Recently one of my workmates was unloading some things her children had outgrown, and I picked up the book The Biggest Best Snowman by illustrator Will Hillenbrand. I was pretty intrigued by his style and the textures he was getting, and (like most picture books) there was a bit of info regarding the media he was using - the one I was most curious about was his paper, which was vellum.
Always eager to hand over more dollars to my local art store, I went to buy some but was rather discouraged to find that the heaviest they carried was something like 29lb and that that was as heavy as it got. How did he use watercolour and acrylic on it? My own experiments were horrible, wrinkled messes.
Luckily for me, googling the illustrator turned up his website and a whole section on his process! Isn't the internet fabulous for sorting out your problems for you? :) It turns out the trick is he's dry mounting the vellum. Not having a dry mount press, I've resorted to vellum spray glue, but after playing around with the mixed media bit I'm back to oil pastels. The spray glue stinks and is probably not the most environmental solution - I'm either just going to tape the vellum to bristol to keep it flat, try dry mounting with an iron (apparently some mixed results with this) or try out some Letratac adhesive sheets.
In the meantime, here's a picture I made for my new book, done with oil pastel on vellum:
I have to say I love it - I finally feel like after 2 years of experimenting I've found my materials - no small thing, I assure you! It works beautifully with oil pastel, its so easy manipulate the pastel with a paper stump.