My newest piece of art is of a young boy I saw while on holiday in Japan and gives me chance to try out my newly purchased Caran D’Ache Luminance pencils.
It took me a long time to convince myself to buy these pencils as they are the most expensive artists coloured pencils manufactured at present. They are wax, like my Derwent Coloursoft but seem harder, and softer and quite different from my oil Faber Castell Polychromos. Between the three sets I have a range of colours and consistency of leads. My challenge now is to find a way to make all these pencils work together.
I started this WIP on a Pastelmat paper that I had never used before. New pencils and new paper are not a good idea! I gave up and reverted to some Bockingford HP which I have used many times but I managed to damage the surface of the paper. My go to paper for recent work has been smooth Bristol Board and this became the support for my third attempt.
I decided I would only work with Luminance so that I could get to know them a little. I quickly discovered I needed to use my Polychromos for the detail, i.e. eyes, mouth and ears and also to bring in a slightly deeper strength of colour in places. I was relieved as I did this, to discover first hand what I had perviously heard, that Luminance and Polychromos can be used together 🙂
At the moment I am working on building up skin tones, trying to hang on to the translucence and smoothness of blemish free young skin as I do.
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.
The colours look a little different today as this was taken in the dying daylight rather than under a daylight lamp. I hope its clear enough to make out and isn’t too dark but I wanted to show what the early layers looked like having mentioned it in my last post.
Sometimes this is referred to as underpainting which is a bit misleading really. For me underpainting is what I do when I am using watercolour pencils or watercolour paint to cover the white paper before laying down colour with the coloured pencils. The reason for doing this is because it then takes less coloured pencil to build up the depth of colour afterwards. I sometimes do this if I know I want to leave some watercolour as it is and bring some areas to the fore by overlaying with coloured pencil. Otherwise for me it is just part of the technique of coloured pencil, that of laying down layer upon layer to bring depth of colour to a piece of work.
Anyway, if you look at the picture you can see some leaves that are finished or almost finished and some that have only two or three layers of colour and which look really pale. I have done the same for some of the trees.
I don’t usually work this way as I prefer to complete a section before moving on but in this piece I need to lay in some areas i.e. the leaves and trees so I can see where I am going with the background.
A chilly, wet, miserable day so I set up my daylight lamp and continued working slowly on the piece of work I mentioned yesterday.
I’m reaching a point where I had something to share and knowing how much I enjoy seeing how other people work am happy to post something that has the under layers showing in some areas. I think it always helps to see how much of a mess someone else’s work looks, that way I don’t feel as bad when mine is at that stage 🙂
I have no title for this yet but it is the final piece for my London Art College Coloured Pencil Certificate, the brief for which is ‘people in a scene’. Hopefully you will see the people start to unfold in time.
I am adding two photos, yesterday’s and today’s you can see how much (little) work I managed to get done in about three hours.
Please excuse the photos, a dark day and an LED lamp are not the best combination at all.
The problem with coloured pencil work is that it is very slow, or at least it is for me. With watercolour I can work relatively quickly although I do have to be patient and wait for the paint to dry when working in layers but even that is fast compare to coloured pencils.
I do love coloured pencils though even if it can take an hour or two to complete about 5-10cm on some days.
When I began working with them I hated the pace I was forced to work at, the patience I needed escaped me, until that is I found myself immersed in the work, lost in what I was doing, totally at peace, absorbed and meditative as I worked. What frustrated me once is what I now love.
I also love the way the colours mix on the paper, how layering gives both depth and colour in a way that doesn’t happen with paint. The way a colour is built up of many other colours still fascinates me and has altered the way I look at colour, I believe forever. No longer can I look at white for example without seeing blues, pinks, mauves and sometimes green and yellow.
I haven’t posted here for a while because I was working on a present for friends, and as its of their grandchildren I still don’t feel it’s appropriate to share it anywhere. I then spent the last week trying to get the final piece for my Colour Pencil Certificate underway enough to share. It’s going ok but still doesn’t look like anything so I’m going to wait until it does and then will share a couple of work in progress with as far as I’ve got….so watch this space.
It’s not the best photo as I had trouble getting the picture straight but I’m sure you get the idea. It was fun to do and I may get some cards made up from it when I get a proper photo taken.
I was going to save this until it was finished but as I haven’t posted any new work for a while…..here it is 🙂 It’s still a work in progress but hopefully will be finished by the end of the weekend if I work hard.
Its 100% coloured / colored pencil on Bristol Board. Only tiny though, around A5 size.
The art group I paint with has their Christmas exhibition coming up in December and I hope to have some new work to show.
As well as being an artist I am also a holistic therapist and some months ago on my other blog solitarypath I wrote about Adult Colouring Books and Mindfulness. At the time I believed that they worked in the way that drawing or painting with coloured pencils did.
When I work with coloured pencils I lose myself in the work in a way that doesn’t happen with watercolour. I feel a deeper connection with the piece I am working on and I love the slowness that is needed to build the layers to create depth and strength of colour in my work. The more I work the more relaxed and calm I find I become.
On holiday recently, realising I had some long train journeys where I would need something to occupy myself, I purchased an adult colouring book and a small pack of pencils. Settling down with them I discovered that instead of relaxing me into a state of calmness being restricted by the lines filled me full of frustration. Instead of enjoying the process of creating I felt stifled, constrained and something I thought I would never say about any form of creating, I was completely and utterly bored.
I am sure these books fill a much needed gap in the market. It certainly is a market that is growing and Derwent themselves have joined the bandwagon bringing out an adult colouring book and pencil pack. I haven’t seen this yet but I suspect were I to work in it I would feel the same, although if anyone from Derwent should read this I am up for the challenge, and would be happy to be proved wrong.
Has anyone else tried these books? If so what do you think? Is it just me?