Some amazing things happened this past spring/summer. It’s like suddenly my art life went on overdrive. And I get windblown just writing it all down (I’ve listed everything at the bottom, if you are just curious).
But I know; I can hear you. You are saying “stop already with all the accomplishments!” Okay, no problem. I know there is a fine line between sharing and bragging. (Believe me, I am not bragging… I think I am just incredibly surprised.) But there is really one BIG thing I have to tell you about. Because this is my dream come true. The wishes granted from the genie.
And you know, those don’t come along every day.
In the middle of lots of other art excitement in late May, the Queen of the Colored Pencil Universe, Ann Kullberg, asked me to become a member of her team. After a few days of pinching myself, I accepted. And I am now part her team, bringing you Color Magazine and all of the other wonderful products and tutorials and workshops you find at annkullberg.com. I’ve spent the last couple of months settling-in with Ann and her crew and am now looking forward to all the fun and exciting things we’ll be rolling out for you in the future.
I am also going to be teaching colored pencil workshops across the country. My first two weekend workshops have been scheduled for October 2018 in Keizer, Oregon and Hamilton, Ohio in February 2019. Check them out. They are inexpensive and we are going to have a great time. (Plan to do a lot of laughing!)
When I was in first grade (just a few years ago, right?), everyone in the class was asked to draw what they wanted to be when they grew up. There were the obligatory dreams of being firemen and policemen and nurses and teachers of all the kids around me. I don’t remember my drawing, but I do remember what I said I wanted to be: a commercial artist! I had no idea where the term “commercial artist” popped out from. But I knew it meant that my dream was to make a living from art.
I think my dream is coming true.
From one artist and dreamer to another, a piece of advice: dream large and draw on!
Here’s all the latest:
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Recently, a colored pencil artist asked me for help. She wanted to create a large finished piece, had a good quality photo, and figured the best way to get her image transferred to paper would be to enlarge the photo and then trace it. The problem? The largest image her home printer can print is shy of 8-1/2” x 11”
So how do you create a large photo for tracing?
A commercial photo enlargement is an option, but there’s a quicker way. It’s called tiling: printing a photo in pieces, and assembling them into a large photo. And you probably already have everything you need to do it.
You’ll need a printer and a computer running Microsoft Word (or a similar document-creating program) and Adobe Reader. Chances are, your computer already has both of these programs installed.
Here Are The Steps:
• Open Word, and create a document one inch larger than the desired size. (For instance, if you want your reference photo to be 20” x 16” then create a document that is 21” x 17”. (This allows a half-inch white space all around the image. Most home printers cannot print an image to the very edge of the paper.)
• Place your reference photo into the document and drag the image corners to enlarge it to fit the paper.
• Save the Word document as a PDF file. “File > Save As > PDF.”
• Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Reader (a free download) and click “File > Print.”
• A print dialogue box will appear. Under “Page Sizing and Handling” you will see a “Poster” option.
• Select the “Poster” option, and specify an overlap of at least 1”, and then click “Print.”
• Your document will print out in multiple pieces, with a one-inch overlap. Trim and fit together the pieces to create the large reference photo.
Now you are all ready to trace… and to create a great work of art!
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Every colored pencil artist seems to have their favorite blender. I’ve never been very consistent in my choice of which blender to use for any given project, so today I created a set of charts to compare how each performs. I thought you might like to see the results.
During the last couple of years, I have collected and been gifted with a variety of blenders. To me, they are essential tools for creating really solid areas of color and, more importantly, creating that deep and rich multi-colored and layered look that takes colored pencil art from drawing to painting.
It’s pretty important to know your tools, so I decided it’s time to give them a real test drive.
The seven blenders tested are:
Figuring that the blenders of a certain brand would perform better with pencils of that same brand, I tested on color swatches of Prismacolor Premiers, Derwent Coloursoft, and Caran d’Ache Luminance 6901 pencils. To make the comparison as accurate as possible, I chose similar colors for each brand, and was careful to create swatches that, allowing for a bit of color variation, were as identical as possible.
Each swatch has four color layers: two in blue and two in violet, and the blending pencil was applied with a medium-heavy pressure.
And here are the charts. The left side of each swatch is unblended; the right side is blended.
Across all three samples, based on each blender’s ability to combine colors and cover-up background paper fibers, the Derwent Blender clearly performed best, followed by the Prismacolor and Koh-i-Noor blenders.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Koh-i-Noor, which is a new brand to me and I didn’t expect it to do such a great job.
The Caran d’Ache is unique among the blenders; it’s a blender stick, about the size of a pencil, and can be sharpened like a pencil. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed to find it a bit scratchy against the paper surface and not quite as effective as some of the others.
Although the Derwent Burnisher is technically not a blender and is marketed as providing a “rich, glossy finish to your art,” it also blends quite well.
The Prismacolor marker worked very well, but an important note: if you are creating art which might be entered in a show requiring “100% colored pencil,” using a marker may be outside the rules.
Also, I found that additional applications of the marker didn’t really result in a more blended look, but additional application of any of the pencils does.
The Lyra is the least aggressive blender in this comparison, but may be the perfect choice for lighter blending.
Happy blending. And of course, if you have any insights you’d like to share, use the comments form or dash me off an email.
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