American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To soften the colors or outlines of (a painting or drawing) by covering with a film of opaque or semiopaque color or by rubbing.
- v. To blur the outlines of: a writer who scumbled the line that divides history and fiction.
- n. The effect produced by or as if by scumbling.
- n. Material used for scumbling.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- In oil-painting, to blend the tints or soften the effect of, by lightly passing a brush charged with a small quantity of an opaque or semiopaque coloring over the surface; in chalk - or pencil-drawing, to rub lightly the blunt point of the chalk over the surface of, or to spread and soften the harder lines of with the stump: as, to scumble a painting or a drawing.
- n. A softened effect produced by scumbling. See scumbling.
- n. An opaque kind of glaze (layer of paint).
- v. to apply an opaque glaze to an area of a painting to make it softer or duller
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. (Fine Arts) To cover lighty, as a painting, or a drawing, with a thin wash of opaque color, or with color-crayon dust rubbed on with the stump, or to make any similar additions to the work, so as to produce a softened effect.
- n. the application of very thin coat of color over the surface of a picture
- Uncertain origin, perhaps from scum. (Wiktionary)
- Possibly from scum. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Where conditions were right (neither too much nor too little sun, for instance up near the house itself) a scumble of colors occurred in Spring, attracting swarms of bees and butterflies — among these: Silver-spotted Skippers (Epargyreus clarus clarus) and American Coppers (Lycaena phlaes americana) — in abundance.”
“If it's a transparentized scumble or glaze layer, it sure has lost a lot of opacity.”
“Could one use the wax as a glaze then scumble oil paint over it?”
“From 18 inches away the scumble looks so painterly as to feel too sloppy... from 10 feet away, the effect is astonishingly lifelike, present.”
“When I did comics I was always fighting the detail issue; when to scumble in a background, when to draw it out in detail, and when to just leave it out entirely...”
“Where the form turns more to the light in the brightly illuminated halftones, you can scumble a light tone overall, saving your strongest touches of pure white for the highlights and accents.”
“Merriam-Webster defines “scumble” as partly “to make as color or a painting less brilliant by covering with a thin coat of opaque or semiopaque color.””
“She chose “The Last Lunar Baedekar” by Mina Loy, to scumble and work over to create her own startling and original poems.”
“I should advise you to let it dry, and then scumble a middle tone right over the whole thing, as you did at first, which will show the old work through, and you can then correct your drawing and proceed to paint the lights and shadows as before.”
“Now scumble this with a big brush equally over the whole canvas (or whatever you are making your study on).”
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