Learning colored pencils

This entry was posted by on Sunday, 8 June, 2014 at

Having studied and practiced basic drawing & portrait sketching in graphite for the last 8 months, I figured it was time to learn something about color. Paint seems a bit too messy, so I was drawn to colored pencils for their portability (just like graphite). I took another online course in colored pencil techniques, and there are definitely some resemblances to oil paint — the fancy sorts of colored pencils (Prismacolors) are wax based, and can be blended much like oil paints.

The online video course walked me through exercises and techniques — e.g. learning how to create 12 distinct colors from single pencil just by varying hand pressure, mixing with white, mixing with clear wax (a.k.a. “blender” pencils), and even using solvent to melt the wax.

The final assignment was to sketch an apple, then trace the sketch twice onto a piece of thick bristol paper. I was then supposed to color the same apple in two different scenarios: once while sitting on a piece of red construction paper, and then again while sitting on a piece of blue construction paper. The exercise was supposed to demonstrate how the background alters our perception of the apple’s colors. Sure enough, the two apples below aren’t the same colors. (It’s probably made even more interesting by my partial red/green color blindness!) Still, I got to use white-out (er, liquid white mask) to protect highlighted areas, masking tape to make the borders, solvent to melt and blur, and blender wax to mix colors. Definitely a lot of fun! My next challenge is to see if I can apply some color to my graphite portraits…

Apples -- colored pencil on bristol board

My full DeviantArt gallery of portraits can be seen over here.