Wet media Dura-Lar Film: An IntroductionNovember 21, 2012
I’ve spent part of the day messing around with the sheets of Wet-Media Dura-lar film that Grafix sent to me as I mentioned in my previous posting. I thought I would share some early reactions in a series of posts based on what I’ve discovered. The main “wet media” I wanted to test out was gouache. If that works well, all other media should not be a problem.
This is a polyester film with a “special” coating that allows it to accept wet media. There are brands of acetate films on the market that also accept wet media designed for printing, but unlike polyester film, acetate is not meant to last very long. I hate using the word “archival” for art materials, but for lack of a better term, acetate is not archival. Without this coating, the only other way to try and get anything to adhere to polyester sheets is by a mechanical process of etching the surface, such as found with matte drafting film, otherwise the slick surface would just repel the wet media.
The only paint I would recommend for use on drafting film is acrylic. It’s the only media that has enough adhesion to stick properly. The problem with gouache on matte drafting film is that any thickness in the paint will just flake off once it dries, and if you apply the paint in diluted washes it beads up as the water evaporates. This Wet Media film doesn’t have any of those problems. The surface of this film is clear, not frosted by the etching process. It is also very reflective, and there’s no matte version offered, but I have some ideas on how to handle that.
It comes in only one thickness of .004” (4 mil.) As to availability, I’ve seen it at online art stores in pads (from 9×12” up to 19×24”) and single sheets of 20×25”. It also comes in 12 foot rolls of 25” or 50”. The price is very reasonable, but bear in mind that you’ll need to mount this on something firm to present it properly, so that support will have to accommodate the size and add to the cost. I’ll get into the mounting options later.
I plan to make more posts here of my findings as I continue my tests. At this point, I’m very encouraged by how well it performs. I still think the best paint surface for gouache is a good thick sheet of paper or illustration board, but this looks like a good alternative, and has other advantages paper doesn’t offer. I’ll get into to that later as well.