Friday, May 14, 2010

Coloring 101: Colored Pencils

My mother is a fine artist, and she has always advised me to buy quality supplies. I went cheap, however, on my first set of colored pencils, my reasoning being that I'm not an artist so what possible difference could it make.

Always listen to your mother.

I ditched the cheap pencils, bought Prismas, and never looked back. Prismas lay down pigment smoothly and have wonderful, rich colors.

I've never used odorless mineral spirits to blend prismas, but that's because I've gotten perfectly statisfactory results from using the Prisma Colorless Blender Pencil. It's a delightfully unmessy, uncomplicated way to blend colors.

Here's the case that holds all my colored pencils, which I bought at Cheap Joe's. It holds 72 pencils. I have a few more than 72, so it's literally bulging with the extras.

My favorite thing to do with colored pencils is to add shading to block stamps that might not take a rock-and-roll technique well. It's a whole lot easier than coloring in outline images and really adds a lot to otherwise flat images. Not that I have anything against flat images. I'm rather fond of their clean and graphic look. But sometimes you just want a little illusion of dimension. Pencils are helpful for this.

These little fish from Papertrey's Pond Life set are a good example. I tried R&R with them and the results were...unpleasant. So I stamped them in solid VersaColor opera pink, let it dry completely, and pulled out my pencils. Using a darker shade of pink pencil than the ink, I added color to the undersides of the fish using small circular strokes, pressing the pencil harder closer to the edge and lighter toward the center of the fish. My first pass wasn't quite dark enough, so I went back over them a second time. Then, I used the blender pencil to smooth out the border between the two, again using small circular strokes.

The pencil adds just a bit of interest to the fish, and a spot of Stardust pen on the eyes gives a little bling to an otherwise super-simple card.

Supplies
stamps: PTI Pond Life, Pond Life Sentiments
ink: Palette noir, Versacolor opera pink
paper: SU pretty in pink, white
accessories: Prisma colored pencil, dimensionals, Sakura Stardust clear pen, Fiskars wave border punch

32 comments:

  1. this card is perfection! i love the wave-y top

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  2. Thanks for the tip - I have a handful of prismas from my grandma (she weeded out her doubles for me), and I have OMS, but it is a little messy. Time to find my blender pencil! Oh, and way to use a pun -- I know they're your fave. ;)

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  3. I have a box of 120 Prisma Colors, had to get them for my design degree in collage. Most of them haven't seen the light in their black box in ages. I should pull them out. Thanks for the tips and tricks and inspiration.

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  4. Terri (blindstamper)May 14, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    Adorable card! I never would have thought to shade a solid image like that! Thank you (once again) for sharing your ideas.

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  5. I love how you've added more dimension to the cute fish with your pencils, Susan! Great technique! I love your little waves as well!!

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  6. Very pretty card! Lovin' that pink, and look at that bling! Great card!

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  7. what cute little fishies!! I don't know if I've actually used them before. I love how you've added your punch on top like water - so brilliant :-)

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  8. Thanks so much for the link regarding your pencil case. I bought a similar one in Germany when I was ten and loved it! I actually still have it, although our daughter uses it now. I have always wanted to find another one (preferably not pink this time!) but couldn't find them anywhere. I could never understand why they weren't available in North America because they are awesome! Thank you so much for the link. By the way, I love your style - clean and simple and beautiful!

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  9. I guess I should get those 72 Prisma pencils out and sharpen them....Love your storage..and now maybe I will try to use mine. THanks for the info!

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  10. This card is gorgeous! Love it.

    Now I have to add Prismas and Pond Life to my wishlist. *Sigh*

    Heh.

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  11. Bright pink tropical fish + cute border = great design!! Love it! Susan G.

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  12. I've just started working with Prismacolor pencils and I really appreciate this tip. I will give it a try first chance I get. Love your little fishies. I hope to try the watercolor technique too. I love your simple designs. Very classy!

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  13. Have avoided colouring pencils thus far, but the result looks great. Will give it a go

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  14. that looks so cute, I've got the fish stamp, but not the great wave punch...humm, my wish list is growing longer and longer.

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  15. Copics have taken over my craft table and my life! Seeing your card will move my Prismas onto my desk. Love the wave border on your card!

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  16. Now Prismacolour pencils I actually have! I would never have thought of using them on TOP of ink, though. It adds that little extra "oomph" of dimension on your great card.

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  17. I have so much trouble coloring - it's such a chore for me. What you did is wonderful!

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  18. Wow!!! How easy does that sound? Thanks for the tip...I'll have to investigate the Prismas.
    Love the pink fish! Fabulous!

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  19. My mom never advised me on colored pencils but I'll listen to you! ;-) Beautiful card, thanks for tips about coloring!

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  20. I love my colored pencils and have the 72 set plus more. I have the pencils in the tool carousel that's sold in Michael's. They look so PRETTY all together, sharpened points upward and ready to use. My sister told me about the blender pencil. It's fantastic.

    Love the card and the "wavy" border.

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  21. This is great - the fish look really round & chubby. Funny, I've been playing with my pencil crayons this week too. And tomorrow I'm taking a Copic class. Maybe they'll get me coloring yet!

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  22. I'm with you, I LOVE my Prisma pencils, have had to replace more than one color. They blend like a dream with the Prisma blender, but I have tried wet blending and that works great too. I really like the card!!!

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  23. Oh God Susan, you're terrible. You're enticing me to things I had on my wish list and cut them out saying I don't really need them. Prisma pencils and twinkling H20s in consecutive posts?? Did you get your hands on my wish list or what?

    Now I have to get a prisma pencil...but where would I find a blender pencil? Micheal's? online perhaps?

    Love those birthday fishes!!!

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  24. Tejal, you should be able to get the blender pencil from any vendor that sells the pencils loose (not just in sets), esp any decently stocked art supply store. Dick Blick, Cheap Joe's, and M's all sell them individually. I'm pretty sure I bought mine at a regional chain or M's. Can't remember exactly.

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  25. Your coloring tips are awesome! Question- how do you sharpen your pencils? I am stil seeking the answer and yours all look so perfectly sharpened.
    Thanks for all your tips!
    Beatrice

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  26. Beatricemi,

    I use an electric pencil sharpener I bought at Office Depot. It's in my craft room for easy access. The pencils work better for me when they are nice and sharp, so I keep them that way.

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  27. So cute! Love the waves and the shading really adds some nice dimension.

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  28. What a great card! The fish are amazingly coloured and I love that border punch.

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  29. Super cute!!! May have to get some prisma's!!
    I have the SU water colour pencils, will these work?

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  30. Amanda & Jennifer, I have no idea if the watercolor pencils will work the same way because they are designed to be blended with water. But you could surely give them a try!

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Thank you so much for taking time to comment!