more time to work, making wet-in-wet blending possible. We are sure by using the Camel Acrylic Retarder in the manner suggested, you can overcome the issue and enjoy portrait painting with a new-age medium.

Acrylic colours are water soluble but water is not the medium. By using water as a medium, we end up making the colours dull and chalky. This can also aggravate the fungus problem in the jars as well as paintings. We recommend the use of Camel Acrylic Gloss Medium or Camel Acrylic Matt Medium.

As the name suggests, Camel Acrylic Gloss Medium will impart gloss to the painting and if you don’t appreciate that you can opt for Camel Acrylic Matt Medium instead. Camel Acrylic Matt Medium will bring about a silky matte finish to the painting. Both these mediums could also be used as varnishes after the painting is complete to get a uniform finish and protection from elements too.

Camel Acrylic Matt Medium has been created to impart a sober matt effect to acrylic paintings. Why don’t you experiment with it? We are certain you will like it.

Camel Acrylic Gel Medium has been created to address such issues. Used along with Camel Artist Acrylic Colours, it ensures uniform drying and a better finish. We are sure you would like the results.

Varnishing an oil painting is very important because it provides a protective coat to the painting that acts as a barrier against pollution and elements while, at the same time, giving it a uniform finish. When and how it should be used are very important questions.

The painting should be varnished only after it has completely dried.

It may need six months or more for an oil painting to dry fully. Acrylic painting may also take a couple of months for 100% drying.

The time taken for the painting to dry 100% may depend upon the quality of canvas, thickness of colours applied, mediums used and the atmosphere.

Select a sunny day for varnishing.

Expose the painting to the sun from both sides to remove any residual moisture.

Apply varnish with a dry brush or spray in easy swipes from a reasonable distance.

Repeat if you feel it’s needed or you are not satisfied with the finish.

Moisture at any point in varnishing may make the painting foggy.

Even after the suggested drying period, carry out the following test on oil paintings to establish that the painting is fully dry and ready for varnishing;

Soak a white cotton cloth in turpentine and dab it lightly all over the painting.

If you find a trace of any colour on the cloth, it means the painting needs some more time to dry.

If not, run it all over the painting to remove dirt and dust from the surface and prepare the painting for varnishing.

Varnishing is very important and must be applied to all paintings as it is the first coat of protection for the painting. Both Camel Picture Varnish and Camel Picture Varnish Spray are good. If you want to apply the varnish with a brush, Camel Picture Varnish is the way to go. However, if you want a modern and no-nonsense solution, pick the can of Camel Picture Varnish Spray. Once added, the advantage of the spray is that it could be used on acrylic paintings as well. Spray varnish is better as the application is easier and more uniform. Picture Varnish is used with a brush which might leave brush marks, patches and drip marks and maybe a few hairs embedded in the dried varnish. Please note that the life of varnish is approximately 20 years after which it starts darkening and needs to be removed and re-varnished.

We recommend Camel Fixative Spray because charcoal, being a dry medium, needs the protection of a fixative. The surface used doesn’t matter as we only need to consider the medium for this decision. Hope you find it helpful.

Yes, varnishes are generally removable but it doesn’t mean that you or any artist may remove them at will. Both Camel Picture Varnish and Camel Picture Varnish Spray are made removable to facilitate the restoration work of varnished paintings, if and when the need arises. It has no relevance to an artist, apart from the reassurance that if and when there would be a need to restore their works, the varnish would not become an issue. The restorer will be able to remove the varnish with standard procedure and work on the restoration.

Both Fixative Spray and Picture Varnish Spray are protective mediums. Camel Picture Varnish Spray is for paintings while Camel Fixative Spray is for drawings. Picture Varnish Spray is always used on oil and acrylic paintings and it is removable, if and when required. On the other hand, Fixative Spray can be used on all dry mediums like charcoal, drawing pencils, graphite, pastels, crayons, pencils etc. and is not removable. A fixative can be applied on fresh drawings as well as unfinished drawings and the artist can work over it. Whereas varnish can be applied on paintings only when they are 100% dried.

Fixative Spray should be applied from a distance of almost one foot in uniform and straight swipes with equal pressure on the nozzle. It is advisable to test the pressure and spread of the spray before applying it on the drawing. Please apply an additional coat after the first one dries if you feel like it’s required. It is worth knowing that the fixative could be applied immediately after finishing the drawing and also on unfinished drawings. Since it is possible to draw on top of the fixative film, you will be able to protect unfinished drawings and complete them later. This information will help you get the best out of Camel Fixative Spray.

Acrylic paintings also need to be varnished like oil paintings, for the same reasons - protection from pollutants, elements and frictions as well as to give them a uniform finish. Complete drying is a must but you wouldn’t need 6 months for this since acrylic colours dry faster than oil colours. After a month or two, depending on the weather and thickness of the paint applied, you can apply varnish. Camel Picture Varnish Spray is an ideal product for varnishing acrylic paintings. However, you could try the Camel Acrylic Gloss Medium and Camel Acrylic Matt Medium for varnishing as well.

Tools

The difference is in the application and style of usage. Short handle brushes are used while working on paintings where the surface is laid flat and parallel to the ground whereas long handle brushes are used when the surface is placed standing at an angle that is convenient to and facing the artist.

To put it simply, artists generally use short handle brushes for water-soluble colours except for acrylic on canvas and long handle ones are used for oil and acrylic on canvas. The reasoning behind this is that, while working on canvas, artists want to stand at a viewing distance (approx. 1 meter) while painting so that they can see it the way it will be seen by the viewers and paint accordingly. Long handle brushes help artists paint from the audience’s point of view.

As the name suggests, White Bristle Brushes are made of white, hard, natural or synthetic bristles whereas Synthetic Brushes are made of soft synthetic hairs.

The application of both brushes also differs. Bristles, being hard, don’t hold liquid at all and hence are used only to paint with thick colours which are almost in a paste consistency, especially oil and acrylic colours. Synthetic hairs don’t hold water too well but can hold liquid colours and can be used to paint with any fluid colours, including oils and acrylic.

Hence, we can summarize that White Bristle Brushes can only be used to paint with thick oil or acrylic colours and Synthetic Hair Brushes can be used to paint with almost all colours. What’s more? Camel Synthetic Gold Brushes can even withstand solvents like Turpentine and are therefore also suitable for oil painting, provided the artists want to use thin glazes or washes.

As the name suggests, Wash Brushes are for applying broad washes of colours. Artists can use Wash Brushes to cover large areas or surfaces with colours and develop the background. Wash Brushes could also be used to give washes to applied paint and create special effects. This brush comes with a flat short handle to facilitate a special grip.

Brushes are made of three main components - hair/bristles, ferrule and handle. So, let’s study the desired qualities from the same perspective.

Handle: Smooth, well-polished, well-balanced

Ferrule: Strong enough to hold hairs, properly attached to the handle and able to withstand the force applied by the artist while painting

Hair: Good point or blade, excellent spring-back or elasticity, good bonding, good colour holding capacity and minimal capillary action

Bristles: Strength, good bonding, minimal capillary action

Blending Stomps for drawing are like brushes to painting. They are used by artists to draw, spread, blend and manoeuvre the drawing material, especially those without any internal binding. For artists drawing with charcoal, charcoal pencils, drawing pencils, soft pencils etc., Blending Stomps are a much-needed manoeuvring tool to be able to translate their creative ideas on paper or canvas. It is also possible to reshape the soiled and blunt stomps for reuse. A very important tool for those who love drawing.

Kids

Definitely. There are some experiences which could be expressed better through the medium of art. The first language a child comprehends is of visual forms and it is easier for the child to express certain things visually due to a lack of vocabulary. Hence, art is a very effective medium of self-expression for children.

Not necessarily. Children should be encouraged to draw from their own experiences, observation and imagination without being forced with it. It’s okay if a child observes something and wants to draw it. This will benefit them when they grow up.

Yes, they should. Observations, experiences and emotions are all a part of one’s memory and imagination is a result of it. By drawing from memory, the child is indirectly referring to these.

It is normal for a child to have a poor sense of distance and perspective. Their sense of perspective is not physical but psychological. There is no need to ‘teach’ them the third dimension. With practice, they will grasp distance and perspective in the visual sense too.

It’s important to understand that, until the age of 10, children should be allowed to have fun and paint whatever they like and however they like. During this period, it is important to have fun and use drawing and painting as a medium for a child to express their experiences, observations, emotions and imaginations. It is the age of poetry, without bothering with grammar.

Here, the teacher’s role is that of a facilitator, guide and motivator. Generally, childhood ends after the age of 10 years and the time to make the child aware of concepts and technicalities gradually begins. By drawing and painting without instructions and corrections till that age, the child would have gained some understanding of proportions and perspectives by experience and the process of self-appreciation. Here, the teacher becomes an instructor and makes the child learn grammar methodically.

To answer the first question - yes, it is more practical but there is no compulsion. However, children of ages up to 9 and 10 and those above should be seated separately as the style and the teachers’ actions are supposed to be different for both.

Although it is a regular occurrence, it is also normal to find one child who draws better than others in a particular group of children within a socio-economic group. This depends on a number of factors like the child’s home and school environment, availability of resources, exposure, and most of all encouragement.

No, it is not. However, it is good for children to experience as many mediums as possible.

This calls for adult/parental education. Parents need to be made aware that their child’s natural ladder of growth and their real aesthetic needs can only be fulfilled by letting them naturally reach their optimum potential and healthy development.

There’s no hard and fast rule on the matter. Some children feel the need for help at a rather early age whereas others continue doing their own work happily with equally successful development. Generally speaking, children should be given the freedom to draw and paint in their own way until they are 10 years old.

It is not desirable but sometimes you might feel the need to when you find children painting the same thing repeatedly. Rather than asking everyone to draw the same thing, it’s preferable to choose storytelling or a field trip as the route to ask them to paint something from experience. You’ll have better results as this will bring a sense of excitement to the task and the children will draw with a lot of interest and passion.

Children like to draw and paint. This helps with the healthy development of their mind and body but only when they draw/paint from their own experiences or imagination. Drawing books don’t allow them this freedom and, moreover, they restrict their movement. The illustrations also ‘suggest’ colour schemes which can hamper the child’s aesthetics and also restrict the use of vivid colours as per their imagination.

Educationally, copying is not helpful. We should try to prevent children from copying very gently and cautiously. It may help to give them different seats in the classroom, though these children should not feel like they are being punished. Teachers have to realize that some children do have less inclination for imagination or to look for new topics for their pictures. Although copying is harmful to healthy growth, it is also true that some children learn or can learn only by imitating, at least at the beginning stage.

There is no harm in it. As long as it is a matter of mutual appreciation and exchange.

Children like to describe the contents of their pictures. The story the child tells about the picture is another effective means of self-expression. Some children also like to write about their pictures. There is nothing wrong with asking a child about his/her picture but you should not be insistent about it. After all, the child has already expressed what he/she wanted to communicate through the pictures. They will respond to your question only if there is something more to communicate

Teachers should try to understand the mind of the child. The more experience the teacher gains about children’s minds, the more they will be able to grasp the meaning without asking the child artist. Psychologists try to understand not only the meaning of the pictures but try to explore deeper into the child’s personality through them.

It has been observed that children only use a few colours at a time, even if there are more options available. It is therefore advisable that they be given standard sets of six/twelve colours at a time. If more shades are made available subsequently, it would help the child understand the application and composition of the different shades and teach them to create those themselves. Brushes, which are ordinarily available, are okay for children to use if the quality is good. Very fine (thin) brushes are not ideal because using such brushes does not allow the child to be bold enough. Usually, mid-range brushes are adequate but thicker brushes will be required when making large pictures.

Children should complete the picture they have started to paint. The child should be encouraged to complete it even after a gap of more than one period. Leaving work incomplete is not a desirable habit. However, it has been observed that children generally prefer completing their pictures.

To give art experience to children, it is not essential for the teacher to be an expert in the technical aspects of art. In fact, experiences indicate that a teacher who understands the child and is sympathetic to his/her needs is better suited to help them in their art activities than one who might be a very good artist but does not understand childhood.

As far as providing certain kinds of information is concerned, book illustrations can be helpful. However, those made in cheap taste can be a bad influence on the child’s aesthetic taste. In such cases, a good teacher will try to convey to the child that there is no relationship between his/her own artwork and the illustration in their books. A better solution is to use children’s artwork in illustrated books and, better still, encourage them to write and illustrate their own books.

Copying is wrong for children but copying good pictures may not be as harmful as copying pictures with cheap taste which can distort the child’s aesthetic taste. Moreover, it is difficult, if not impossible, for an average teacher to be able to discriminate between good and bad pictures and hence avoiding copying is a better strategy altogether. Copying doesn’t leave room for the child to think and visualize. This is more important than the simple task of drawing.

We should accept the principle that the influence of adult art destroys the natural quality and spontaneity of children. They would have plenty of time to learn from great masters when they grow up. They will be able to appreciate the masters’ works better once they become adults and, hence, would be able to learn in a healthier manner.

Child art is never realistic but the child almost always feels happy with his/her work. Children paint things as they perceive them and not as they are. That is the reason they may paint an elephant pink or a mother with four hands.

Yes, it would be wrong because the intellectual or logical faculties and creativity are two different functions of the brain and are housed in different lobes. Hence, their development is also different. Development of right brain functions (creative) has a positive impact on the overall personality and certain functions and disciplines like observation and expression which may facilitate better performance in logical functions too. Nevertheless, for children, the process of making pictures is more important than the picture itself. All the pictures made by the kids up to 10 years of age are good, excellent or extraordinarily beautiful and nothing less. Hence, it is better to not be judgmental of them.

Art is the outlet of expression for the most natural instincts and internal needs in a sublimated form. Art activities give joy, a sense of achievement and appreciation to children which is very important.

It isn’t always so. However, we should realize that, on account of their circumstances, the poor remain closer to nature and their experiences are more varied. Hence, their art expression is more natural and spontaneous.

At the time of entering adolescence, children start looking at the world as adults do. It is the time when they move from childhood to adulthood. To a great extent, the transition from childhood to adulthood could prove to be a very creative period. The state of aesthetics in today’s society is responsible for the pessimistic attitude towards an adolescent’s art expression. If the necessary perspective toward the education of the adolescent can be developed, the so-called “stage of crisis” during the changeover from childhood to adulthood could prove to be a very creative period.

Children do not paint the objective reality. Their pictures depict their inner reality. They paint what they know and not what they see. The subject and size of objects in children’s paintings depend on the importance they attach to them. The item that attracts them most becomes larger in proportion. Isn’t that the same in many of the old masterpieces? For instance, in the paintings at Ajanta, the Buddha is painted many times larger than the ordinary people.

Since children paint objects not as they are but as they see or perceive them, the colour of the object in their pictures also depends on their perception of the objects. In fact, children have a very stark and definite sense of colour. They relate darker shades like black to bad or negative sentiments and colours like pink to things that they perceive as cute and good. Hence, a bad character could be depicted with black colour and an elephant could be pink. Psychologists can thus identify a perpetrator in case of abuse through the paintings made by children.

Yes, we can. Different children might like to explore different activities at a particular moment. Some like to paint, some like pottery, others prefer other mediums. They should be given the freedom to choose from the various mediums available in the art class.

Generally speaking, children start feeling the need to paint realistically between the ages of 10 to 12 years. However, it would be a mistake to consider this a hard-and-fast rule. Some children may reach that stage considerably earlier than others and some later.

Generally speaking, children start feeling the need to paint realistically between the ages of 10 to 12 years. These concepts could be taught to children when they reach the age of 10 to 12 years.

Children who are continuously exposed to new experiences find ideas for their paintings and would not copy art. However, if they do, it is either due to the absence of a new idea at that time or the subject in the particular picture has especially attracted them. Children who are comparatively backward in this respect are more likely to imitate. We should not make a fuss about it. It’s possible that this kind of limitation might give them the incentive to draw their own picture in the course of time.

What you call a ”better picture” may not be so for children. From the child's point of view, his/her painting without the element of perspective is his/her own work and that is the real character of child art. Remember, there is nothing bad, wrong or incorrect in child art.

Just imagine the harmful effect it would have on the child if he/she is not allowed to live in his own world. Making children paint like adults would mean imposing the world of adults on them, which would be against their natural growth. It would be as bad as trying to mould the child into adulthood before they are ready for it. Painting realistic pictures is the nature of an adult, not of a child.

It only means that all activities a child is exposed to should promote creativity. Art and aesthetic sense should be the outcome of all his activities.

It’s a natural course and, when the time comes, they start feeling the need for knowledge of perspective. They will find it easier to learn it if they receive proper help at that time. It has also been observed that they compare their paintings with the object after painting from instinct for a few years. They are also found to be working on self-correction and improvement.

Not necessarily. If the general aesthetic standard of the community is high and the taste of the people is good enough, the presence of perspective would not be an essential aspect of a good painting. If the approach towards art education is correct and the taste of society is formed on the foundations of great art, children would not necessarily be inclined towards realism or achieving the third dimension in their paintings.

If the teacher is good and knows the art of exciting, facilitating and encouraging children to have fun with art, children would enjoy the activity very much and come to the class with lots of enthusiasm. To be able to play with colours without any restrain, restriction and directions is very liberating and entertaining at the same time.

Art is related to our visual experiences. Mental imagery is an essential part of the thinking process. Visual images are closely related to mental images. Art makes these images clearer and more concrete. The experimental aspect of art helps one go deeper into the other elements of life.

Today, being competitive has become like second nature and this affects children too. Competition is not a gift of nature to children and they should be protected from it.

We considered this too when we designed the All India Camel Colour Contest, which is now known as Camel Art Contest. The aim was to encourage children to participate for the love of art and not for the prizes - participation is key and not winning.

Conscious efforts were made to minimize the ill effects of a contest and maximize the benefits of child art. Large scale participation, freedom of subject and medium, no physical movement of children, a large number of winners, low monetary value or prizes, which are very high on motivational value are all the defining features of the contest. That is the reason it has attained such a high degree of success and popularity.

You cannot make a rule about it. It depends on the subject, comfort level and the subject matter at hand.

According to psychologists, children first start drawing with shoulder movement followed by elbow, wrist and fingers. This way, their gross and fine motor skills get developed. That is the reason they choose to paint walls first and then move on to sheets and drawing books.

Children have vivid imaginations, a keen observation, honesty, boldness of expression and a language of colours. All of this together results in the use of abnormal shades in their paintings. They don’t paint the objects as they are but as they see them. This process of visualizing and imagination helps them in thinking of the unusual shades. Also, as they have a very strong sense of colours and their moods, they use them to express their emotions towards the objects. The objects which they find cute and likable become pink whereas the objects which are harsh and hurting are shown in black or grey.

No, you shouldn’t. If you do, they will keep asking for suggestions and stop thinking on their own. You could tell them a story, go for a walk or visit a zoo or museum. All these would fire their imagination and help them visualize and paint many pictures while also teaching them how to get inspired.

It is not necessary to go for very expensive material. Nevertheless, they should be appropriate and sufficient. All the material you provide children should fulfil their need for an art experience. Also, it is of prime importance to select only non-toxic and child safe material for children in order to protect their health.

If by “making mistakes” you mean when they spill colours on the floor or their clothes or face, you should surely discourage them. But if they use colours according to their own thinking and colour scheme, it cannot be called a mistake.

They should if help means making the required material available and exposing them to art by taking them to museums and art galleries or motivating them with appreciation, discussion and display. They can also support the child in case of some physical or psychological issues. However, if help means assisting them in drawing or in selecting colours or filling colours and adding finishing touches, it is an absolute no. One should never help the child by doing their work, either fully or partly as it will rob the child of possibilities.

Yes, this happens sometimes. It is generally found that girls like to create more delicate, expressive and ornamental work than boys but that could also be on account of the age-old conditioning.

Yes. With regular practice of art, the power of imagination gets a boost and remains with the child forever.

There could be two explanations for this. Either there is no new experience worth drawing about or the child has something embedded deep in his/her mind that he/she is trying to gain the attention of the teacher or parents.

In case of the former, conscious efforts must be made to expose the child to fresh ideas by visits to museums and art galleries or roaming around in the city or fields.

In case of the latter, it is important for the parents or teachers to lovingly try to find the reason behind it and address the issue. In some cases, there may be a need for professional intervention with a qualified psychologist.

It is common for children to get distracted and lose interest in art when reaching adolescence. It is natural and takes place with exposure to different things like the pressure of studies etc.

However, if the child has been nurtured well in art and has had a lot of fun with it, there are fewer chances of disenchantment. Regular exposure to serious art and careers in the art field, engagement in a creative hobby, support from teachers and parents as well as a wide range of exciting and new art materials could help uphold the adolescent’s interest in art.

Yes, they have a great impact. Young children may not recognize the painter and his importance or whether the work on display is original or a print but they adore good paintings and are greatly inspired by them. They may not say it but they do love to be surrounded by beautiful objects. Great paintings would also have long-term impact on the child’s aesthetics.

That thought must have made a deep impression on the child's mind. It was probably an outlet for his aggression against someone or a feeling of pity or fear. All such cases should be referred to a qualified psychologist for analysis as there might be a deep-rooted issue and the child might require support.

We must let children draw such pictures if they wish. If their aggression or fear does not get an outlet in this manner, they might find some other outlet which may be more harmful. Such self-expression is useful for liberating the child's mind from stress.

Yes, it is recommended. Mutual criticism and appreciation are always good. It motivates children in terms of critical observation, comprehension and making critical appreciation without hurting their friends personally. They also notice the good in others’ work and try to learn from them.

Good parents and teachers who want children to grow as imaginative, creative and innovative individuals with a balanced mental development should value pictures made by children. They should make an effort to motivate children through discussion and display of their works.

Yes, this is very important. They should provide all the facilities required for children to explore art including colours, papers, tools and accessories and the necessary space too. Also, it’s very important to maintain the freedom of what to paint, when to paint, how to paint and with which colours to paint. Even the option of whether to paint or not should rest with the child.

Parents can play a great role by taking the children to art galleries, museums, and other places which can provide aesthetic exposure. Children will draw and paint better if they are exposed to a wide variety of literature like stories or poems that can inspire children to visualize.

Gradually and with lots of patience. It has also been observed that children do not draw complete pictures. Instead, they generally paint a single object. Parents and teachers should attempt to sensitize the child about various other objects which may help the child draw further and complete their immediate physical and mental surroundings.

There is no alternative to freedom. Like other children, these kids should also be free to do whatever they like. At the same time, the parents and educators need to identify the cause and take the required corrective action. Mostly, such children lack a variety of exposure and experiences and are made to feel like whatever they are given is beautiful and hence there is no need to try something else. Hence, the first task is to provide holistic aesthetic exposure to such children to give them more topics to paint. A balanced critical appreciation will also help as it will help the child realize that, although what they’re doing is good, they need to widen the horizon and try to balance their growth.

They ask for help at the early stages but they stop doing so if parents and teachers don’t directly help in painting their pictures. They realize that they need to draw their own and learn independently. If the child cannot visualize, help could be offered in terms of exposure to art, storytelling etc.

No, it is not recommended. Children are very close to nature and need to experience every aspect of it - colour, form and movement - right from the beginning. Though schools only recommend crayons and pastels for convenience, there are no limits. Children can start with liquid colours and often do so.

No, they will not. In fact, it will be harmful.

They are not encouraged at all. Although many children these days are fond of them, they account for their parent’s ignorance of childhood and its real needs. Children ought to be encouraged to draw and paint their own pictures.

Instead of becoming easier, the teacher's task turns out to be more difficult. “Teaching“ generally implies: Explain how it’s done. It’s usually done by holding the child's hand and directing it according to your plan. But the method we believe to be the correct one for art requires the teacher's attention at every stage of the child's development, without giving them specific directions about “How it’s done“.

Their day-to-day artwork itself is their examination. If they are happy and engaged in making new pictures, they are successful.

There’s no harm in asking children to explain their pictures. Children actually love it and will go on at length to explain their work. However, if the child is not in the mood to explain it or does not come forth easily, it’s best to drop the subject. It might be something that the child does not wish to talk about and, if pressured, they may convincingly lie and the truth, which may be of vital importance, will stay hidden.

The tree in nature is different from the tree of the artist's imagination. The real search is for joy and not for the so-called correct imitation of nature. It is his/her poetic imagination and we’d be wrong to correct it.

Rather than having a large number of artists in the country, it is more important to assure a fuller and balanced personality development of the average citizen, which is possible only if all the schools give art its due importance and practice its teaching honestly and efficiently. It will make the public at large more understanding of art and the artist.

It will build the spirit of good craftsmanship which we lack today. The average person's capacity for using tools and gaining skills will be enhanced. The kind of art education we are asking for will also help in developing a technical approach among the population.

It will not only help them to understand nature but will also give them the spirit and capacity of feeling along with it. Today, the process is just the opposite. The older the individual grows, the farther away he/she shifts from nature. Art education can fix this.

One of the most important aspects of art education is awareness. It actually means identifying with the environment.

There is a need to work on two fronts. One is to make the child realize that copying is of no great value or importance and the second is to provide the child with wider exposure. Give them new experiences to draw from.

Yes, it does. We assume that the child's educational environment is in line with good taste. Hence, the art education we are asking for will be considered as the right kind.

We hope that it will not only last longer but also be of enhanced quality.

If the development of the child has been according to the principles of his/her natural ladder of growth, he/she will automatically imbibe the sense of proportion.

We should exhibit all and make sure that every child has his/her picture(s) on the wall. No one should be left out.

All children of the group should see all pictures but no child should think that he or she is considered especially good compared to the others.

By telling stories, giving descriptions, and by showing a good example of art objects. More importantly, by giving assurance of your respect for his/her personality.

If the child’s creative spirit is nurtured properly during the formative years, it would have a lasting impact on the person’s life and aesthetics. It will leave a distinct mark on their work and orientation.

Not only joy but also fuller development of the child's personality is the greatest outcome of the child’s experience with art.

Appreciation is very important for the child and since the process in case of child art is more important than the product, we should be generous with it. The thumb rule is that whatever the child paints is right. Even if it is wrong, there is no chance of pointing out any mistake or suggestions for correction. Only appreciation and, to an extent, critical appreciation is acceptable.

There’s nothing wrong with left-handedness so we shouldn’t be bothered by it. It is just a different orientation. According to certain beliefs, these people are more creative and innovative than right-handers.

More than one blackboard can be present in the art room, if you can manage it. Coloured chalk is also useful so that children can make large pictures.

By making adequate arrangements for art material, extending all the possible facilities, and by expressing respect and sympathy towards them and their work. The most important thing is encouragement through appreciation, discussion and display.

This implies that children, by nature, take the wrong path and hence correction is a must. This is the real issue. Children are naturally creative and explore their surroundings through their drawings and paintings. They draw not what is there but what they see, which is a personal perspective. You may not like it but it is not wrong and hence doesn’t need correction.

Hence, the real task of education is to allow children to explore and understand their world while being able to explain it. There is no need for correction as there is nothing wrong. The path of children is of straightforward truth. It may seem harsh but the truth almost always is. They will learn through exploration, making mistakes, and correcting themselves on their own.

Note: Refer to the book titled 'Art - The Basis of Education' by Shri Devi Prasad, published by the National Book Trust for more insight on the subject.

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“Creativity is nothing but a mind set free.”- Torrie T. Asai