And, on to other things:

I wasn’t able to get much done today, other than going to Watercolor class and mostly-finishing an in-class assignment (I just remembered that I need to add a grey background).  Portfolios were due today; if I had checked my notes, I would have known, but it entirely slipped my mind.  As it was, I had everything with me, packed up in a partially-empty tape-bound pad; but everything was loose.  I’m hoping nothing gets lost.

As a precaution, I’ve numbered my pieces 1-15; though there is a 1A and 1B, from back when I thought I’d use Alizarin Crimson in place of Permanent Rose and Prussian Blue in place of Winsor Blue.  (I filled out two different color sheets with the differing pigment sets.)  It isn’t quite that simple; they’re different colors.

Prussian Blue is a green-blue like Phthalo (Winsor) Blue, it’s just a lot darker and a lot more muted, whereas Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) looks almost neon.  Alizarin is both deeper and stronger than Permanent Rose, and behaves differently in mixes, because of it — even though they’re both violet-leaning red pigments.

It’s really amazing, the difference between student-grade paints and professional-grade paints.  My yellows can actually hold their own in mixes, now.  I pick up pigment, put it down in a puddle in my palette, and see the pigment immediately disperse like a cloud.  It’s just a lot easier to use (with the possible exception of grainy pigments like Viridian).

Tomorrow, I have five hours of work, then I come home and can do some homework for a few hours before I have to leave for my field trip.  Which is at night.  In Downtown.  WHY.

I’ve realized that I will have to take two trips out to the same museum in order to avoid overloading myself, tomorrow.  Not only is there a field trip for my capstone class, but I have to draw animal parts as prep work for Figure Drawing, sometime within the next two weeks.  (The stuffed animals are at this museum.)  Maybe I’ll aim for the 17th (Sunday) for the Figure Drawing homework.

The animal studies are due on the 19th, same as my Series assignment; though the latter has been cut down to 4-6 pieces, instead of 6-9 pieces.  I had hoped to make it out earlier — say, this Sunday, to draw animal parts — but I’ve got too much going on with my Creative Process project.  I only have two more weeks to work on it.

Speaking of which — I’ve decided to work in my Wet Media pad for said project, as it’s the only paper I have which I won’t have to cut down to get the correct proportions, and which will take water-based media and colored pencil.  I’m thinking that this is near-B5-size paper:  10″x7″.  Because I wanted to work with a live area with a 3:2 ratio between length and height — if I tape off 1/2″ on each side, I’ll have a 9″x6″ area to work within.  I’ll then have to place the brads approximately 1/4″ inside the live area (the area with actual art).

I’m really glad that I just wrote that, because I had previously thought that I’d need to tape off 1″, all around.  But that leaves me with a live area of 8″x5″.  I thought my test paper looked a little small…

And, yes, I am thinking of fudging it a little and just taping off 3/8″ on each side, given that I’ll need to put the brads inside the live area, anyway — and my tape is 3/4″ wide.  I’ve had issues with this paper untaping itself when wet, before.

Or, well, why not tape off 1/4″?  That will leave me with…9.5″x6.5″.  Close enough, yea?  I’ll need to visually gauge the proportions, though.

I’m always looking for little ways to start working — tonight, I might be able to separate out the pages and tape them down to the Masonite boards I’ve obtained for this reason.  I suppose it wouldn’t be too much to use an X-acto on the papers, rather than just ripping them apart on the dotted line.  Once they’re taped down, I can start my drawings.  After the drawings are satisfactory, I can move on to watercolor.  After the watercolor, I can strengthen anything I need to with colored pencil.

I’m still undecided about whether I should use Microns for outlining, or not.  Nor do I know if I should lay down the Micron first (which I know will work) and then lay watercolor over it; or do watercolor first and then lay down Micron (which I am not sure will work).  Micron over colored pencil will almost definitely not work; wax and oil (as in colored pencils) can clog the nibs.  I’m not sure I want to go with a cartoony style, though.

And I did just remember:  I can use carbon pencil to add in any dark values that I may need, if I have a hard time making the watercolor deep enough.

Well, little steps:  tape down the paper, work on the sketches, then worry about whether you’ll need intense black areas — prior to coloring.  Another requirement, though:  we have to stick with the same materials, so no carbon pencil on one and not on the rest.

I’m feeling pretty good about this, I think.

And, on to other things:

That cyclamen piece…

I totally didn’t know these were cyclamens, when I took this photo.  I was just like, “hey!  Weird!  Cool!  I gotta photograph this!”

fleurs-crop-72
Cyclamens???

Anyhow, this is the source photo (of the “inside-out flowers”) that I was trying to use for my Ashe piece, a few weeks ago, now.

I do have an initial try to capture this piece, but I really don’t feel that it does the composition justice.  My line drawing and placement of the flowers was really strong, but I just didn’t have enough time to work in all the detail that I think I would have needed to, in order to make the image stronger.

Also, when I was speaking about this in class, I confused Yemaya (an Orisha) with Erzulie (a Loa).  The former goddess comes from Yoruba religion; the latter, from Voodoo.

So…this photo really seems, to me, to conjure up some feeling that I relate to my interpretation of Erzulie.  However, I don’t know enough about Voodoo or its origins to be able to claim that Ashe (a Yoruba concept) is a concept which applies, here.  I really should have looked up Yemaya and made sure that what I was thinking was the case, actually was.  Instead, I ran off of familiarity and forgot entirely about the fact that I’d been researching Voodoo at some point, and you can see in a few places on this blog, how my memory can kind of run and mash things together.  🙂

Since I keep talking about this composition…I figured I’d let you all know what I was talking about.  Now that I see the image another time, I am thinking that maybe this is an image which would really lend itself to watercolor pencil and watercolor, possibly with gouache on top.  Or, a heavy use of colored pencil, with burnishing.  But, if I’m adding water to it, it needs to be done on Watercolor paper, not Bristol — and I need to figure out how I’d work all those little pine needles and stems in there, if I would at all.

I do have some masking fluid which may be of use, but I’ve never used it, and to be frank, it got a little intimidating after I read of the possibility of latex sensitization due to using liquid latex.  Apparently, the fumes can do something, and I like not reacting to latex gloves — though they’re being used less and less now, in favor of nitrile and some sort of plastic.  The masking fluid I got is supposed to be “hypoallergenic,” but I really…am not sure I can trust that.

I’m thinking of practicing with this, on small paper.  My last attempt was huge, and I think that with this piece, delicate + complex + huge just really made for a lot of work.  Work, which I didn’t have time to finish.

But hey — if I do this small, I very well can make a long, vertical composition…and if I use colored pencil, I won’t have to worry about how to preserve detail…

That cyclamen piece…

Mandala timestream

This is the mandala design I was talking about earlier, on this blog — the one I wanted to show you, but was waiting until after Critique to post?  (Critique was today.)  The other mandala I turned in isn’t quite as…successful as I feel this one is.  It also feels less finished, so I’ll hold onto it for now.

Basic blueprint. Click any photo to enlarge.
Basic blueprint. Click any photo to enlarge.

I’ve been careful to keep something of a visual log of what has been going on with this mandala, because as I said today in critique, this thing changed in character and feeling, every time I touched it.  This happened from the beginning of the linework, through laying in the background in watercolor, and through adding more color with colored pencils.

That is not even to mention all the iterations I ended up going through to get the above blueprint.  What you’re seeing there is a tracing I made onto heavy paper, through greaseless carbon paper (Saral paper), with my master copy (guidelines and all) on top.  I then went over the lines with Micron, ranging from a 005 to 05 in size.  The thing that I really love about Microns is that, at least with the black ink, the lines don’t budge under watercolor washes!

What I’m not showing here, because I can’t get a good scan and it’s too dim for good camera lighting, is my computer printout of the photo I took of the original image.  On top of that, I shaded in areas of deeper value (low value is closer to black; high value is closer to white) with graphite, where I could visualize these areas.  I did this because I’m not used to working so intensely with color (or maybe I actually am, and I underestimate myself), and I needed some way to start delving into it, without freaking myself out by working on the final copy with no road map or vision.

Value (or relative amount of light absorption) is one component of color, separate from but related to hue (or “which color” something predominantly is — keeping in mind that apart from pure prismatic colors [as in rainbows], all colors that we see are interpretations of combinations of specific frequencies.  Value is, “how much light is absorbed?” whereas hue is “which frequencies of light are absorbed?”).  The key I found here is that areas of similar value reference each other.

So I made a value map, and on another copy of the same image, I then started to notate which colors I wanted to go where, at a time when I wasn’t very stressed (I was in bed, actually, about to fall asleep).

After watercolor (Prang and Cotman)
After watercolor (Prang and Cotman)

I think it’s a bit apparent here what I was talking about earlier with the Cotman Alizarin (?) Crimson (that violet-leaning red tone that looks like fuschia in the big “X”), though it’s visible in the aqua blue, as well — that is, there’s an unevenness to the way the color settled into the paper.  This is probably due in large part to my technique.  I was using a medium-sized brush, and working wet-on-dry with the watercolor and paper.  (I think I was using Canson Wet Media paper.)

I think that if I had wet the entire area to be colored first, and then moved in with my color, the color would have bloomed and had an entirely different effect.  As it is, there is unevenness because some of my brush strokes dried as I was still laying in the same color.  Some in Critique, though, said that the unevenness/randomness contrasted nicely with the highly precise nature of the colored pencils and the design.  I really agree, at this point.  There is an organic quality to the mottled tone which adds interest.

The reason I didn’t work into this with a heavy amount of water (as I wanted to) is that it is Wet Media paper, not Watercolor paper.  I’ve heard that it can start to fall apart if too much water is applied to it at once, whereas Watercolor paper is sturdier.  I had taken the precaution of taking this out of the pad and taping it down to a piece of Hardbord (Hardbord is just a particular brand of Hardboard which is missing some fumes), but even so…it warped enough, at one point, to un-tape itself.  It freaking untaped itself.  Right.

Starting with colored pencil.
Starting with colored pencil.

At the above point, I had settled with the watercolor, but I felt it looked a bit “girly”, for lack of a better word.  I’m not sure if it’s being jaded by my Marketing class or not, to say that I suspected the color assortment with the Prangs to be intentionally gendered toward a target market which I didn’t entirely fit into.

However, I really still do love that red-violet in the center petals.  I…am unsure whether those will fade, though.  I have a feeling that the vibrant color is due to the help of a dye, as versus a pigment.  When the red-violet paint is wetted and allowed to stand in its little pan, the colors actually separate…so I’m not sure what’s up, but the paint does have an AP Nontoxic label.  That basically means that it’s missing all of the most well-known harmful chemicals — but it doesn’t mean there aren’t less-well-studied harmful chemicals.

At that point, anyhow, I started to go in with multiple red-violets, orange (actually Orange Glaze by Faber-Castell in their Polychromos line; I love that color), and yellow colored pencils in the pink sections, and with some blue-greens in the surrounding …capitals?  I don’t know what those are, exactly, but to me they look like abstracted typographic brackets (which inspired the interrupted parentheticals within them).  I especially started to darken the areas around what I wished to stand out — the halo in the center and the petals expanding around them.

At this point, I’d also begun to darken the brackets themselves.

I should mention that the reason I started out with a base of watercolor and then moved in with colored pencil, is that this drawing demanded the preciseness of colored pencil, but I’ve grown to dislike all the white space behind the texture of the pencil itself which is left behind.  In the future, I’d like to experiment with some more unusual combinations in hue of underpainting + dry media.

Finished.
Finished.

Here, it’s evident to my eye, at least, that I had worked some yellow and more blue into the areas around the pink petals…with deeper cyan tones around the edges of the composition.  I also darkened the blue-violet and yellow at the corners of the mandala, and the yellow parenthesis.  What was going on at the corners ended up throwing off the center reds, to my eye (making them look paler), but I didn’t want to risk messing this up to try and account for that.

And, right — I deepened the tones in the green parts of the seeds (the layered blue, yellow, and green tones were missing something), and in the center orange and yellow flower.

After I’d done a bit of experimentation with the red-violet petals…I decided, as well, to leave most of the rest of the watercolor alone, with the exception of some dimension on the stylized leaves.  There’s something about the purity of the wash that contrasts really nicely with the texture of the colored pencil.  Though, there is a place for very flat and pure washes, and texture in the watercolor washes, as well.

This paper also has really good tooth for colored pencil, and I was able to buy it at a large size.  The mandala above is 12″x12″; my pad was, I think, 14″x17″?  There was enough white space for my Artists’ Tape (it’s a special low-tack, removable tape), which was nice, though I wasn’t sure (and still am not sure) whether to finish or cut down the edges.

My initial design was done on Scrapbooking paper, because I found that it was almost as square as origami paper, when folded and trimmed.  And, it’s cheap and more durable than origami paper, with one white side to draw on.  Where I live also, origami paper comes in really bizarre sizes which I can’t make much sense out of (I don’t think they even make sense in Metric), except for the fact that the diagonal of a square is nearly (if not actually) equal to the length of one long edge of the next size up.  So, they kind of nest together.  Like, if you stack two consecutive sizes on top of each other and then turn the little one 45º, it will touch both edges of the bigger one.

I don’t know if that matters, in origami.  I do know I should have gotten solid-color squares instead of patterned ones now, though — the paper is somewhat translucent, and the pattern shows through the back side.  But the stuff I’m talking about, which I purchased, is really inexpensive.  I’ve used much sturdier and nicer papers in the past, for origami, so the quality issue is likely a “you get what you pay for” thing.

Mandala timestream

Using digital proficiency to support fine art…the computer is a very useful tool.

Work on the mandala project has been proceeding slower than expected.  In large part this is due to having had the greyscale painting due, last week.  Because I’m still a little skittish after having posted my initial one or two mandalas and actually inspiring people (it was kind of scary, I’m not kidding), especially with the copyleft thing, I’m going to keep what I’m working on offline, at least for now.  After I submit it, I may post it; that should be in two weeks.

What I can talk about, though…there are a couple of things that came to me last night, which I probably should split into different posts.  As things stand, I won’t be able to speak about them all tonight.

The mandala I’m working on is…interesting to me, kind of content-wise and process-wise.  Last night, I finished the inking on it and erased the marks of the Saral (in my case, graphite transfer) paper away.  I nearly started to fill it in with graphite shading, then remembered the incident with the acrylic painting I posted a day or so ago:  that is, not having a record of the most basic stages of composing an image.  So I erased the little bit of shading that I’d started (I used a relatively new Prismacolor kneadable eraser, though I really like the General’s brand better — they’re just harder to find), and got my camera.

This image is on 14″x17″ paper, so it was too large to fit on my scanner.  What I did that night was photograph it, upload the photos, then copy the easiest photo to edit.  I found the “Skew” tool in Photoshop and was successfully able to use it to even out the slightly odd camera angle at which I took the picture.  This was actually really great, because it’s still hard for me to get a flat-on, nondistorted shot.  What I was able to do was use Skew to un-skew my image.

I then cropped the image, and probably straightened it out (the crop area can be rotated by hovering near one of the corner crop marks).  Today I had to do some work to avoid “Snap to Grid” happening at the crop marks (which is what it’s called in MS Excel; I don’t know what it’s called on Photoshop), by expanding the canvas size to a slightly larger number of pixels and then cropping.  After this was done, I saved the image as a separate file to avoid damaging anything else.  (Today, when I retried this with better light, I used the smallest grid size to center the image as perfectly as I could — something I was concerned about because when I copied this image over by hand, I wasn’t thinking of using the whole page.  Then, later, I wanted to — when it started to grow beyond its bounds.)

Then I started playing around with Levels — I had not ever worked with the individual color channels the way I did last night.  The black point and white point are best set at the very ends of the graph curves illustrated, and I did this separately for all three channels (R, G, and B), and then tweaked the default grey points to achieve the most neutral tone I could.

After that was done, I could tweak the main channel (RGB) and make sure the image looked OK.  I ended up screwing around with this for a while, trying to eliminate excess color on the white background.  After a while, I just stopped and moved on to Brightness + Contrast, which enabled me to darken my ink marks and try and lighten the remains of background color as best I could.

Save again.  Different file name.

Then it was time to resize the image.  I set this to 600 dpi (dots per inch; a print variable, or a resolution variable where it comes to ppi [points per inch] — they’re the same thing, but print and web resolutions are vastly different), and resized the image (under Image Size) to just under 8″x10″ (though I forget the exact dimensions).  “Image Size” resizes the entire working area.  “Canvas Size” resizes the viewing area.

After that, I saved again.  Different file name.

I believe that at this point, I modified the Printer properties to “Best” quality and to print in Black and White using black ink only, and printed.  AMAZING.

AMAZING.

I had used a (heavily used) Micron 005 pen to ink the finest lines in the center of this image, with my heaviest lines being a (non-broken-in; it matters, I found) Micron 5 at the edges of the page.  I didn’t think they would turn out to be as freakin’ delicate as they did when I ended up resizing the image to fit on an 8.5″x11″ piece of paper.  Remember, this is something like 14″x17″ sized down to nearly 8″x10″, so it’s really appreciably shrunken.  Everything looks more delicate.  My inking looks more precise.  You can’t even tell that the Micron 005’s tip is widening with use.

Though I should note, that I also realized that inking just to one side or another of a line does influence how the finished line aligns with the rest of the drawing, without showing (at least at this point) how much any misplaced lines were edited at all.  I’ve been concerned about incised lines (from tracing on top of my original, through the Saral paper, with a 2H pencil) showing up in a final colored pencil drawing, so this was something I was watching for.  But even the slight misalignments (from my paper shifting during the transfer process) were really not visible once I’d downsized the image.

As I said above, I tried this again today with natural (filtered, evening) lighting, and it turned out better, for some reason…the focus of the camera was different.  The image was sharper.  I’m using my camera on “Auto”, and did not think to check which mode was being used when the picture was taken.  In any case, the image was much clearer, especially around the edges.  After altering the Levels and Contrast + Brightness and then printing, it was also apparent that even with the remains of color that I saw in the background (I couldn’t eliminate them all…I might be able to, though, if I mess with the Levels enough — I wonder about Curves, but can’t remember what they do), the daylit image is much sharper and a little brighter than the artificially-lit one.

At this point, looking at what I can do this way with linework, and having seen the outcome of my most recent attempts at using transparent black watercolor to create a monochrome, shaded image (which may be called “grisaille”, but I’m not sure), I’m really thinking that I could work at this if I wanted to make a ‘zine or comic, draw it large-scale, then photograph it and tweak it in Photoshop, then print and bind it at 8.5″x11″.  It’s this that has got me thinking about taking InDesign next semester, which would replace Modern Art History for that one open slot.  I have experience with both Photoshop and Illustrator, but not InDesign, and I’ll need all three of them if I want to make a ‘zine and not make it hard on myself.

Wow.  Okay.  Can’t believe I got all that out.  If you made it this far, congratulations.  I wish I’d done this before as regards the process I went through to make the original image, in the first place…  Right now, what needs to be done?  I’m in the process of shading in one of my printouts with graphite in order to create value placement (I needed something to do that was portable, today), and I need to decide what colors go where — and then put them there.

I still have my original master copy of the mandala that I traced onto the Wet Media paper (this is the large, 14″x17″ paper).  I’m thinking of working this one in ink pencil (permanent once dry) and watercolor pencil (not permanent once dry), turning that into wash, then going over the top of the washed areas with colored pencil.  The thing with the Wet Media paper, though, is that it really obviously buckles with too much water.  I can try to control for this by taping it down to a piece of hardboard…but I don’t know if it will work.

I’m thinking of taking my original and re-tracing it out onto the 12″x12″ watercolor block for hardcore work with watercolors.  But I really only have about 1.5 weeks to work on this, prior to critique.  As things stand, I may only have two finished pieces to critique, because so much of my work has been working out how to do the process, and how to get to the point I want to be at.  There is also the insane amount I was sleeping because of the sedation issue, about two to three weeks ago, as well…but I’m very certain my teacher understands.

As things stand with the medical stuff — I am really wanting to get off of the medication that’s making me gain weight (it’s the same one which is supposed to help me stay awake), and see if I can control the oversleeping via just taking my medication at, say, 7 PM instead of 10 PM.  Now that I know that there’s a world of difference between the two, it’s possible that I’ll be able to handle it by just not giving in to the urge to stay up late…

Using digital proficiency to support fine art…the computer is a very useful tool.

Update on the artist materials thread

Heeey.

I thought I’d update y’all on what was going on in this thread.  I ended up not getting the Cretacolor AquaMonoliths, because their color saturation and solubility, both, were not ideal.

I did go into the art supply store with a loaded waterbrush, though, and there were a large selection of aquarelles (watercolor pencils).  I ended up getting a pack of Derwent Inktense aquarelle pencils.  The cores are wide enough so that I feel like I should be able to cover a large area relatively easily.  There’s this, and the fact that the Derwent Inktense blocks were about 3x as expensive as promoted on the store website.

What I was curious about, but passed on, were Caran d’Ache Supracolor aquarelles.  It was really a draw between these and the Inktense pencils…both had good color saturation and good color dispersion, though I think the Supracolors were a bit better in regard to fine color dispersion.

What really caused me to choose the Inktense over the Supracolors is the fact that after the Inktense marks have been wetted and dried, they’re permanent from then on out, and won’t budge when worked over with other media, even other wet media.

I’m thinking of trying to get at least one or two other waterbrushes (a flat and a small round), considering that aquarelles really lend themselves to plein-air drawing.  Waterbrushes store water in the handle of the brush and dispense it from the brush tip, enabling what feels like sketching without the need for a cup of clean water.  It really blurs the line between painting and drawing.

I also saw the Daler-Rowney acrylic inks in person, and they look much better in front of one’s own eyes, than they do on a computer monitor.  These were $7 a bottle, though, so I decided to hold off on purchasing a set until I know what colors, exactly, I want.

As regards ideas for the Special Projects class…I’ve gone back and am looking at the paper-folding mandala technique again.  However, I’m thinking of going in a direction where I’d be utilizing my compass and divisions of 360°, in addition to (or instead of) folds within the structure of the paper.  I think I need to play around with it more, though — not just think about it.

Update on the artist materials thread

Puzzling over what I might want to get for Special Projects in Drawing…

Alright, two things.

One:  I was mistaken when I wrote that Digital Printmaking was the same class as InDesign.

Two:  I can go and pick up those two or three Progresso pencils which aren’t entirely perfect.  One of them may have been dipped into a solvent — its tip is dark, and I found a yellow oily film on it (probably oil pastel) which I wiped off.  I think it may have been penetrated by Turpenoid or another solvent.  Then there are the two broken pencils, which I’m just being fiddly about, especially considering that these are weighty and hard, and I’m likely to break more of them (they actually clink like stone when they hit the table).

I also, however, am giving some serious thought to picking up a set of woodless watercolor pencils.  I’ve just now seen that Koh-I-Noor does put out a set of Progresso Aquarelles, though they aren’t sold by the people I normally go to.  I’d been thinking of Cretacolor AquaMonoliths, as I keep seeing them everywhere.  I’m also considering the Neocolor IIs, of which I bought a beginner set last semester.

I’ve just remembered that isopropyl alcohol is useful for dissolving wax-based colored pencils (like Prismacolors), as well.  Oil-based colored pencils (like LYRA Rembrandt, or Faber-Castell Polychromos)?  I don’t know.  (I also don’t know what will happen if both water and covalent solvents — like alcohol or Turpenoid — are used in the same image.)  I already have two blending pencils and a blending marker for Prismacolors, though I have no idea what the solvent is in either.  I just know that the marker can stain.

I was uncertain of the color range for Prismacolor Art Stix, until I found this.  Art Stix are basically the material at the core of a Prismacolor colored pencil, just in a form like hard pastel.  Prismacolor makes a number of colors which will clash with other colors in the same line, which is why I was wary — all of the photos I found of them had them out of order.  They also look much better once dissolved with Turpenoid (scroll down to see the photos in that thread), but if I’m going to do that, I might as well get the watercolor pencils and save myself some headaches (possibly literally; I try and stay away from toxic solvents).

At the above link, the Neocolor IIs look much more vibrant, with better coverage, than the dissolved Art Stix (which in turn are better than the undissolved Art Stix…the draw to which is basically the fact that the color will adhere to the paper, unlike what happens with hard pastel).  The major problem with the Neocolors is that they’re very much like crayons.  It’s difficult to get fine detail with them, as they’re so soft that they get blunted easily.

I’d save the Progressos that I have for coloring over other media; I wouldn’t expect them to dissolve easily (though I could give it a shot).  The main draw to the AquaMonoliths, besides the fact that they’re water-soluble, is the form — I would like to be able to lay down broad areas of color and then actually move water over them to create an actual wash effect, as versus something that kind of looks like a wash, but doesn’t get into the grain of the paper.

Ooh, though I just thought of something; laying down a wash with the AquaMonoliths, and then going over it with the Progressos.  That could be interesting!  I should also then be able to go over what’s there with my other colors, though I know they aren’t all extremely opaque.  I’d just have to think it through, and not, for example, layer orange on top of blue, if I actually want orange.

I also should remind myself that I have a set of Derwent Watercolor Pencils here, already.  The main drawback to these, and to my other colored pencils (besides the Progressos), is that the point of contact with the paper is tiny, which encourages overly tight drawings.  My hope is that by using woodless pencils, along with water-soluble media and either markers or inks, I’ll be able to modulate that, somewhat.

And yes, I did just think of paint pens.  Shut up, brain.

Right now I’m also curious about the Inktense Blocks.  The Inktense line is interesting, but I’d rather use the material to paint with than to draw with, given that direct contact with the paper produces some intense lines that don’t seem to go away.

Okay, I should really get some sleep…

Puzzling over what I might want to get for Special Projects in Drawing…

Playing around with Koh-I-Noor Progresso woodless colored pencils

My sibling-in-law recently gifted me with a set of woodless colored pencils.

I’ve just finished organizing and arranging them and playing with them a little.

A photo of the Koh-I-Noor woodless colored pencils, so you know what I'm talking about.
A photo of the Koh-I-Noor woodless colored pencils, so you know what I’m talking about.

I had been avoiding working with colored pencils because they tend not to reproduce well…and because I felt stuck in a rut…but in the direction I’m going, mixed media could be very much a thing.  These will color on top of marker underdrawings.  Wet media underdrawings eliminate the whiteness of the paper from showing through the layers of color.  I understand that marker is probably not the best media to use for an underdrawing (it will fade sooner or later), but maybe in the future I could utilize some sumi ink, or india ink, or walnut ink, or acrylic ink, or watercolor.

My last Drawing teacher did say, though, that if we’re using markers for a mixed-media drawing, put them down before any oil- or wax-based media, or one will ruin the ink flow in one’s markers.  It probably isn’t as big a deal with a brush or dip pen, and ink.

Right now I’ve got a giant upcycled 18″x24″ Canson Biggie sketch pad sitting on top of my desk, just to encourage me to draw.  (I got it about 13 years ago as a goodbye gift, when I left my first college…it’s good to use it for something.)  I’m not sure this is the best way to go about things; after all, if I plan to keep my drawings, I’ll probably have to cut them down, and that alters things composition-wise…on the other hand, this makes it so that I don’t have to worry about which paper to use.

(And yes, I know that the composition of the above photo is whack; I’m just not going back to try again.  It’s an informational shot.)

What I found with the Koh-I-Noor Progressos (pictured above) is that they have color laydown like very good colored pencils, but the thing is, one can use a flat side of the tip to lay down what is almost a wash effect with the colors.  It’s very much like using Prismacolor NuPastels, but there is the advantage of the pigment adhering to the paper like a colored pencil lead, as versus with chalk or hard pastel, which wipes up with the slightest touch.  And, of course, one doesn’t get the broadest laydown possible unless one wears the lacquer casing off of the pencil — which I didn’t, but which should be possible with a knife or sanding block.

A halogen desk lamp helped with the above photo (I went back with my camera a second time so that you can see all the pencils, after finding color distortion in one of my shots), but unfortunately, it washed out the subtle broad strokes of color that might otherwise show.  I don’t expect much better in daylight, just because what I was doing looked so delicate.

But yeah…I had been moving away from colored pencils because they encourage really tight drawing, with me.  That, and I’ve been using them since I was 14.  And they don’t reproduce well.

But maybe I shouldn’t be aiming, necessarily, at making multiples.  This is especially as I’m uncertain at this point about really going ahead with the graphic novel stuff.  I can work in narratives without using traditional comic conventions.  And it’s possible to work in parallel as regards the writing and the art, as versus integrating them.

But I’ve got to see what the future holds for me.  There’s no point in making plans when I don’t have the information I need, to do so.

I just thought I’d share what I’ve been playing with.  🙂

Playing around with Koh-I-Noor Progresso woodless colored pencils