At first I was using large store bought tortillas. And while they are large at first, when I cooked them they would shrink by as much as half. This restriction on paintable area artificially limited my ability to create timeless pieces. So I found a tortilla manufacturer (Tortilleria) who makes me tortillas around 28” and larger.
When I first get the tortillas they look like normal store bought tortillas so I first have to dry them naturally. During this time I have to be especially careful since they are very brittle and can easily break. After a couple of days of drying, I then heat them over a stove's open flames.
You could say this is the most important part of preparing the tortillas because these burn marks create the unique patterns you find in my tortilla art. Because of this process, no two pieces are the same. This gives each one its own personality and can transform the image from one piece to another.
Once I’m satisfied with each individual tortilla's burn marks I then coat them with several layers of varnish on both sides. This helps to protect the tortillas and gives it the strength, flexibility, and durability needed for my art.
Since each tortilla has its own unique burn marks I use that as the inspiration for what I will paint. At any one time, I'm usually working with several tortillas. This way I have a choice of what I am painting based on the tortillas unique patterns.