As my artist's statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance. -- Calvin and Hobbes

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

#13 Colored Pencil; 31 days of Rhinos

#13 Colored Pencil; 31 days of Rhinos
Colored Pencil on Bristol Smooth

Pencils are fun, portable and require no water. So, a pretty neat way to do art on the go. It's like crayons for grownups. only harder.

This sketch was done fairly quickly, without as much layering detail as I would normally use. I use colored pencil fairly routinely for miniature portraits, but I often take as long to finish one as I would any painting. This quicker sketch illustrates that you can use a lot of colors to create your tones; blues, tans, yellows, browns, grays. A lot more fun than just Graphite, right?! The only drawback is that you do have to acknowledge that the colors exist in the picture! Do you think that is a funny thing to say? Well, when you see a gray rhino, do you naturally think to apply blue and yellow?

We talked about charcoal being just about the oldest media, probably anyway. Raw charcoal is quite soft and comes in sticks that get our hands very dirty and also in pencil form. Graphite is like the gold standard of coal, the premium stuff and much harder. ...Then there are colored pencils, made from pigments mixed with a binder of resin, wax or gum, then made into the pencil form we get at the art store. I wasn't really able to find much history on the medium and what I did find indicated that as an art form it's only been around about 20 years..Well, of course I had colored pencils 20 years ago, but I am fairly confident that this art form wasn't widely accepted in Galleries. Perhaps it's time is still to come, but it will continue to be a favorite for me as an illustrator, and if you like to draw plants, it's the tops!
Good colored pencils get pricey. If you want to play, you could buy a cheap starter kit for under $20. If you decide you like it you can move forward with the mega sets. The difference is that the cheap kit will have less pigment in it, making it harder even harder to get a nice image, and possibly turning you off colored pencils. But, still, try a little before you invest.

Paper is really important! Did I mention that paper is soooo important. On this piece, I thought I was being clever to use Bristol Smooth, but it became apparent very quickly to me that you can render more lifelike images on regular drawing paper, printmaking paper or pastel paper; something with a little texture and which is porous. I like to use a lot of layers to work the magic. This is where it comes to life. I wasn't able to really accomplish that goal with this exercise.

Colored pencil as an art form is not really well accepted as "high end" to put it gently, but it is gaining in popularity. It's a great media for illustration and cartoon rendering, but I'll be honest with you; it is kinda challenging if you are going for realism. It takes a little practice, but you can get there! Remember, don't be afraid to share. I am (again) finding it liberating to post something that I would otherwise think to be sub par. Let it go, and enjoy the process!

I hope this at least gets you a little interested in this medium!
It's so good to not be sick anymore.
See you tomorrow.

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  1. Love it Rebecca. I think you have mastered so many mediums. I too like to work in colored pencil and they are easy to carry with you to appt and things where you may have waiting time. I have seen some fabulous color pencil pieces that you can not tell were pencil.

  2. Thanks, Marlene. I think you will win an award for actually commenting on every post! You are awesome!


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