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.

1 comment:

Joni Queen said...

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