Monday, November 23, 2009

PROCESS 2 - Medium -Coloured Pencil & Graphite

Today I want to tell you about some of the Mediums I use. When I do Portraits, I start with a watercolour wash on either Stonehenge paper or Arches hot press 140 lb. paper and then work over it in Coloured Pencil. The paper is top quality and acid free, and I love the smooth, but not plate finish of both papers because I am a detail person.
I start with the initial drawing on newsprint, (not traced or projected), transfer it to my good paper, and then do a very light watercolour wash to establish the colour pattern and to lay a bit of a grip on the paper. You can see in this image of a commission I did last year where the watercolour is, and that over it, I have started layering the Coloured Pencil. This is a long process, and there is no hurrying it. I was far from finished any part of the portrait when I took this photo. The green you see is the low tack masking tape I use to mask off my painting area because I have a personal preference for a neat, clean, white border around my paintings, even though it will be covered by a mat. Naturally, it comes off as soon as the outline area of the piece is done.
For the most part, I use Prismcolor Pencils because of their quality, availability, and colour range. Added to them, are selected colours from Derwent and Faber Castell. All these brands are professional quality. Coloured pencil is a relatively new Fine Art medium, so there are still things we need to learn about some of the colours, but by using the best quality and the most lightfast colours, I have confidence that these portraits will long outlive the people who commissioned them.
I enjoy using Graphite too, and I have always used Faber Castell Graphite pencils in a range from 8B (very soft and dark) to 5H (very hard and light). It is of paramount importance to use graphite pencils from the same brand because each brand uses a different scale to measure light through dark. When using Graphite, I use Stonehenge paper, as already mentioned, an acid free paper which means it will stand the test of time.
Next time, I will talk about watercolours.