Thank you for your patience as the “mid-July” return of the comic turns into an August start. For your amusement: my very, very crude first attempt-in-progress at working in encaustics.


Encaustic is the wax-based painting method of the Greeks and Romans that was used for, among other things, portraits on wood, some of which would have been framed and hung on walls in homes. There was both a cold-wax and a hot-wax method, and I’m trying the hot version. And doing a profile, because that was the easiest. Luckily, you can get started in encaustics by re-purposing some household and art-supply items (hot plate, grill thermometer, natural-bristle brushes, paint-stripping heat gun) instead of having to invest in a lot of pricey new art supplies (other than the wax paint itself). But it’s going to take a lot of practice to match the skill of the ancient masters of portraiture.

The convenient thing about this medium (as opposed to pen and ink or watercolour) is that I can keep fussing with it and redoing bits pretty much indefinitely.


Searching for “Fayum portraits” will show many stunning examples that have survived. Some show the brush/tool strokes, some have heavy impasto (thick, sculpted paint), some are smoothly blended. Here are a few from during or around Felix’s day: