Interested in painting on windows, maybe for a shop, gallery or cultural institution client? Illustrator and muralist, Dave Bain, put his head together with some muralist friends and adds to his insightful resources for the Site Specific season.

Inside the window or outside the window:

Painting from the inside is best. It will look better when viewed from the outside, which is more important and also more durable, as weather won’t damage it. You can paint on the outside, for a short-term design.


Clean and polish window surface with normal window cleaning products (e.g. Windowlene). Make sure the window is bone dry before starting.


Posca pens work a treat, but will fade over time, especially the warm colours. Poscas tend to last for at least two weeks before showing signs of fading. 

“High opaqueness” acrylic is better for fills, painted thickly with not too much water. If painting from inside, remember to do linework first and then colour-fills second. 

Alternatively, you can use emulsion which works almost as well as acrylic. 

Enamel is best for sticking solidly, but is trickier to apply and costly for large areas.

If a client is worried about getting paint off the glass, then you could use tempura paint.

If painting on outside of glass, then make a base with zinsser and emulsion and roller it on, paint over the top with acrylic and seal with water based varnish.


A rough sponge and hot soapy water tends to most paint and Posca markers off. For tougher paint, scrape off with one of these tools

For more, see our Resource: Site Specific Illustration Basics

Members can download the in depth resource How To get into Site Specific Illustration by Dave Bain

Muralist Dave Bain features on the cover

And check out the Inside Illustration Creative Practice Course, exclusively for AOI Members, where you can take part in one or more of four online sessions for the Site Specific Illustration Season with muralists, sign painters and more.


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