Monday, April 25, 2016

Using Wax Blender Pencil

Working on a dark background can present real challenges for colored pencil. Unlike oil paints, you cannot count on pigments to overshadow the dark underlayment. Also, you do not get the reflective qualities of Titanium white, which is why canvases are usually coated in white paint before you start painting.

Titanium white is highly reflective. That is why it is chosen for this under layer. As the light passes through the layers of oil paint, it is reflected back and brighten by Titanium white.

White and super white papers perform the same function for colored pencils. Many do not realized just how transparent colored pencils are. But they are. Not as transparent as watercolors, but someplace more transparent than Quash. Now, you can get very good, very dramatic results using colored or toned papers and backgrounds, but you do have to know how to work with it.

For the small Heron drawing, on a dark toned paper from Colourfix, I am using a combination of studio white pencils, and a clear wax blender pencil from Prisma color. Putting down a layer of pure binder wax, which is what a blender pencil is, will give me a good base to blend in the many, many shades of white/blue and gray that make up this bird.

On this blue/gray background the pure wax is leaving a coating of white wax that will allow great blending. It will also add to the drama of the finished piece, acting as a reflecting layer underneath the pigmented layers.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Starting New Colored Pencil Pieces Part 2


Part 2


 Supporting the Art.


There are many, many surfaces you can use for colored pencil.


Anything you can drawing is valid. 

You can draw on paper, wood, copper, velum, tiles. There are few surfaces, however design with colored pencil in mind. Many multi-media papers list colored paper among the media acceptable, but many are actually difficult to use. 

What you choose depends totally on the end results you wish.  

Just about any surface that will accept charcoal or pastels has enough tooth to use. One consideration is just how much it can take. 

Charcoal papers tend to be thinner, lighter than pastel. With all the layering most Colored pencil artist do, most charcoal and even standard drawing papers tend to be too light and thin to take it.

Heavier pastel papers work well, and toned papers lend themselves to dramatic results.

I have been using Colourfix toned pastel papers for my more recent colored pencil pieces. They help to set the tone of the pieces, as well as providing excellent tooth and support for colored pencil. The rough, sandpaper finish provided more than enough tooth to hold multiple layers of colored pencil, and allowing the work and rework of the medium. It is also thick enough to allow the use of watercolor pencils, water, and solvent washes. All in all. a good choice.

For the Heron, I want the bird to stand out against the dim background, very similar to the mood of the location when I photographed the bird. It was in a dense forest setting, rather dim. And I want this feeling to come through the drawing.

For the landscape, I really want the humid, overgrown nature of the landscape to be highlighted. The medium toned paper will set the tone of the light, allowing me to go both darker and lighter. The photo was taken at the Brookgreen Gardens in North Carolina. Here, Many of the iconic plants of the south are on display.




Monday, April 11, 2016

Starting New Colored Pencil Pieces Part 1


Sometimes simply finding something you are sufficiently interested in to carry to completion is the actual artistic challenge.


While many scenes might catch your interest, is there enough there for carry though? What might keep your interest for  a quick sketch, a 20 minute drawing or afternoon painting will not hold enough interest for what can be days or even weeks in colored pencil.


Like a fine oil painting, working in colored pencil can take time. For a large piece this can be a major investment in time and effort.


Creating a work of art is more than simply copying a photograph. While a good photograph can be a good beginning, each artist adds/subtract, enhances, edits and refines whatever reference material she/he has.


Any work of art starts with an idea.