Friday 4 May 2012

Coloured Pencil Tips

Scrumbling is a brilliant technique to use. You need a very sharp, needle point on your pencils, and patience.

Lots of Artists say to go in a circular motion with a very light touch. I agree with the light touch, but I've actually used a linear method to great success.

The linear way to go utilizes the lines that your drawing paper naturally has. I use Fabriano 50% cotton paper for most of my colored pencil work. Do note that Fabriano's "right side" is on the OPPOSITE SIDE of the watermark. But, as always, feel free to use the other side if you're more comfortable with that.

The Fabriano paper I use has lines, and so if you follow these lines, you'll get a great linear feel. Also, you could always try to go AGAINST the direction of the lines. I'd think that it would make for interesting patterns.

The Brush Technique:
The Brush Technique. That's what I call it, and only because it's a technique widely used by colored pencil Artists, but doesn't have a coined term yet.


It's relatively simple. You lay on your layers of colored pencils onto the paper and after a couple of layers are done, you blend them using a dry, stiff haired brush.

  At left,  you can see the stiff haired brush I use for this technique.

First layer.

After brushing. You can't really see the effect on camera, but try it yourself and you'll be amazed at the difference it can make.

I was apprehensive about this technique at first because Prismacolors are wax based pencils and I thought a brush wouldn't be able to push the pigments around. I tried the technique just for a test, and I've been using the technique ever since.

What's the use of a colorless blender?:
In the past, I bought a colorless blender in the form of a pencil. I use Prismacolors to draw, thus, their line of colorless blender is just pure wax. However, I didn't really like it because it just built up wax on the paper and I couldn't get an more pigment onto the paper subsequently.

However, I've found a good use for the colorless blender stick. You can use it to lighten colors. Yes. Have you ever had to draw an object that had the slightest hint of a colour, but then found that even the lightest colour that you had was too dark for the job? Well, then a colorless blender will work wonders.

The point of it, (pardon the pun) is that you sharpen your colorless blender to a point, then very lightly lay a layer of it on the paper. It works better if the colorless blender is the first layer on your paper because then, more wax will lay on and your colors will be lighter. After the layer of colorless blender, you lay on the color that you want, and it'll magically be lighter.

  The swab on the extreme left in the photo above shows colorless blender laid only in the middle, to show clearly how colorless blender can lighten your layers.

Brilliant, isn't it?

The Use Of Turpentine, Zest It, and Other Solvents:
I've not tried any solvents for my Art before. One of the reasons is that you have to buy quite a large quantity here, and that some solvents are harmful to your health. Like turpentine, for example. Other substitutes like alcohol sound alright, and I've heard good reviews about Zest It.

However, another reason is that I feel overworking the paper makes the subject loose it's "life". In my Dad's words, "You'll work the paper to death, and the objects in your painting will not be able to so-called breathe."

I'm all up for the Brush Technique and a sharp pencil point with a lot of scrambling (see above) as a substitute for solvents. But it's an artistic choice. And it's your choice, at that.

My rule of thumb is "a little goes a long way." I try not to overuse anything.

What about you? What's your take on solvents? Leave your comments below telling me whether you FOR or AGAINST solvents, and why.

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