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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Is a blister pack of six coloring pencils at all useful for an artist?

I will readily admit that I have always scornfully pulled my nose up at coloring pencils that came in sets of six. Even sets of 12 holds little attraction for me. In the previous blog I opened and tested just such a set of six coloring pencils when I wanted to put Derwent's Studio pencils to the test. I was so impressed with the pencils that I immediately decided that I need to buy myself the full set of 72 pencils. It was natural that I would start wondering what to do with six measly pencils I had tried the day before. Of what use are six single pencils to an artist after all? Once I asked this question, I decided to put it to the test to find out if a set like this held any value for a professional or not. I've had to compromise, but I think it actually works! Take the journey with me and decide for yourselves.

I will be using the Derwent Studio set of pencils that I opened yesterday for today's test. I have a drawing pad ready. As always, I slide a piece of cardboard in behind the top page of the paper pad. This will protect the bottom layers of paper if I press down hard, or make use embossing tools, etc. This is merely a precautionary measure.

I found this photo on the internet a couple of months ago and saved it to my iPad. I have no idea who to credit with taking this fabulous photo, but hats off to them. I like the idea of using this photo for a couple of reasons. When I look at the six colors that I have to work with, I see little hope of achieving the colors in the photo. This suits me, since this is realistic to what an artist may encounter. The odds of wanting to draw a clown with a bunch of brilliant balloons are slim. Yet, the colors in the set seem obviously geared towards drawing the clown. This is exactly why I avoid a photo of that nature.

I draw the basic picture in pencil. I am not going to bother with the background for the purposes of this exercise. I will concentrate only on the boat and the bird. This will be evidence enough.

I start with black, shading the darkest areas of the drawing first. This is not a color I would normally have opted to use for deep shadows, but my options are limited and I want to save the blue for other areas.

A striking color in the photo is red, yet the red in the photo is faded and brownish, nothing like the red in the pack I am working with. I am a little uneasy about applying this red to the drawing.

It is time to add the cooler counter for the red; blue. I would have loved to use different shades of this color. Instead, I am forced to use my skill in shading to achieve lighter and deeper 'colors'.

Adding green to the blue, makes me more comfortable and, for the first time, I am starting to suspect that I might achieve success at this endeavor.

I have been saving the golden brown for as long as I could. It was the only pencil in the set that I knew from the outset that I would be able to use successfully in the drawing. Almost every part of the drawing is muted and 'distressed' with the golden brown.  I start with the darkest areas.

I then move to the lightest areas. All of this is only to alter the colors already used.

I now use the Golden Brown for its own sake and add the rust to the boat.

I go back to add more blue where needed.

I go back to the green a second time as well.

The red is used to add the distinct reddish hue to the rust.

I finally turn to the last color in the blister pack, the yellow, to add some odd highlights.

The final product is not a bad semblance of the photo at all! I am very impressed. I certainly did not expect this to be possible. If I were to work the drawing with blending pencils and paper stumps and the like, I would possibly be able to get it even closer to the original, but that seems an unwarranted use of time, since this really is only an exercise and not a fully developed drawing.

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