I recently finished a Colour Pencil Certificate with the London Art College. It’s distance learning but with a tutor to whom you submit assignments and in return receive useful and constructive teaching/feedback. In the blurb it said that the course work takes around 6 months but that students have up to two years to finish which was just as well as I took 23 months. I’m not sure whether it’s that I work slowly, if I miscalculated the time,or if I took lots of breaks, but it was suggested to take 8-10 hrs for each piece of work whereas they took me anything from 25hrs to 60hrs +!
Anyway, I am now all done and very happy to have received a Distinction 🙂
I was also asked to write a blog post about my assignments for the college and if you are interested you can click here to read my blog and see my course work in its entirety.
In the blog I include my current WIP which is in fact now finished and so I will include the completed work here, slipped behind a mount so it gives some idea of how it will look when its ready to be framed.
The last two pieces I have worked on have involved fabric. The next piece I do I am hoping to take a break from it although as I have so many lovely photos from our last trip which was to Japan, many of which involve kimonos that might be easier said than done.
Having said that I have learnt so much about making fabric look like fabric that it has all been good practice. For me the secret has been not to look just at the colour but at the flow of the fabric, the lines that it takes and to make my strokes follow them. Now I am writing about it I realise that it is a bit like doing animal fur, making the lines follow the direction that something lies in rather than doing mown thing.
It’s not finished yet, it’s still a work in progress but I am getting there 🙂
My struggle the last couple of weeks has been not to use one or the other but to work out how Luminance and Polychromos work together and to understand the similarities and differences.
Before I purchased Luminance pencils I sought information online from others who used them. Apart from one person who sold theirs on because they couldn’t get on with them, everyone else seemed to love them. I read reviews as well as comparisons but really the only way is to try them for yourself.
If I had made my mind up last week I’d have been all set to box them back up but two weeks in I am beginning to appreciate Luminance. They are though very different to Polychromos and its taken me this long to work out why, apart from one being wax and the other oil that is.
Where Polychromos are translucent, like to be layered gently, building up the colour to something vibrant and glowing, Luminance are opaque, soft, mute almost and don’t like being layered as much. When you use a light coloured Polychromos over other Polys it blends, when you do the same with a light colour Luminance it can blend but equally it can shift the lower layers around, I’ve yet to find the tipping point but I am sure I will.
Last blog post I thought I’d been using Polys on top of Luminance but this time I tried on top, underneath and in the middle. Effects are different but they work all ways now I understand them a bit more 🙂
This is still a WIP but with every little bit I do, as with everything, I am learning a little more.
I hadn’t anticipated how difficult it would be to introduce some new coloured pencils in to the mix. After all I had worked reasonably successfully with two different types, mixed oil and wax based ones and managed to blend them with a Derwent blender as well as simply by using the pencils themselves. I had worked on several different types of paper, adapted and not run into problems so why now?
I’d like to be able to answer that but really I have no idea. Nor do I have any idea why having reverted to using Bristol Board, which has been my go to paper recently, and having decided to stick to just the Luminance pencils I should find myself picking up a Polychromos pencil and then working quite happily with both types with none of the previous problems.
Looking back at the last couple of days I have worked, I wish now I had paid more attention to what I was doing. I do think though that, as far as I can recall, I have mainly used Polychromos on top of Luminance. Whatever I I have been doing though it seems to have worked and not a solvent or blender in sight 🙂
From now on I will try and be more aware of how I am working to see if I can shed some light on this, both for my own satisfaction and also to help anyone else in the same position.
This though is my progress so far, not as clear as it might be as it was taken with my phone and then cropped. I will try and do better next time 🙂
It’s some time since I posted any updates of my latest work in progress but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. I’ve been busy developing and building up the layers to make the work come to life. I’ve still some way to go but thought I’d share the stages that have got me as far as I presently am.
I hope that if anyone reading this is just starting out with coloured pencils these images will give them some idea of how much layering is needed at every stage. I know I certainly didn’t appreciate this when I began using the medium.
An actual photo taken in daylight 🙂
Whilst today is dark and dreary again and even with my daylight lamp I have given up working, the other day it was sunny and light so I managed to take a photo in better light conditions.
The Banyan Tree is now completely finished and I am moving on to the trees on the right hand side which will then give me a framework within which to work on the background before tackling the two figures which are really the focus of the piece.
Whilst working on this I have been converting some new pencils. I don’t need any but like most artists I love new tools of any kind and pencils are no different.
Prismacolours are the most affordable and have such lovely colours but I do know they are prone to breaking and can cause problems. Luminance are so expensive and far fewer in number but do have such a good reputation although I did hear of someone who sold hers as she couldn’t get on with them.
If I did buy any more I would really need to think about storage. If I did this then I would probably need to see about setting up a proper work space rather than working on my lap in the conservatory where I have light, warmth and often company, a place and way of working that suits me. So for now I’m sticking with what I’ve got….today at least 🙂
Hope this is in focus enough to make out. I really should take photos while there is daylight rather than when the light is going. Its not that it’s particularly dark today but dusk comes quicker and earlier than I anticipate especially when the day has been reasonably light for a change.
Anyway, today has been about working on the Bayan Tree, bringing some deeper areas behind what was there and deepening the layers on some of the tree. Its amazing how I can think I’ve finished an area only to realise there are more layers to go still. It makes me realise how much more work I could have done on some of my earlier pieces of CP work. Still that’s what its all about isn’t it….working….practicing….learning…..developing….. and hopefully improving.
You may also be able to make out a few paler areas to the right where I have started to lay in some of the other trees and leaves a little more. When I have finished the Bayan Tree this is where I am going next.
I have been waiting for the chance to scan in the finished piece in order to share an image that is straight for once. The problems of not having a working read facing camera on the iPad cannot be underestimated!
Clicking on the image will give you an enlarged version.
I used a mixture of Derwent Coloursoft and Faber Castell Polychromos and worked on Fisk Bristol Board.
The lace blouse was done with soft blues, mauves, grey and grey white along with some additional reflected colours. Trying to keep the colours soft while at the same time making sure the patterning of the lace was clear meant lots of breaks to give my eyes a rest. There was still some layering of colours but with much lighter pressure than the headdress for example.
I am changing the size of photos on here as I know some people have been having problems with copy-write infringement and illegal sharing of art work. I hope those I share are clear enough for you to see now.
Clicking on each image will bring up an enlarged image.
In the following photos you can see how the remainder of the artificial flowers and the cloth of the headdress progressed. Once I began to rough in the background the white flower and the colours in it could be seen more. Getting this far also enabled me to come down and work on the neck adding some dark tones and ultramarine blue to the area under the chin.