Metalpoint is an interesting medium. The stylus is silver (or gold, copper, brass, etc.) instead of graphite. This method dates long before graphite was discovered and used. I bought a set of two silverpoint pens, one with a thin stylus and one thick. I’m sketching on mineral paper. Plain paper won’t catch the metal, and so the surface needs to be prepared with gesso or something along those lines. Mineral paper, however, is a fine metalpoint surface on its own.
It’s a slower process than using a pencil, but the effect is light, airy, and shimmery. It doesn’t smudge and lasts for a very long time. Some metals tarnish, and this silver sketch of my horse will probably turn sepia as time goes by.
I’m enjoying the toned paper, although I find it ironic that it’s difficult getting the darks dark enough. I would have guessed otherwise, but the light colors seem to pop out while the dark colors need a heavy hand. With these sketches, I’ve taken a happy medium and let the midtones take over.
I used a photo reference from Paint My Photo and sketched this rabbit on Canson illustration board. The surface didn’t take very many layers, so I nearly lost all my highlights. The apples are on Terraskin.
It works! I’m really pleased with the way colored pencil works on my Terraskin paper. I used Prismacolors (an old set) and the effect is super smooth, especially when I put down a layer of white first or used a Derwent blender. I find I can put down about six layers of pencil without any problems.
My new fascination with colored pencils has been, well, fascinating. I purchased a set of 40 Caran D’Ache Luminance pencils, which I’ve since heard are among the most expensive due to their exceptional lightfast ratings.
Having only used Prismacolor, I don’t have much to compare them with but I can guarantee they are very nice. The color is strong and covers easily. I find, too, that I’m not going over and over areas, so I have a feeling theses pencils will last longer than other brands–perhaps they’re not quite as expensive as it seems. The main reason I chose Luminance pencils is the color choice. I was thrilled with the earth tones and grays.
I also bought a Strathmore 400 sketchbook, and I’ve been following some tutorials and playing around with blending, which seems to be at the heart of colored pencil work. Above I tried many different blending techniques, all of which I like for different reasons. I’ll stay away from oil, however, because it soaks through the paper and doesn’t dissipate. One of my favorites is using colored pencil over Inktense. I’ve used this in various ways, and I always like the effect. I never thought I’d enjoy mixed media, but never say never.
I came into this medium thinking it would be a great combination of painting and drawing, but I think it’s more accurate to say it’s like shaping and shading.
Two years ago I bought a dozen African Violet leaf cuttings of miniature violets. Two years later, my hobby is going strong. I’ve lost a few but had success with most. They’ve all decided to bloom this month and put on a spring show.
African Violets don’t require as much care as most people think. Because the roots remain fairly shallow, using a light soil and repotting about twice a year is needed. About a month after repotting, I switch from plain water to a diluted African Violet fertilizer every other watering. My plants are under lights but they get plenty of indirect light, too. That’s about it!
I’m experimenting with my new Caran D’Ache Luminance colored pencils. It’s so different from watercolor, so I’m starting with some tutorials where I use watercolor in the background. These are from the Virtual Instructor. I’m using a 90 lb. sketchbook, which is pretty thin, so I’m getting a lot of paper warping. Colored pencil is a totally new world, and although I’m kind of intimidated by it, it’s really versatile and intriguing.