It is a generally accepted view that we should all try something new occasionally. It is thought to be good for us! It can give us a new outlook on life, renewed enthusiasm and who knows, we might find that one thing in life that we were meant to do.
Coming back down to earth, in art we are encouraged to move out of our comfort zones and try new things. This is just what I have been doing this month – coloured pencils. Every so often I have thought about having a go, but remembering ‘colouring-in’ efforts when I was at school put me off. It wasn’t something to be proud of.
Having done a lot of research and watched many YouTube videos I finally decided upon Faber-Castell Polychromos which are oil based and have a good range of colours available. I chose a dozen that I thought would be suitable to create animal fur as a starting point – a mix of browns, black, greys, yellows and a blue and green for eyes.
My first attempt was a cat’s eye and I was pleased with the results that could be obtained although somewhat surprised about the time needed to produce an acceptable result (no definitely not like colouring-in at school!). I then decided to try the whole head of a domestic kitten. I have not yet worked out how to do white whiskers over brown fur. I have used a stylus pen, which puts a groove in the paper which the pencil just glides over. This means the groove should be left the colour of the paper i.e. white, but it definitely needs more practice. I would welcome any advice on this one.
Paper is not a problem for me as it needs to be very smooth and I already use hot-pressed paper. I have tried Bristol Board but the HP has a little more tooth to hold on to the colour better. Other things I have found useful are: a Derwent Blender and Zest-It, a citrus smelling solvent made in the UK, which when applied sparingly with a brush also blends and smooths out the colour.
The most important tip I have found is keep the pencils very sharp all the time!
To sum up I would say that I am really enjoying the coloured pencil work, but I still love watercolours and have no intention of giving them up. Do have a go it you get the opportunity. They are a real surprise!