Painterly Pencils

As fun as it is to make create imagery with colored pencils, it seems as if more could be done with this media.  Of course when you are working with them you can definately use them to create very vibrant drawings. 

If you take your time your drawing can be layered with super rich and vibrant color. 

There are several different brands of colored pencils to choose from, but for our project I decided to buy a decent quality brand that wasn’t too costly.  When I went shopping, I found these pencils and wanted to give them a try.  These are made by a German company called Lyra.  The pencils retailed at 4.99 and came with a bonus pencil sharpener!  That was a very nice feature.  Another nice quality, is that these pencils have been shaped with a special grip.  As you can see they have circles carved throughout.

The idea for this project is to make the color from the pencil more painterly.  By that I mean, working with the lead to create the feel of a painting rather than a drawing, or a combination of the two. 

For our project the supplies are simple all you will need are cotton swabs, watercolor paper, your colored pencils, and a bottle of rubbing alcohol, a piece of masonite or glass, and blue masking tape. 

A note about the paper.  This pad I chose specifically, because it was on sale.  Secondly, the size is a standard size that can easily be framed.  Finally, the paper is quite sturdy with a rough surface.  I found that the paper did not easily wear out.

The very first step in beginning this project is to tape your paper down to your masonite.  As I have demonstrated in previous articles, make sure that the tape is securely on the paper and that it covers at least a quarter of an inch all the way around.

Once your paper is secure, you can begin to make your drawing.  Draw whatever you like, the possibilites are endless.  For my project I decided to work with a few still lifes.  I grabbed whatever objects I had around the house and set them up in a place that I could see them easily.  My daughters created imagery that they had in their minds.

When drawing be sure to notice the coloring in your object.  You want to be sure to incorporate as many visible colors as possible. 

Don’t be afraid to look at your object, and really add color where you see it. 

Where you see areas that have darker shadows use the colors that match.  Where you see areas that have lighter colors do the same.

Once you have added the first layers, you can prepare to use your alcohol.  Grab a container and pour in a small amount of alcohol.  For this project, I used a metal measuring cup.  Take a cotton swab, place it in the alcohol and begin to rub your drawing.

It does’t matter where you begin, you can begin in an area where the color is darker and work your way to where the colors are lighter.  Use a clean cotton swab in the areas where the colors are lighter to preserve the colors.

As you can see, when you apply the alcohol to the drawing the color will spread and blend together.  This creates the color wash resembling a painting. 

Once you have fully covered the surface of your paper, allow your drawing to dry thoroughly. 

After the painting is completely dry, add another layer of color to the entire drawing.  This will make the colors more rich, and more lively.  Repeat the steps with the alcohol until you feel satisfied with your drawing.  Allow your drawing to dry completely.  Remove the tape, and you have a beautiful painterly drawing

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