Friday, October 17, 2008

About Colored Pencil - Why I love it

We had a set of Prismacolors around the house because John used to be a sign painter and they were handy for little sketches. Like most folks, I guess, I never thought of them as an art material for adults!

A couple of books later and lots of time lurking at WetCanvas!, an artist website, and I learned some basic techniques that I tried out and turned around and stretched this way and that to find my own way in this medium.

Here's why I prefer colored pencil for my colored work most of the time: The lush colors and the details! Just think, a dot tinier than a pinhead. A line thinner than a thread..all possible.

But wait, if you turn the pencil lead on its side, you can block in large areas, just like with wet paint. And since it has translucence, you can build and mix color, just like with watercolor.

So to me, it's the best of both worlds of drawing and painting. In fact, we colored pencil artists often argue about whether to call full color works like Tulley here a drawing or a painting. I go back in forth myself! It's pigment ... just like with paint.. with a different binder to hold it together.

Another fabulous feature of colored pencil is the portability and lack of mess and toxins. I work on the train...every day (in fact, I've sold on the train but that's another story!). Outdoors, on the couch watching the Phillies, anywhere! Got 10 minutes? You can color pencil! Can't do any of the above with paints. Or pastels, which are messy and toxic.

I like to play with art and do dabble in other media from time to time, but besides the woodcut block relief printing, for my portraits and for my other colored "paintings", I always come back to colored pencils.

Some people claim it doesn't have the respect that wet media do. I think that's just because it needs to be better known. Colored pencil pieces win lots of best of shows (including my Brutus piece, that won a Best of Show as Voted by the Public), have been included more and more often in magazines, and sales certainly prove it's no slouch! But I think there's room for more p.r. regarding the medium and we colored pencil artists ought to provide it. Show more locally. Be prepared to talk about it. Tell your potential customers why you love it!

And go online to support and promote colored pencil artists. That's why I just started a new Colored Pencil group in the brand new American Artists magazine forum. If you haven't visited yet, it's at . So if you're a cp artist, come post and talk! While you're out looking at sites, if you haven't visited my portrait website yet, it's See ya around! Robin


Angela Finney said...

I have fallen in love colored pencils, also. You describe there many advantages well. I will visit your forum on American Artist. Angela

José Carrilho (Go Detail) said...

Hi Robin,

You've done a great work on this one.
The dog looks quite realistic and has a funny and endearing (sp?) expression.
I really like the sensation of sunlight.

Take care,