Monday, October 17, 2011

Colored Pencils

I love colored pencils. Lets be honest, I love pencils, colored or otherwise.

Colored pencils have changed over the years. They have gone beyond those hard, lightly colored things we used as children. What has been happening with colored pencils thought is not short of being amazing. Pencil manufacturers have worked diligently to create pencils that are quality art tools.

Still there is a stigma to using them. Because colored pencils, like crayons are art supplies given to children, many artist and art critics dismiss them as child’s play. This is unfair, because many artists are missing some fantastic artistic experiences. This in general is how many view anything drawn. It is seen as preliminary, not serious artwork. This is prep work for serious art, not artwork in and of itself.

Both artists and art organizations are working to overcome this perception. Colored Pencil Society of America

Colored Pencils

How have they changed?

There are now many, many options for colored pencils. Each year a new brand comes out, new colors or a new format. One of the drawbacks of color pencil is that they are hard to make corrections. To get around this, a lot of CP artists do their layout drawings in graphite, then use transfer paper to get the basic outlines on the paper. Or they draw directly on the paper with graphite. Problem with this is that graphite and wax-based colored pencils don’t really like each other. You have to lighten the graphite lines a lot, and then hope you are not left with remnants that contaminate the colored pencil later.

Last year, with the recommendation of other artists in CPSA, I tried erasable colored pencils. Yes, erasable. Prismacolor has this great product, Col-Erase. I got a set of 24 to try out.

These are erasable colored pencils. Really. So erasable they come with erasers on the tips, like our familiar #2 pencils. Now you can do the initial drawing with colored pencil, eliminating any need to use graphite.

So how do they work?

Well, I am doing a couple of miniature drawings for the 11th Annual National Miniature Exhibition. I will use my Col-Erase for the layout and first underpainting of two of them. Come along and see what you think.

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