Monday, December 21, 2009

Colored Pencils - Tools of the Trade

So, let's talk a little bit about the actual pencils that are used in colored pencil art.  Most people will be tempted to go cheap and pick up a set at a dollar store or in the kid's section of a hobby store.  If you are really serious about creating art with colored pencil you will avoid this temptation like the plague

What's the Difference?

Here's the deal. Colored pencils are a combination of a pigment and a medium.  Normally that medium is either wax or a combination of wax and clay.  The problem with cheap colored pencils is that they contain way too much wax and not near enough pigment.  The result is that your drawing will end up with so
much wax that you can't possibly get enough pigment on the paper to get the rich colors that you desire.  That is why so many colored pencil pieces look like coloring book drawings.

So don't skimp out.  In order to create the effects that we will be working on here, you will have to have a good quality set of colored pencils.  I recommend either Prismacolor or Derwent.  Both are very good quality.  I personally prefer Prismacolor simply because that is what I started out with and I am comfortable with them.

Color fastness

Some people avoid using colored pencil at all because they fear the color fastness of the medium. They are afraid that the colors will fade over time.  While this may be the case with cheap pencils, there really is nothing to fear with a good quality product unless your finished pieces are going to sit in direct sunlight all of the time.  The pigments in colored pencils are just as colorfast as the pigments that are in watercolor and pastel.  In fact, in many cases, they are the exact same pigments.

If you are still concerned, Prismacolor came out with a line of colorfast pencils not too long ago.  They are a little more expensive, but if you have a serious concern about color fading, you might consider trying them out.

Sets or Individual Pencils?

This is entirely up to you.  If you want to invest the money into a good quality set, go right ahead.  If you are a bit hesitant then try just a few at a time.  As we progress in through these lessons I will tell you exactly
what colors I am using for each project.  so, if you want to just purchase one at a time at a local hobby store, you will eventually end up with a pretty nice set of the colors you will use the most.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The future of PencilPortrait.org

With the recent publication of my new book, The Real World of Pencil Portraits, I have decided to take this site in a slightly new direction.  For many years I have been working with colored pencil.  With the right techniques you can do some amazing thing with the medium.

The first few posts coming up will be mostly about the tools needed for vivid colored pencil artwork.  Then we will start with a small project to learn some basic techniques.  As we move into larger projects we will eventually get into stunning color portrait work.

Here are a couple of examples of my past art to let you know how powerful the colored pencil medium can be.







I want to thank everyone so much for all of the support you have given me since I started this web site. I look forward to hearing from each and everyone of you as we move forward.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Real World of Pencil Portraits

Since I created this site I have received countless requests to publish my lessons in a book that people could take with them or give to loved ones as gifts. You have all encouraged me with your feedback on my pencil portrait lessons, and as I result, I have given you what you have asked for. This is the first in an upcoming series of art instruction books.

Art doesn’t have to be difficult and complicated. Artistic ability doesn’t have to be granted from a divine being. This series of books will show you how to make art simple. You will be able to create wonderful works of art that your friends and family will cherish forever, and all you will need is to learn a few simple techniques and understand a few simple concepts.

So here it is! The first in the “Real World of Art” series: “The Real World of Pencil Portraits.


You can learn more about the book from either the publisher’s web site at Real World Book Publishing, or at Amazon.