The Sponging Technique by The Chapel’s Symon May

chesponging_panel1Symon May used an unusual source of inspiration – his children – to create this unique colouring technique. You never know when your next lightbulb moment will strike…

“I was inspired to create the sponge print while having dinner with my two small sons, who are both under three,” Symon explains. “We had put up some of their paintings in the kitchen, and whenever I see their art I am reminded of Picasso’s quote: ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up’.”


Symon decided to focus on four classic children’s painting techniques: sponge printing, hand printing, scribbling and what he calls The Splurge – a mix of two opposing colours. “I set to work on a mannequin and had a lot of fun playing around with the different methods,” he says.


Here, Symon reveals how he created the final look:

Step 1: I pre-lightened a panel in a disconnected triangle in the front of the hair using Redken Flash Lift, and darkened the rest using Redken chromatics 3n and 1ab, making sure to lay each pre-lightened section exactly over the last to form a band.

Step 2: Instead of applying the colour in straight horizontal lines across the model’s hair, I made the lines a bit off-kilter and diagonal. Taking bands of 1cm-width hair, I then applied the colour.

Step 3: Working section by section, I carefully applied the children’s art sponge shapes to the pre-lightened band in a range of primary shades. It’s important to apply them directly on the head with minimal pressure, or the shape becomes distorted. I used stars, triangles, squares, crosses and circles.

Colour: Symon May
Hair: Gary Russell
Photography: Nick Matthews
Make-up: David Hynes


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