Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Holiday Lizard Texture Recipe...Yum!

Hope you had a great holiday!

So as a little post Xmas treat I thought I'd share a  recipe. It's using Kroma Crackle and I've been showing it to folks in classes for the last few years. My use of it is a bit different from it's recommended use in that it's a bit more immediate. I hate to this is what I came up with...a little bit different from what you achieve using Kroma's instructions but still pretty cool. (if you want to know the recommended use go here:
Me and Kevin hangin' at Kroma.

I should also mention that Kroma is considerable easier to get these days since Dick Blick started carrying them. So if you can't find it at your local art store try here:

Anyway here's a little article I did for Kevin and the gang at Kroma:

deMeng's deMented Derma
Looking for a nice lizardesqe skin? Who isn’t? If you’re like me you might find yourself in a situation where you need a nice cold-blooded-critter skin as a surface. Look no further I have just the thing for you, using Kroma Crackle.

I followed all Kroma’s instructions and got some really amazing effects. The only problem was that I wanted to teach with it and it took a couple of days to get the effect. I knew this would be a problem for classes that were only one day long. Was there a way to may this process speed up? It was time to get out the mad scientist gear and experiment.

Experiment after experiment failed. I was pretty certain that I would not be able to get the instantaneous effect I sought…I was pretty certain…until….

I was working on a little shrine and set it on a gunked-up work surface to dry some acrylic paint with a heat gun. As I dried it I noticed that the surface below had a bit of wet Crackle medium on it. Then I was amazed. Before my very eyes the Crackle started to crack with the heat gun. This had never happened before, so the question was: What made the Crackle crack with a heat gun on this particular day, while every other instance failed in my tests? What in the world was different?

It seemed pretty obvious to me that the only thing it could be was something with the surface the Crackle was on.

I don’t have a CSI lab in my studio so I couldn’t test the molecular components of the work surface, but fortunately I remembered that a day earlier I spilt some Elmer’s Glue on this surface, which mixed with wet acrylic paint and then dried. This had to be what did it. I knew that there were some very, very simplistic crackle effects created by using white glue and acrylic, so my hypothesis was that this somehow expedited the Crackle medium.

Now I needed to reproduce the effect. I covered a surface with Elmer’s Glue then while it was still wet I added a tiny bit of acrylic paint (just enough to tint it). I then dried it with a head gun. Next I slathered a nice coating of Kroma Crackle on…not with a brush, but with fingers. Okay…now was the moment of truth. I took out the heat gun and sheepishly started to dry. At first, nothing. My heart sank. But then I noticed the Crackle turning bright white, and then: Eureka! Big crocodilian cracks! Not quite as delicate as the original Kroma recipe and much more complex as the Elmer’s/acrylic combo. A very unique reptilian texture…best yet it could be done in five minutes.

You’ll need something you want to be lizard like (canvas, book, doll, etc., Elmer’s White Glue, acrylic paint, and Kroma Crackle Medium.

1. With a brush cover the desired surface with glue. Don’t be stingy.

2. While the glue is still wet add a bit of acrylic paint to the glue. This will be the color between the cracks.

3. Dry with a heat gun, but don’t let bubble up. Oscillate.

4. Apply a liberal dose of Kroma Crackle. Don’t use a brush…I use my fingers. You want it about 2mm thick (like icing on a pop tart.)

5. Dry with a heat gun. Don’t be afraid to heat this layer. Cook until it turns white and crackled.

6. Apply a layer of 50% Acrylic Fluid Medium 50% Water and dry

7. Apply washes of color to tint

8. Viola! Snakes alive!


1. You can tint the Crackle but don’t add more than 5% pigment to the Crackle otherwise it won’t do its lizardy effects.

2. If you don’t get the desired cracks, you MUST start from the beginning. Don’t just add more Crackle. So remember, glue, paint, and then Crackle Medium.

3. After you get the effect you can enhance it by dry brushing over it and adding washes of color.

So, you wanna iguana? Get to it!


Darlene Propp said...

Wonderful, wonderful. I can see this used on all kinds of projects. Thanks so much for sharing it, Michael!

yoborobo said...

Thank you for sharing this! I am off to find things that need lizard texture! :)

rachel whetzel said...

Question? Is this crackle a clear crackle if you don't add pigment to it?