Sunday, May 15, 2011

Colored Pencil Tips

I've just been reading this month's issue of Colored Pencil, a wonderful magazine created by Ann Kullberg*. Each issue contains a gallery of CP work, and following a link to a painting of a monarch butterfly (very much like one I'm trying to work on) brought me to Denise Howard's website and some amazing CP art.

One post in particular caught my eye, on organizing colored pencils. I have collected several sets in the last two years, thanks to a generous friend and my two wonderful cats, but have to keep them in their original containers since I am torn between organizing by color (meaning that different brands are together) and displaying by brand (in which case I could as well keep them in the sets). This post expanded on a notion that I've seen elsewhere to use PVC pipe, but this time the pipe is really wide (2.5 inches). And now I have the happy notion of placing them on a circular piece of foamcore board for better access to the pencils. I'm already happy imagining a nice lazy susan where I can have pencils sorted by primary and secondary colors (maybe even warm and cool, hmmm), neutrals, greys, and in the center a logical place for rulers, erasers, and the other accoutrements that we tend to acquire.

Just thinking about this has my creative juices flowing, so it's just as well that I won't be able to go to Home Depot for a few days yet.

*I cannot recommend Ann Kullberg's website and magazine highly enough. I've been subscribing to Colored Pencil (formerly From My Perspective) since the beginning of 2010, and recently took advantage of a marvellous sale to purchase 11 CDs of back issues, so now I have the entire set. (Yes, I like to collect sets.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Well, they're not shakers but they do the job

The Every Day in May challenge is on Day 4 and I'm keeping up so far. I dug out my poor little combination salt shaker and pepper grinder... both sections were empty. I season my food when I cook it (whenever that is), so there's no need to add these condiments at the table. And it's a pain to keep refilling them; the jumbo size works well!

Lessons learned from today's exercise:
1. I'm getting a bit better with the darks. I'm somewhat hampered by my range of colors since I'm using Koh-i-Noor colored pencils and there's no rich deep red like Tuscan Red or Alizarin Crimson. Nonetheless, I think I conveyed the idea of the multicolored grains without drawing each one. (Yes, look carefully and you'll see that I started out doing that. Found a quicker way.)
2. These colored pencils are quite soft and thus don't maintain a sharp point. I'm inclined to try Derwent Studio pencils another time to see if they'll work a bit better on this paper.
3. The paper! 74lb which should take a few layers before crumbling. I think it does, but I don't think it has a really nice texture. It's not rough. Just... somewhat dry. And gets dirty VERY easily!
4. I do like the composition. It could do with some improvements in many ways, but I like cutting off both containers at the sides and then one at the top and the other at the bottom. I may explore this idea further.

Koh-i-Noor colored pencils and Micron pen

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How I keep fit

When you have two sets of stairs in your house, you HAVE to climb them and thus you get an automatic fitness workout. Thank heavens!! So, welcome to the top of the stairs leading to the second floor landing. Once again, my darks just aren't quite there. The flowers are a bit iffy as well. I added the pot because the area seemed bare, but obviously I didn't have a real model to draw from! Baby steps.

Koh-i-Noor colored pencils.

Monday, May 2, 2011

More power to the plugs!

Day TWO of the Every Day in May challenge: Draw a power plug. These two were side by side, peacefully on my desktop, and so naturally there was an instant title...

I found a sketchbook I haven't used in a few months, so I decided to make an EDiM kit: Koh-i-Noor colored pencils (set of 24), pen, pencil and various necessary accoutrements.

Pears for Vicki

Had these two pears sitting in a photo for a while now... from a colored pencil workshop that I took about a year ago. Changed some colors and the setting, did a lot of burnishing.

I want to reach a stage where my strokes don't show. I know it's one technique, but somehow they look very scattered. It's all about control.

Prismacolor and Polychromos colored pencils on yellow cardstock.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Every Day in May #1


One simple word, so many ways to think about it. This is a bar of my favorite soap (you may need to rotate the image clockwise to figure it out).

This is done with colored pencils (Faber-Castell and Prismacolor) on purple paper.

Lessons learned:
  • NEVER, NEVER use thin paper. I chose the purple because it matched what I wanted to do, but it took only about 3 layers of pencil, and the surface was unstable. Those little dots scattered throughout are bits of the paper that came off and were pencilled in... and I was using a VERY light touch.
  • Get with the darks. Even with some post-scanning enhancement, the picture doesn't look the way that it did on the paper. Of course, my darks couldn't be as good as I'd have wanted, because the darned paper wouldn't accept any more!
Well, there are 30 more days to go. And improvement each time.