I did try out the Caran d’Ache Supracolor II pencils, tonight. I am a little underwhelmed, upon seeing the color density next to full-strength FW acrylic inks…though I am glad that the Supracolors will work with a good degree of opacity, on top of black paper. (I was using Strathmore ArtAgain coal black paper.) Using them on toned paper was my fall-back position, in case I wasn’t satisfied with their performance as aquarelles (watercolor pencils).
In Caran d’Ache’s favor, for the tests I was working with very little pressure, ranging to heavy pressure; with a clean waterbrush, the great amount of white showing through was likely due to the synthetic bristles wiping up the pigment, as versus simply wetting it. And after the bristles pick up the heavy amount of pigment in the dark area, the brush wants to spread it everywhere…which could be a plus or minus, depending on your aims. I haven’t learned how to control the pigment flow yet, though. And I’m thinking that the sketchy quality of the soft leads might be something that grows on me.
I think I’ve mentioned before that two of the main reasons I stopped using colored pencils were the fact that the (usually white) color of the paper shows through to a degree I really can’t let slide; and the tiny point of contact with the paper. In addition, paints and inks often have better color intensity, and they cover the entire area (excepting dry-brush techniques).
Aquarelle pencils, however…can cover the white, once they’re wet; and though they are also suited to detail work, I can also switch out with a brush to manipulate the pigment. I am aware that my most effective present method for eliminating white paper showing through is to paint the substrate first (or use toned paper, which is meant to show through). I haven’t tested this yet — though I did indeed get the Supracolors to use on top of acrylic ink or watercolor laydown.
What I did with the acrylic ink tonight did show me that the degree of opacity offered by the FW inks is acceptable to me — only three inks were marginal enough to cause concern (White [obviously], Emerald Green, and Flesh Tint), and the two which weren’t white were both convenience mixtures.
The biggest drawback to the FW inks — besides the fact that they each have to be shaken up — is that there is no Ultramarine equivalent (I have used) for mixing, meaning that one is more or less dependent on their (warm-leaning) Violet, which can be tinted with a bit of blue, or Crimson. I think Indigo is the only deep blue of theirs which I don’t have, and I left that one because of concerns about color temperature. That means that Rowney Blue is the most violet-leaning blue that I have, and…that isn’t saying much.
However — I am now thinking that maybe I am better off with acrylic inks, as versus aquarelles…except where it comes to convenience in travel. I can use the Supracolors at work, that is, because I don’t need anything except the aquarelles, a waterbrush, and paper. I shouldn’t, on the other hand, use acrylic inks or paints at work because of the toxicity issue — the only sink which is not used for food is in the bathroom. And I would much rather separate utility and food (and toilet) sinks, given that I don’t want to take a chance with exposing my co-workers — or anyone else — to pigments (as I’ve been told that, “none of them are really good for you”).
I was working on top of watercolor paper tonight, though. The effects of both media may be different on a surface like Bristol board. I haven’t yet tested this, but it was apparent that the watercolor paper (Canson Montval) absorbed the ink of my fineliner (Micron Graphic 1) enough so that it seemed as though it did not dry to the point it needed to, in order not to lift when hit with water. (Either this, or there was some sort of reaction with ingredients in the Supracolors.)
Consequently, washing water over the aquarelles caused black ink to tint the original run — even though hitting it with plain water alone, did not cause any lifting or smudging of the Micron.
I’m also wondering about whether or not I want to actually scrub the aquarelles with my brush — it’s not something I’m used to, and this time it actually did lead to a messy outcome. It is a watercolor-like outcome, but I never scrub my watercolors with my brushes unless I’m lifting it off of the paper.
In any case…I’ve got to play around with color mixing and layering. I should be able to do that, sometime soon…