12 Lesser-known Techniques of Art

Updated: Feb 3

The first practical typewriter was invented by Charles Thurber and patented in 1843, but

was it never manufactured. The first true typewriter to be manufactured, the Hansen

Writing Ball made its public debut in 1870, but it was another four years (1974) until the commercially successful machine took off. 

The first piece of typewriter art was created in 1898, by Flora Stacey, a British secretary,

in 1898 – it was an image of a butterfly composed of brackets, dashes, slashes, and an

asterisk. Since 1898, there have been several major developments within this field,

with Paul Smith being one of the most important figures in this type of art practice.

Typewriter artists use only common office typewriter machine as a tool for image-

making, manually twisting and turning the paper in the feed to strike characters in

precisely chosen spots using a handful of symbols, for example @,%, ^, #, & $ as well as numbers & alphabets.

Even though the typewriters have become obsolete since the developments in

computers, many artists are still working in the field of Typewriter art because they

believe it’s impossible to create such beautiful artworks without a concept and big

talent and no computer art can match the beauty of typewriter art.

Here are the names of some artists who have worked/ are working in this field :

Uday Talwalkar, India

Chandrakant Bhide, India

Paul Smith, America

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1. Soot Painting or Fumage Art :

The name soot means amorphous carbon produced by incomplete burning. Also known

as Fumage meaning: made from fumes or smoke. Fumage is the use of a kerosene lamp

or candle to create smoke, leaving impressions on the canvas.

The technique was invented by the Austrian surrealist artist Wolfgang Paalen in the late

The 1930s and results in a hazy cloudy image suggestive of dreams and apparitions. The

Messenger, created in 1941 by Paalen depicts a ghostly form floating in deep space.

Fumage was also inspired by the surrealist’s attempts to transform automatic writing

into drawing and painting.

Canadian artist Steven Spazuk has used flames in his unconventional art for 14 years.

The fire artist uses flames to create art. Spazuk explains that he first holds a candle in

one hand and a piece of thick paper in the other. He then uses the flame as a pencil and

does on to create his designs using the soot or traces of black carbon. Of course, he has

to be careful not to hold the flame too long in one area of the paper as it could easily

catch fire.

Though Spazuk has spent the last 14 years developing and perfecting his soot painting

technique, the creation process always has an element of random spontaneity and

improvisation. The artist can then go in with a brush, feather, or metal scraping tool to

gently alter and manipulate the soot.

Although not many people are familiar with this type of art form, Spazuk clarifies that

fumage has been around way back in the prehistoric ages, used by cavemen.

2) Ink wash painting

Finds its origins in China and East Asia. The use of black ink in calligraphy led to the popularity of brush painting using the same inks. Ink wash is just like watercolor in grayscale. The difference is, the wash can get darker more easily than watercolor as the ink is opaque than watercolors. And mistakes made with ink wash are difficult to fix. It is a good idea to work with a test paper first.

Ink wash painting uses tonality and shading achieved by varying the ink density, both by

differential grinding of the ink stick in water and by varying the ink load and pressure

within a single brushstroke. Like with watercolor, lighter values of colors are created by

thinning the ink with water.  The more water present in the mixture, the lighter

the value.

Ink wash painting artists spend years practicing basic brush strokes to refine their brush

movement and ink flow. In the hand of a master, a single stroke can produce astonishing

variations in tonality, from deep black to silvery gray. Thus, in its original context,

shading means more than just a dark-light arrangement: It is the basis for the beautiful

nuance in tonality found in East Asian ink wash painting and brush-and-ink calligraphy.

Brushstrokes are carefully studied, with calligraphy masters spending years perfecting

their strokes. Though today colored inks are widely available, black is still the most

common ink used.

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3) luminous painting

is made from special paints that exhibit luminescence. In other words, it gives off  visible light through fluorescence, phosphorescence, or radiolumi