Monday, September 19, 2011

Colored Pencil Tutorial Part 2

Tutorial Part 1 (9/1/2011)
Prismacolor Charts (updated 11/15/2011)

I've been experimenting and polishing up my technique this summer.  In the last couple weeks, I've been using lots of different types of paper. I really like a smooth paper the best because it is possible to build up many layers of color.  This afternoon I was re-reading a back issue of Somerset Studio and came across an article on colored pencils written by Sherrill Kahn.  In it, she stated that she preferred smooth papers too. It was kinda cool to see where I'd made notes in the margin 12 years earlier. I was lucky enough to learn first from my sister-in-law, Barb.  She is an art teacher and a very talented artist.  I hope these Techniques and Tips will help you. Check out additional info on previous posts.

  • Papers play a key role in the finished project. White is generally best.
  • Texture is described by its tooth, the more tooth the rougher the texture.
  • You do not want a paper with too much surface texture for good color laydown. On the other hand, a fine-grained finish can give a delicate and fine silky line, but it does have reduced color intensity.
  • Experiment: even wood, canvas, pastel cloth, unglazed clay can be good surfaces for art pencils.
Selecting a Palette
  • Avoid buying complete sets with colors you may never use.
  • Buy open stock.
  • Build palette by selecting colors from the hue families arranged around the color wheel.
  • Plastic – for light colors, smooth tooth (for smears)
  • Kneaded – like putty, sketch to fit in any area (will smear a lot!)
  • Handheld portable electric erasers work well to take away a bit of color, add light (I swear by them!)
  • Artgum – never use – takes the ink off
Pencil Sharpener
  • Never use too sharp, it makes a line
  • Manual – lasts longer, cost less, gives greater control in sharpening (buy a good one like Prisma brand or Dux)
  • Electric – gives a very fine point in a short time, less work
Basic Techniques
  • Use light pressure, layer colors on top of each other.
  • NEVER use just one color – 2 colors = 2 dimensions (2 colors + finishing off with white & black
  • Pick two analogous colors (next to each other on the color wheel) some examples:
chartreuse and canary yellow
red and yellow-orange
red and red-violet
pink and red-orange
pink and yellow-orange
pink and red-violet
yellow and yellow-green
blue and blue-green
blue and green
blue and red-violet
blend: scarlet lake to raspberry to orange then yellowed orange
blend: chartreuse to lime peel then olive green
  • Don’t stop too soon with applying color – the more pencil you put down on the paper, the more it will begin to smooth and blend the colors together. Once the surface or “tooth” of the paper is completely filled, the color begins to move more like paint than pencil.
  • A neutral colored cardstock like a tan shade adds to the composition and provides contrast for the lighter colors of pencil that a white background can’t.
  • Stamp in a brown ink rather than black (black gives an outlined and kind of cartoonish look). If you stamp in brown, you can finish off the deepest shadows in black or dark sepia and get wonderful three-dimensional effects.
  • Start with the lighter colors then move to the darker (sky first)
  • Use white with medium pressure on the sides of the object that faces the light.
  • To create depth and texture, use a stylus to press into the paper making a groove or dent. Then when the pencil is rubbed over the top, the indented area will not collect the color and the line remains distinct. A great technique for the veins of a leaf, the whiskers of an animal etc.
Light and Shadow
·        Adds illusion to your artwork – you can create realism, weight, space or height.
·        Light comes from one obvious direction (sun, a lamp, etc.).
·        Shadows are caused by an object blocking the light source so they fall on the opposite side the light is coming from.
Color Theory
  • Use only 3-4 colors in a composition
  • Analogous Complementary Scheme: Count any 3 colors moving around the outer rim of the color wheel, and then look directly across the wheel from one of those 3 colors to find its complement.
    • Select orange, look directly across the color wheel – blue, next to it is blue-green, and to the left is blue-violet.
    • Select red violet (magenta) then count two more colors over to the right - violet and blue violet. Now choose a complement by putting your finger on magenta and following the line directly across the wheel to yellow green.
  • Triads: Three hues equally positioned on a color wheel. The colors are positioned 4 spaces apart from each other on the wheel, and are made of 2 colors from one color temperature, and 1 color from the opposite temperature.
    • Red, yellow (warm colors) and blue (cool color)
    • Green, violet (cool colors) and orange (warm color)
  • Coloring a bush: just one shade of green w/black & white for darker or lighter places = BORING.      Try blue green, yellow green, and either yellow or blue.
Color Suggestions (Prismacolor)
  • grass and leaves:  spring green 913 or apple green 912, and shade with olive green 911 and dark green 908
  • Caucasian skin: light peach 927, and use blush pink 928 for cheeks
  • wood: goldenrod 1034, and shade with burnt ochre 943
  • good color for shading on white: blue slate 1024
  • nice color for blonde hair:  sunburst yellow 917, shaded with burnt ochre 943
  • brown animals like dogs and bears: goldenrod 1034, shaded with mineral orange 1033 or burnt ochre 943 shaded with sienna brown 945
  • crimson red 924 looks great shaded with scarlet lake 923
  • hot pink 993 shaded with magenta 930
Other Tools and Tips
  • Burnishing – layering and blending color on top of each other until the entire image is covered. Then use a white or very light color with heavy pressure to blend or burnish the colors together. You can then relayer color over the burnished area.
  • When completely done, and you want a smoother finish; use a rough paper towel or a tissue to polish for a minute or two. This will give a very smooth, even texture (it won't accept more color at this point).
  • You can also blend with a stiff bristle brush.
  • To lighten, lift off color with masking tape – apply and burnish, then pull off.
  • Pencil extenders are a must. They add length to pencil stubs that are too short and allow you to get every last bit of use out of your pencils! On one end is a wooden, pencil type of shaft, and the other end there is a metal ferrule and locking ring.
  • Since they have a very soft lead, you have to treat them gently. If they were ever dropped or manhandled at some point, the lead inside can break easily. The lead inside the wood casing ends up in pieces, so when you go to use them the small pieces of lead can just fall out.
Borgeson, Bet. (1998). Colored Pencil for the Serious Beginner. Watson-Guptill, New York.

Brethauer, Dave. (2000). Stamp in Color Techniques for Enhancing Your Artwork. Martingale & Company, Rothwell, WA.

Caiaccia, Laura. (2000). All About Color: Special Issue. The Rubber Stamper Magazine.

Dowal, Dina. Mama Dini’s Stamperia. August 29, 2011.

Gimbel, Debbie. (1999). Totally Useful Color Theory For Stampers. Inky Antics Rubber Stamps, Cleveland.

Jusko, Donald A. Real Color Wheel. August 29, 2011.

River City Rubber Works (1999). Colored Pencil Tips & Techniques For Rubber Stampers. Wichita KS: Dana DeCicco.

Sallee, Kasie. The Art of Life. August 29, 2011.

Schoenfeld, Robin. (2002, July/August). Color Theory 101. Expression, 58-66.