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.
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.
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 🙂
For me the most important aspect of any portrait, be it animal or human is the eyes. The eyes need to capture the essence of the animal or person and if these are wrong the whole portrait is wrong.
Once the eyes were right I began to develop this portrait by laying out in the lightest colours, the shape of the face.
Doing this lets me see the shape the face needs to take as well as allowing me to begin to build up the layers of colour. The slower I work the better the result. Pale layers first then gradually getting darker whilst paying attention to the colours I can see in the fur. Darkest darks and lightest lights are important to lay in.
I also build up the fur slowly and again by starting light and moving towards dark.
Being careful to pick out the colours that make up the White fur is very important as this again helps to give depth. By laying in the short fur first then moving towards the longer fur I can adjust the shape as I go until the portrait is complete.
What at is so important here is that it not only looks like no carries the energy and character of the pet.
This is a portrait of my last pet who sadly is no longer with us.
I used mainly Faber Castell Polychromos along with a few Derwent Coloursoft and worked on Fabiano Ingres paper.
Needless to say this is not and never will be for sale.
The next stage for me was to work on the jewellery whilst at the same time starting to add some colour to her blouse which is made of lace.
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.
I could string this out over as many weeks as I’ve spent on the painting but I won’t 🙂 Colour pencil work is very slow, the building up layers to cover the white paper and develop density of colour takes time. Each of the work in progress images I share on here represents a minimum of three hours work. This does of course include any drawing I needed to do to act as a guide.
These next images show the development of the artificial flowers in the headdress.
I have been working away on my latest piece of art work for some weeks and now that it’s heading towards completion I thought it was time to begin sharing it.
The first images show how I built up the skin tones and depth of colour working on Bristol Board and using a mix of Coloursoft and Polychromo pencils.
I apologise for the angle of the images and the quality but the rear facing camera on my iPad which I use for work in progress snaps isn’t working and so a combination of contortions are needed to get these with the forward facing camera.
The photo reference is my own and was taken in Havana, Cuba. The woman was sat in a square in the town reading fortunes.
This picture of Kilbrittain Village, Co.Cork Ireland where I live and is from a reference photograph by local photographer Mick McNamara. It is coloured pencil on paper once again.
Clicking on the image will bring up an enlarged image for you to see