Saturday, September 24, 2016

Using Colored Pencil on Ampersand Aqua Board Osprey Colored Pencil Artwork Finished

New Work

So, I like to explore and try experimenting with different surfaces when using colored pencils. So I decided to experiment with Ampersand Aqua Board. It has an acid-free textured clay surface that supposedly can absorb watercolors just like watercolor paper. What piqued my interest in using this type of surface, is that your artwork can be sealed with a sealer or coating and it doesn't have to be framed under glass. How nice that would be, not to mention more affordable. As in my last blog post, I thought in order for me to use this surface I thought if I primed it with Brush and Pencil's Colored Pencil Textured Fixative the colored pencil might adhere better to the surface. After finishing this artwork, I would not recommend this type of surface when working with colored pencils, mainly because the surface of the aqua board makes it very difficult to apply many layers of colors using colored pencils. In addition, the surface makes it difficult to complete a lot of detailed work using colored pencils. It also really eats away the colored pencil leads quickly. Ampersand Aqua Board, however, is definitely well suited for watercolors and gouache.
Title: Osprey
Drawing/Painting Surface: Ampersand Aqua Board
Reference Photo: My own

Artist of the Week

I stumbled across this UK artist in reading Making the Mark's Blog on Derwent's Exhibition Winners. Artist, Sarah Gillespie, had an entry that was mind blowing. All the little details of crosshatching. It was just an incredible piece.  You can check out her pencil, graphite and charcoal artwork here

Colored Pencil Resource of the Week

Here is a great video tutorial on how to draw a bird by the virtual instructor using Derwent Colored Pencils

Keep on Creating!
Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Colored Pencil Cat Drawing, Ampersand Aqua Board and Colored Pencil Resource

Colored Pencil Cat Drawing

I finally finished up this cat portrait. I forgot how tedious and time-consuming fur can be. I did not have a great photo to work from, a lot of guesswork on the white part of the fur. Arden was my daughter's cat who disappeared during a  rainstorm.
Title: Arden
Medium: Colored Pencil
Paper: Canson Mi Tientes
Reference: Own


Ampersand Aqua Board

So my next project experiment is using watercolor, watercolor pencils and colored pencils on Ampersand Aqua Board. First I have to say, the board's surface does not have the tooth to hold a colored pencil at all. I tried applying a layer of Colored Pencil Texture Fixative to the surface, to see if it would help add some tooth to the surface of the board but, unfortunately, it did not help. However, once you lay down a few layers of watercolor, you can apply colored pencil on top of the watercolor layers. I am using Copic Colorless blender to blend the watercolor pencils and colored pencil. I used Yasutomo Pearlescent Watercolors, Derwent Watercolor Pencils and Prismacolor Colored Pencils on the sky.
So here is the beginning stages of an Osprey I am working on. The reference photo is my own.
I will be showing updates as I progress..


Colored Pencil Resource of the Week

Artist Lisa Clough gives an excellent demonstration on how to draw hair in colored pencil using colored pencil artist tools - Touch Up Texture and Titanium White Powder from .

Keep on Creating!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

New Colored Pencil WIP and Drawing a Cat Colored Pencil Resource

Happy 4th of July

Like to wish everyone a Happy and Safe 4th of July weekend! I have no big plans but just plan on spending time with family.

New Work In Progress

So I started a new colored pencil piece last week. I am working on it in-between design projects. It is a very special portrait to me, as it is of our cat, Arden. He disappeared several years ago during a rainstorm and never returned. It has taken me a long time to finally decide I could draw him and I thought it would be great practice for me to help get back into using my colored pencils again, being as when I was in school last year, I didn't really have a lot of time to do what I love most and that is drawing with colored pencils. 

When I draw fur, I don't have the patience to draw really every line like some colored pencil artists do. I draw mostly the shapes that I see, which gives an illusion of fur. I usually use a lot of various colors. Sometimes, I will use more than 50 colors for one piece. It just depends on the subject and background. For this particular piece, I am using Prismacolors and one of my other favorite brands of  colored pencils Tombow Irojitens. I love Irojitens colors. I am using masking fluid for the whiskers.

I always start off with the eyes. I have been told by other professional artists I should start off with the background first, then work on the body and then the eyes last. I have tried that method before, but I find it easier for me to judge and scale the whiskers and fur with the eyes done first.


Originally, I had every intention using Alyona Nickelsen's products (Colored Pencil Texture Fixative, Powder Blender and she gave me a gift of the final fixative) that I purchased on this piece, however, I totally foobared my attempt. The paper I am using is Canson Mi Tientes on the smooth side. Before I started applying layers of color to this paper, I sprayed a layer of the Colored Pencil Texture Fixative just to see what it would do. This particular fixative, which I have discovered is not meant for regular drawing paper. As you will find out if you buy this product, as I did with experimentation, it sprays on very wet and will buckle your paper as it dries. And you know Alyona, does stress that in her video that the products are not meant for regular drawing paper. I just figured Canson Pastel paper would be okay to use cause it does have a textured surface. Artist, Lisa Clough, had a similar problem and came up with and idea to solve the dilemma by applying some thin watered applications of gesso to the drawing paper's surface, but I only discovered this solution after I started work on this piece. Anyways, I hate to throw away paper, so I did tape this piece down to help straighten out the buckling after I sprayed it.  But really for Alyona's products, you need a more durable thick sanded pastel or gesso paper or a pastel board such as Ampersand Pastelbord. So I plan on using her products using a non-absorbent pastel board or paper and will be giving her products a review on my next piece.
Here is a video by artist, Lisa Clough , giving a demonstration on how to use Alyona's products and a review on Alyona's colored pencil products. These products produce a look very similar to pastels. So real excited to get my paper and using these products.

Colored Pencil Resource

I thought I would share this wonderful demonstration by artist Emmy Kalia on how to draw fur using colored pencils. Her method, which is different than mine, achieves more realistic fur. Enjoy!

Keep on creating everyone!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bigfoot Commission Finished, New Colored Pencil Lesson and Review on Marco Raffine Colored Pencils

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to everyone! I was just wanted to say thanks to all the veterans and God Bless.


My latest commission is completed. I used Marco Raffine colored pencils, Prismacolor colored pencils, and iridescent watercolors. The iridescent watercolors do not show up in the scan but the background was done in iridescent blues and colored pencils. Reference was mainly from a photo I took on our trip to Newport, Oregon of the Bigfoot wax image at Ripley's Believe It or Not museum. However, I felt that it looked to zombielike so I made his face a little more realistic.

New Colored Pencil Lesson

Well, I started this piece last spring but school and other clients kind of got in the way of me finishing it. So I hope to finish this up tonight or tomorrow. The free colored pencil lesson will be viewable and accessible on my site later next week. 

Review on Marco Raffine Colored Pencils

So, I completed my recent Bigfoot commission piece using the Marco Raffine 72 colored pencil set that I received a few weeks ago. I only paid $21.99 for the set. Pretty affordable when you are a poor starving artist. 
I decided to compare the Raffines to the brand I normally use which is Prismacolor Professional Grade Colored Pencils. I compared the two throughout the Bigfoot commission process.

First, a little bit about the pencils themselves. They are oil-based colored pencils and are creamy, smooth and blend well. There is presently no lightfast testing done on this brand.

Positive Points: The Raffine colors have 72 pre-sharpened colors to choose from. They blended well with the watercolors and Prismacolors. They also blended and dissolved well with a Copic colorless blender marker. I had no problems layering multiple colors to create fur. However, I would want to test this brand doing a portrait of a person just to see how well colors blend and layer. Colors are easy to erase with an electric eraser.  All Raffiné colored pencils conform to ASTM-D-4236 Non-Toxic requirements.

Negative Points: I did notice that the Raffines have more of an inconsistent pigment than the Prismacolors. They are not as rich as the Prismacolors they are more softer as you see in the image below. If they weren't oil-based, I would say they have more of a waxy pigment due to the softer colors. I thought also that they don't easily sharpen to a real sharp fine point as Prismacolors. Prismacolors I can get to a real sharp point which I like for details. You cannot purchase these pencils in open stock only in sets.

Marco Raffine Colored Pencils

If you are a beginner colored pencil artist or into the adult coloring books then this is a great brand to set you off in the right direction and a great set to add to your colored pencil artist tool box. There might be colors in this set that you may not have found in any other brand set. It's all about the colored pencils and if you love this medium as much as I do, you will continue to create works of art with colored pencils and will find the brand that works best for you whether as a hobbyist or professional.
There are other reviews out there on this brand each with their own perspective and viewpoint you can check them out here:

Hope you all have a great Memorial weekend!
Keep on Creating!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

New Bigfoot Commission and Marco Raffine Colored Pencils

New Commission

I haven't picked up my colored pencils in over a year. This week I start working on a new commission for a client of Bigfoot. Of all the years drawing I have never been asked to draw this particular mythical creature. I will be basing it on the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum Bigfoot display.
copyright © Ripleys Believe It or Not

Making the Mark

There are many artists concerned about protecting their art online. One basic and easy thing to do is to post up only pictures that are 72dpi or small enough that the image quality if increased in size, is very poor.
Here is a  great article by Katherine Tyrrell on how to protect your artwork online

New Pencils 

So I purchased some new colored pencils - Marco Raffine 72 set. A great buy on amazon and great reviews. Anxious to give them a try and I will be using them on my latest commission piece. They seem to have the same creamy wax base as Prismacolors. Will be providing a further update on this brand.

Hope you all have a great week!
Keep on Creating!