View Full Version : Pressure - how much, how little, how to?

11-04-2005, 04:59 PM
I would be real interested in reading about different styles of laying down color. What works for you? Are you one who likes to use light pressure with lots of layers. Or maybe one who uses less light pressure and more medium pressure with less layers. What methods do you use to pump up your values? Do you use Complentary Grisaille for the darks, or french greys, or darker values of the same color, or maybe just more pressure? I have read that some take up to 40 hours or more on one piece, while others can do a piece in 7 or 8 hours. Do you always keep your pencil razor sharp? At what point do you burnish, or do you burnish?

I know that there is no one way to do CP art, and am really interested in different styles and techiniques. For the record, I use light pressure, with probably about 20 layers. I'm interested in trying it in different ways though.

11-04-2005, 05:15 PM
Hi Greg

Let's see. I use all of the above in a single painting. I do burnish- lots. For that, I use slightly less than sharp pencils to tonaly get the color on the area, then I go over it with a really dull white or colorless blender pencil, in a circular motion that follows the contours of the shape. Burnishing will push the color off the area you applied it, and move it around, so you have to think of that as you start pressing hard, and guide it where you want it to go.

For some details, I use razor sharp, and then either burnish with a colorless blender in a light layer to set the color in place, then harder after that, or just burnish with the color I started with- applied enough times in increasing pressure to burnish the area.

I tend to like sharp points and only a little grain.

To pump up values, I use Prisma/Karisma black grape, tuscan red, and indigo blue. You can't ever take a solitary color darker than the lead, no matter how hard you press, so I try to make the values stronger by using contrast in what I put next to it, more so than the actual color being of dark value.

What I'm trying to learn, is to allow lines and strokes to exist. I started burnishing, because I didn't like seeing those. Now, I think its time for me to start letting some marks exist, and add them to the lineup of other tools, like color, value, smooth, and grain.


11-04-2005, 07:58 PM
Greg, good thread! You also might want to have people mention what kind of papers people use, because that affects how hard you press.

I use all of these too, but I prefer to start out with a light touch in small circle sort of things. And I like to start out with an underpainting that's sort of related but sort of not exactly what I want. My bay horses usually start out dark purple, for instance. I keep my pencil super sharp.

Towards the end of a drawing, once I've got a bunch of light layers down, I usually apply heavier layers, especially in the darks.

Ooh, yeah, and I like to establish some of my absolute darks in the beginning so that I won't be tempted to stop before I get all of my values up to where they should be.

Here's an example of one I'm working on now -- in a perfect half-way ugly stage for demonstration!

11-04-2005, 09:55 PM
I love the seamless way that light layers looks but since I work on commission I am trying to speed things up by using Ann Kullbergs method. Vertical strokes.

Also, I am learning to pump up values by layering at least three different colors on top of one another to add depth. I too love black grape, black cherry, and tuscan red to add dimension to shadows and I tone colors down with french greys and white pencil.

I tend to use duller pencils than most people I think. I like to accent highlights and a few sharp edges with super sharp pencils but I mostly use a medium to dull point.

It still takes a LONG time....I can't work fast enough. I usually spend 2-3 hours a day drawing and it takes me too long to finish! I love it too much to give it up though.

11-05-2005, 12:52 AM
Hi Marcie, Maggie, and Austelle. I really really appreciate all of your comments. It is SO awesome to see how other artists work. The reason that I posted this thread is that I believe we limit ourselves in the area of CP art if we approach it as if there is only one way to put the color down on paper. I want to grow as an artist, and part of the growth involves learning as many new things as I can. I would be interested in as many comments and styles as people want to post. There are many ways to achieve good art and I believe that I learn more from what others have tried and been successful with. Yes, also include something about the paper you use. Some swear by Stonehenge, others by Canson MT, and various other paper.

So everyone, tell me some more of your techniques.

P.S. Great start on your horse, Maggie. I only wish my pieces looked so good in the ugly stage, LOL. Mine are so ugly in the ugly stage that I won't even post them anymore until they get a little better. :)

11-05-2005, 06:33 AM
I use a colored Mi Tientes. For animals that's a light gray, for humans, I use a light pinkish one.

I start with putting in all my lightest lights with a dull white pencil and/or artstix.

Then I very very lightly put in my darkest darks, again with a dull pencil, usually cool gray 90%. Then I get up and stand across the room from it and decide if I hit those shapes correctly. It should look right from across the room. If the bones aren't there at that point, it will be a struggle the whole way through, features will migrate, etc. I correct and correct at this point.

Then, again with either art stix or a flattened "point", I do the local colors. Just kinda wash colors over the whole large area.

Then I just start in, using dull pencils, I only use sharpies for little areas and details at the end.

I burnish a lot, and early. I do a lot after burnishing. And I constantly correct and adjust with my eraser.
Then I get up and look at it across the room again. And use my eraser a lot.


11-05-2005, 06:50 AM
Whoops -- forgot to mention that I use either Strathmore Bristol Smooth or Arches HP Watercolor paper, both of which suit a very shatp pencil and light layers. An 8 x 10" will take me 5-6 hours this way.

For a lot of my art cards, when I'm using a duller pencil and less layers, I use Mi Teintes, because a tomed, rough surface really speeds up the process -- but, man can you ever see a difference in my style when I do! It really is a question of finding a method and paper that work together with you -- makes all the difference in the world.

And thanks, Greg; the horse is a WIP that maybe I'll post as a separate thread once I get back to him. He was my example because he really does show off all of my techniques.

11-05-2005, 10:43 AM
It really depends on the subject matter and the paper. On black very sharp pencils and very light little circles. I will burnish the layers with a q-tip if it is hide or short fur. I am at the tweeking stage with this great dane. If it is long fur or feathers I use light pressure but hold the pencil sideways and lay down color with a scribble stroke. I use stonehenge or canson hp watercolor paper. I think it is 140lbs. The smooth side. Also the farther away from the center of interest the duller the pencil. So around the facial features very sharp tips but the fur farthest away very dull. This seems to help me keep things from looking over done, if you know what I mean. wanda
PS: great thread Greg. :wave:

11-05-2005, 11:42 AM
Robin, thanks for posting. I've been wanting to ask you for some time how you work so quickly. I've caught some grief for using a dull pencil before, but sometimes it seems I can lay my color down smoother overall if my pencil isn't so sharp. Maybe with some more practice I can speed up. Your work is always great.

Maggie, I have also used Bristol smooth many times. Wow I caught a lot of grief about using that paper.... but I like it sometimes. I like the finish it has when I'm through. I also like that I can get better color saturation, which is important to me. The only things that I don't like about it is I can't get as many layers on, and it's much harder to correct mistakes. It seems as if I own it, once it's on paper.

Wanda, you're Great Dane is really looking good. I like your tip about holding the pencil sideways and the scribble stroke. You know, I have never heard about using the dull point away from the center of interest, but it make complete sense. Great tip.

And, thanks everyone for complimenting the thread. I think it's really cool to read about how other people work.

11-05-2005, 12:26 PM
Yeah, Wanda -- nice Great Dane!

Greg, what did people say about Bristol smooth? I love that paper! If they insult it, I'll have to come after them in the night with really sharp pencils. :evil:

11-05-2005, 12:52 PM
Someone in my class is using Bristol. I think it depends on the weight? I think Barbara Newton uses 500 Bristol plate. Is that the same thing?
Thanks Maggie. Same for your horse. Really cool. :wave: wanda

11-05-2005, 01:21 PM
I should try the Bristol, iff'n it'll cause a controversy!

I've recently tried Arches HP, and didn't like it, compared to Stonehenge. It seemd the color saturation wouldn't go as deep.

I've tried many papers in the last few weeks, in small swatches, admittedly, not large completed works. I come right back to Stonehenge. It'll take whatever I dish out, color lifts beautifully... love it.

Oh, other techniques I am playing with include burnishing colors in hard. Then use a battery driven eraser to take it back to a stain on the paper, then do the texture with another color. Works like colored paper, but I can have different ground colors all over the same page.

And impressed line. Love using that. Sometimes, color the area first, then impress, then a different color, and sometimes, just impress the white paper first. That's been grand fun.

Anybody using the fancy, artsy papers- the decorative ones? Not sure what to call them. The stuff with leaf bits and flower bits and bug bits all pressed into it? I've heard some of the bolder colors are fugitive, but the more neutral ones should be ok... or is that straying into mixed media too much for most folk?


11-05-2005, 01:56 PM
Yeah, Wanda -- nice Great Dane!

Greg, what did people say about Bristol smooth? I love that paper! If they insult it, I'll have to come after them in the night with really sharp pencils. :evil:

Hmmm, LOL They said that they wished I'd start using good paper for a change. That if I would use good paper, it would be the difference of Prisma's over Crayola's. Personally, I like to use it. I do like Stonehenge better, but after Stonehenge, the Bristol smooth is my next favorite.

Uh oh, look out, Maggie's running loose with the sharp pencils.............;)

11-05-2005, 02:21 PM
Greg, depending on what style I'm trying to portrary, I pretty much do the same thing as what Marci describes in her technique. I'm burnishing a lot on the current 'Alleyway' picture however, there are times I don't burnish at all in a piece and will use lots of layers with very sharp points! :D

Occasionally I like to use a WC CP underpainting or grisaille method. After several years of working with CPs I thought I had found my own standard way of portraying works. The longer I keep using them all of the basics are starting to come back into play and I try to work with fresh ideas of how I want to present my art. Guess I'm going thru a rediscovery phase right now!

I also like using Bristol and illustration board surfaces because they seem to handle the abuse I give it and I prefer the smoother look. Rough paper such as watercolor just doesn't agree with me. :( Yuck!

I have to be a witch about this next point but don't let anyone give you grief about the type of paper or pencils you use!! :envy: That's what creates individualism and what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another! Some folks prefer Prismas and others prefer Derwents, etc., some prefer Bristol and some swear by M-T, such as Robin. We all have our preferences and should never try to tell someone else what their preference should be--it all comes with experience and experimentation--like bug bits! Ok, off my soapbox! :o

As far as time involved--again, a very personal thing! As much as I would like to speed up, it just ain't happenin'! I'm one of those slow pokes who put in anywhere from 100 to 500 hours on some pieces and size doesn't really make any difference! Seems like if I work any faster, something inside doesn't feel completely satisfied with the end product. :rolleyes:

Great topic and hope I didn't get to grumpy!! I also agree with Maggie and will sharpen my pencils and run after those meanies in the dark--making sure she is in front of me!

11-05-2005, 03:24 PM
I totally agree Chisaii. I'm willing to bet that by the time this thread runs it's course, there will be many many styles, preferences, and so on. I guess the purpose was really to show new artists, of which I'm still one, that there are many ways to the top of the mountain. Find which one works best for you.

OK, how about some more styles and techniques.

Also, I've read in a bunch of colored pencil books that French Grey's are great for values. I've read in others that it's a dead color and that you should either use complimentaries or "color" for the values. What do you think?

How about colorstix for laying down color? I personally don't use them because I have trouble getting them to lay down evenly. I know many use them and have great results.

11-05-2005, 04:08 PM
Great thread Greg! :) Thanks for starting it...

When years ago I decided I wanted to work with coloured pencils as my favourite medium, I got a few books and set myself up for disappointment. Why? I tested all my CP on sketchbooks, and my samples NEVER looked like those finished superb CP pieces I saw in books. Don't ask me why, but I didn't make the connection! :rolleyes: Also, I somehow thought that I was just trying to learn, therefore there was no point getting the kind of paper that consumed artists used. Big mistake!!! Everyone should give her/himself permission to start with good paper, even for testing!

And the "permission" element should also be active for trying different papers, different pencils, different strokes, different mediums combined with CP...

I have recently used harder surface supports, and I like the result and the colour saturation they afford me: Bristol series 500, illustration board, Rising Museum board. I can do light layers, cover the grain, burnish without wrecking my hands.

I am burnishing as I understand Cecile Baird's book instructions: a dense layer arrived at by many light layers with multidirectional strokes, including circular if needed, and finishing with a lighter version of the last colour used. On close inspection there are still specks of colour (not paper) showing, but IMO it adds to the final look. I also like to combine areas with different pressure applied.

Wanda - That drawing is superb! I would LOVE to take your class drawing on black paper...

11-05-2005, 06:06 PM
LOL...! I meant to say "consummated" artists, not consumed... :)

11-05-2005, 06:13 PM
I would love to have you Raquel! Wouldn't that be fun. I have some of that museum board just haven't tried it yet.
Greg I usually shade with a compliment. All tho not on black paper. Right now I am working on a crowned crane and using black grape and indigo to get a deep gray. I just haven't been able to use grays in a satisfactory way. My feeble attemps always look dead. I have seen others that can but I can't. :confused: wanda

11-05-2005, 06:24 PM
LOL...! I meant to say "consummated" artists, not consumed... :)

ROFL Raquel you are funny!!!

Raquel, it sounds as if even good papers are really good for some projects, and maybe not so good for others. Depending on what you want to achieve. Is that right? And colored paper would be the same way right?

Wanda, I have the same luck with grey's for shading. It never looks right, no matter how much I work it. I've only tried complimentary a few times and it has turned out pretty good.

BTW, Wanda, do you ever do any workshops? In Missouri, you're probably not too far from the Tulsa area.

11-05-2005, 08:48 PM
Wow Wanda, I love the great dane!!!

Weeeell, I used loads of different applications for different subjects. For skin in portraits I put on light layer after light layer with soft cross hatches and then blend them together with a tissue or toilet paper, same for skies. Fur or hair is just lots of different strokes, not layers. Eye's and shiny stuff is thick heavy burnished layers usually. It varies with the subject I think and depends on the effect I'm hoping for :)

11-06-2005, 07:21 AM
Hi Wendy :wave: Do you use a sharp pencil all the time except maybe when burnishing? It sounds like you have great intuition to know just when to use different pressures and strokes. I always enjoy your work very much.

11-06-2005, 09:34 AM
I also make my focus sharper and blur my edges. I also use the sides of my pencil.

There is no right or wrong techniques, papers, methods, point sharpness. Being an artist isn't about following someone else's rules. Part of the fun is experimenting and exploring. This is the only medium I've seen where anyone "got in trouble" for not doing things the way someone else decided they should...

As far as grays dulling, well, if you're looking for dull in a spot, try it!

This is a great thread, it's interesting to hear how folks approach things, and the type of paper they use. I can't do mine on stonehenge, for instance, just doesn't take all the erasing I do.

11-06-2005, 09:53 AM
I agree Robin. This has been very interesting. I'm really enjoying reading all the different approaches people take to putting color on paper.

11-06-2005, 10:35 AM
Greg my bil (whos name just happens to be Greg) lives in Tulsa. It takes us exactly six hours from our front door to his. Trenton college asked me to do a work shop but no details yet.
Thank you Wendy! :wave:
Robin I know a local cp artist that uses nothing but mt paper. She says she loves it because it can take alot of abuse. She told me she can dig into it forever. She gets giddy talking about it. :D
I don't know Raquel, sometimes I feel consumed. ;) wanda

11-07-2005, 06:22 PM
I finallly found time to get on here. So in my case I work mainly in water scenes. I use Stonehenge bristol board of the heaviest pound I can find 100 lb does work fine though. I'm mostly a white girl but now that I've been doing it awhile I'm experimenting with black mat board too. I start all of my paintings in Burnt sienna, black, cool grey, indigo blue, crimson and indian red and various shades of purples. I start with my burnt sienna all over the piece including the human if there is one in the pic. Then move to the greys, blues then black. I tend to work more in the negative to positive forms. meaning that I do the ripples of the water in its deepest colour THEN come back in later and do the lighter colours that accent it. I also use a whole rainbow of unusual colours for my waves to give them depth and then go over the waves in either blues or browns depending on its location. I always work from negative to positive.


11-07-2005, 10:18 PM
Hi Prismatic!! Good to see ya. I was wondering how you did it. Question, what kind of pressure do you use? How many layers?

I've got to learn how to work from dark to light. I usually am always from light to dark. Is that what you mean going from negative to positive? These may be pretty basic questions, but I'm still learning the basics.

Also, do you go over the whole parts of water with blue at the end, or just the cooler temperature parts?

Your work is always so good. Thanks so much for responding.

11-07-2005, 10:43 PM
My layers range from 2-4 max. I burnish my darker areas with a colorless pencil and use cotton to smooth down for my next layer and also to smooth the course for my deeper reds and dark browns.

I don't generally go over my entire water with blues, rather I use whites, soft peach and lime peel green. I cross hatch alot too.

11-08-2005, 04:52 PM
Everyone should give her/himself permission to start with good paper, even for testing!

Raquel, THANK YOU for that. :clap: As a beginner, I think I need to have permission to "splurge" on some of these papers everyone is mentioning, but I'm the type of person who gets easily overwhelmed by too many options (all those drawers of papers at the art store!). I thought it would be helpful to have an "inventory" of paper options. Here's what I thought I gleamed from this thread - can anyone correct me if I'm wrong on any of these?

Disclaimer: I don't mean to make ANY kind of value judgements on these papers (I gather this is a sensitive topic, as folks are understandably passionate about the materials they use) - I'm just trying to have a list I can keep in my purse for reference purposes when I go to the store.

Smoother paper
Bristol series 500 – smooth, allows good color saturation
Illustration board - smooth, allows good color saturation
Rising Museum board - smooth
Strathmore Bristol Smooth – suits a very sharp pencil & light layers

Rougher paper

Stonehenge –holds up to many layers well. Can’t take a lot of erasing, although color lifts off well
Arches or Canson HP Watercolor paper - suits a very sharp pencil & light layers
Mi Teintes – tomed, rough surface; suitable for a duller pencil and less layers

May I go to the art store now, please?

11-08-2005, 08:17 PM
Hey Susan! You forgot (didn't anyone mention it??? :eek: ) sanded paper, such as Colourfix... Look at Nicole's threads (User Name caulfield, I think). She loves it and is doing terrific work on it, and also Katherine T. Do you use it Wanda, Maggie? Better yet, look for Kitty Wallis (?) here and send her a PM asking for samples, so you can try it without spending. I'll look for her and add her name here, so others can ask too...

EDIT - I was right... Her User Name is Kitty Wallis! She is selling the paper in the UK now, through UK/WC!'s pastel artist Jackie Simmonds.

11-08-2005, 08:27 PM
I use Kitty Wallis' paper for some of my art cards. I like it because I like to ink in the darkest parts with acrylic ink and then cp over it. I also like other sanded papers, I have a 5 x 7 on ebay now that is on sanded paper.

Susan, besides that, I can only comment on the stonehenge and the Mi Tientes, and I think you hit them right. The other thing about MT is that it comes in tons of cool colors.

11-08-2005, 10:22 PM
Also Susan- MT has two sides. I don't say right and wrong, because it depends on the effect you want. Stonehenge seems to have two sides, too. One is "felty-er" than the other. I don't care for that side much.

I have yet to use the others enough to comment.

And DO get the best materials. There is no sense or savings in practicing with lesser quality. It doesn't behave the same, and often low quality is actually harder to work with, you end up having to re-learn when you switch to good quality anyway, and if you make something you love... there it sits, composed of inferior materials so probably it doesn't have the same longevity.

My two hoots-


11-09-2005, 03:41 AM
My preferences paper-wise are Stonehenge, Canson MT and Artagain Black. I dink around alot and rarely finish anything but I think a lot of that has to do with getting discouraged easily...lol.

I really have a strong dislike for illustration board...it just doesn't hold up for me. If I have to erase I can pretty much hang it up...the board goes nubby on me quick :( I was working on a LARGE Killer Whale piece (using solvent, Artstik, Prismas and burnishing) and had to erase a section where I got the colors backwards and pretty much ruined it...I literally bawled for 10 minutes and had about 10 hours in the piece.

I've tried using pastel for underpainting and freaked out a little bit...lol. The color was just too intense. This might have been because i used soft pastels...I'm not sure (couldn't find my oils at the time). I would like to explore this method more, I think it would save me some time on backgrounds but I really need to figure out what I'm doing wrong.

The current WIP (been IP for several months now lol) is from a ref library photo... Prismas on Stonehenge, complementary grisaille, light layers with very sharp pencils although I've used the white artstik to block off some larger areas that will have a lot of reflection. I've had to school myself NOT to get crazy with the burnishing on this one yet and that has been difficult. Thus far the light layer, sharp pencil method has worked best for me but it does take me forever to complete a piece.


11-09-2005, 12:37 PM
My preferences paper-wise are Stonehenge, Canson MT and Artagain Black. I dink around alot and rarely finish anything but I think a lot of that has to do with getting discouraged easily...lol.
I can really relate to what you say... I have suggested to talk about things like this a few times, but I didn't get any takers! Let me know if you are interested. We could exchange ideas, feelings, help. :D

Have you tried a battery-operated eraser? It works amazingly well and doesn't harm the paper/board.

I believe we have some threads in the CP Library covering the use of pastel as a time saver. I used it on the BG for an orchid, Kim (kimo) used it on the BG and the body of a parrot, Raye Burnett (raye51, I believe - she didn't post in ages) used it quite successfuly. I used soft pastels and Nupastels (made by Sanford now) without using fixative. The Bruynzeels didn't "take", but I had no problem with the Prismas...

I missed your WIP. Will take a look... :wave:

11-09-2005, 02:53 PM
Raquel...any time you wan't to talk about "getting motivated" drop me a pm or something :) I do believe that part of my problem is the 'time" factor involved in CP and that UGLY stage.

LOL...i have pored over the pastel threads in the CP library. Part of the interest as well with the pastels is that I have a 22x18 Macaw Piece that NEEDS something more done to it and I thought CP might just take care of it. It has only been sitting wrapped up in my portfolio for 6 years :eek:

I've wanted to try a battery powered eraser but am going ot have to order one it looks like. I don't get to Dick Blicks very often and they were out of them the last couple of times I looked there and at staples.

I don't think I ever posted the WIP I have going right now...will try to get it posted today :)


11-09-2005, 03:44 PM
A US company bought the stores called Radio Shack in Canada, and now they are called Source. They carry a $10 version of the wonderful Sakura, which costs much more than that! I have the good one, but tried the other one and it is OK. No way to get refills, though. I gave one to a friend, and found some of the tube erasers that are used in a holder are the same diameter, so they should work.

Will get in touch... :)

11-09-2005, 03:53 PM
Thanks Raquel...I will check Radio Shack out and see if they might have it...never thought of them :)

I use the refillable "click" eraser, kneaded eraser, tape, sticky tac and a scalpel (for removing lots of layers only). I really don't like any of them particularly well but that could be because I am just too heavy handed. Teaching myself to layer LIGHTLY was a task in and of itself...how does one erase lightly??? :))


11-09-2005, 05:39 PM
Oh I have been wanting an electric eraser for about a year. Maybe for Christmas who knows. Sticky tack, I've asked this question before, but where do ya get it? I've heard you can only get it in the UK. Is that right?

11-09-2005, 06:22 PM
I believe I got mine from either Staples or Walmart, Greg. Actually, mine is Handi-Tak (lol) and is made by the Super Glue Corp. I can't remember exactly but I believe I found it in the tape and misc office supply aisle at one of those places since it is an adhesive used to hang pictures and such.


11-09-2005, 06:41 PM
Greg I get sticky tac at Walmart. It is buy all of the school supplies. It is either white or blue and is used to hang up posters. (it took me a year to figure out what in the world *sticky tac was!) I also couldn't live without my battery eraser. I just have a cheap helix one. I think it cost eight dollars.
Raquel I tried the art spectrum paper once. I think I went wrong with it because I used my own method of laying down color. So it was a dismal failure. But I cut it up and handed it out to my class so they could experiment with it. Some really liked it. One of my students has been using the circulisum method of laying down color and is getting very good at it. wanda

11-09-2005, 07:25 PM
Once you use the original Blu-Tack made by Bostik, you won't want to use any other, believe me, there is a huge difference...! Quite inexpensive, distributed by: http://www.sibleyfineart.com - and enjoy Mike's tutorials at the same time, and preview his book coming out soon!

11-09-2005, 08:10 PM
So Raquel- the Blu Tack is superior to using a kneaded eraser for press-n'-lift? How much use can you get out of an individual piece? Does it just stop lifting when its done for? Does it clean it to stretch it, like a kneaded eraser? I'm thinkin' "order some"..... but want to know some more!


11-09-2005, 08:43 PM
Wow, Blue Tack is at Wal-Mart? I never would have guessed. I was at Office Depot thirty minutes ago and was probably looking right at it and didn't know it.

11-09-2005, 08:51 PM
Blu-Tack is softer than kneaded eraser, and you just fold it, stretch it and is always clean, practically. It is also stickier, so it does a better job, and because it is soft, you can shape it to a point to lift CP or graphite in a very small area, or to pick up any of the lead "crumbs" that stick to the work sometimes.

I ordered two packages, am using half of one and gave away the other half. I expect it to last a very long time! (I mean years...)

I use it to lighten up areas that are too dark. To remove the pigment completely I use Frisket film or the battery eraser. I find the Frisket comes in handy when I am getting tired and my hand slips. I can be absolutely precise with it.

Greg - Wanda mentioned another name brand, not Blu-Tack! I bought some cheap ones, at least two different kinds, but they really don't compare.

11-09-2005, 08:58 PM
I am glad to know about the Sticky Stuff. I will go get some. I've been using Scotch Tape quite a bit, and it does work well..... at least on Stonehenge. It doesn't work worth a hoot on Bristol Smooth, but not much does. I am really enjoying reading all the insights on this thread. It has been extremely helpful for new artists like me. I went ahead and rated this thread, not because I started it, but because there is tons of good information by some really good artists on it.

11-09-2005, 09:11 PM
Raquel, thank you!

And here's another vote for battery/electric erasers. I recently botched something, and the only way to fix it was to go for the big guns, so I sort of had to get one. That's my story and I'm stickin't to it. I got the Sakura battery operated eraser. It came with 10 refills, and it was about a week later that I was ordering the little pack of 70 (which comes in a nifty little plastic snap top box) because I found it was so handy to use.

Its really, really a "must have" item.


marilyn h
11-09-2005, 09:18 PM
Staples has tube erasers in their pen department. Stapels has a blue tak sticky I don't know if it is by Bostik l. Also picked up a staples little hand sharpener and it makes a very fine point. Staples Battery Operated sharpener has been ideal, also. (12.00)
Bought the first two yesterday. Cost me all of 3.00.

Office Max has the cheaper of the batter operated eraser for around 8 or 10 dollars.
Not trying to sell anything. Just some information that I have discovered.

11-09-2005, 09:29 PM
Staples has tube erasers in their pen department. Stapels has a blue tak sticky I don't know if it is by Bostik l. Also picked up a staples little hand sharpener and it makes a very fine point. Staples Battery Operated sharpener has been ideal, also. (12.00)
Bought the first two yesterday. Cost me all of 3.00.

Office Max has the cheaper of the batter operated eraser for around 8 or 10 dollars.
Not trying to sell anything. Just some information that I have discovered.

Thanks Marilyn. I think we have an Office Max in Tulsa. I'll check it out.

12-27-2005, 03:00 AM
Hi everyone.. This is a fascinating thread. Reading about what other artist's methods are is very interesting. I've experimented with Rising Stonehenge, and really like it. I also came across another paper call Rives, and I used it today for a 5x6 colored pencil painting called Walking in the Light..and loved it very much. I found that prismas works very well on the Rives.. It is really a nice paper.
I also heard of Somerset, which I purchased today; but haven't used it yet.

12-27-2005, 07:00 AM
Hi Chloe, thanks for posting. I hope some of this information was helpful to you. I know it was for me.

12-27-2005, 02:34 PM
Is that Rives VFK? That is a printing paper, and so is Stonehenge!!! It follows that a printing surface receives CP well. Well... there are other printing papers to test, aren't they? :cool:

12-28-2005, 07:15 AM
Great thread!

Blu-Tack - couldn't live without it, I've had the same pack for several years - plus I've used some of it for sticking things on the wall.

I use a mix of different pressures - I've done the 30+ super light layers and although I loved the finished effect, i found spending more than 55 hours on one piece (9x12 I think it was) way to draining, causes major wrist pain for me and takes too long for commission work.

I'm still experimenting, but I'm currently loving colourfix sanded paper with or without a pastel underpainting. I find that it will look good as long as I have a minimum of 3 shades of colour (preferably 5-7) going from light to dark and allowing the tiniest amounts of the previous colour to show through (either using vertical lines, strokes, stipple or cross hatching, depending on the texture).

I do get progressively heavier with my pressure in the last few layers, which results in a burnished appearance, but this is more because I don't like even a tiny speck of paper showing through, so I will sometimes blend the pigment with a q-tip, tissue or my finer or colourless blender.

I have tried stonehenge and arches hp 300lb - both great for numerous layers, but my preference is colorfix, then smooth side of Canson MT - with both of these I can roughly block in the local colour very quickly in the first layer, then use the remaining layers to pick up the detail I want.

Another reason I like Art Spectrum Colourfix is that I can remove most of the colour back to the paper, plus I can use pastels, watercolour, ink or acrylics on it, which is particularly useful for speeding up backgrounds. It also takes every pencil stroke I have tried - cross hatch, vertical, circular etc, it seems to keep taking layer after layer after layer if I want to do light-medium layers, plus it allows me to put a lighter colour over a heavy layer of darker colour - something that I havn't been able to do with other papers - at least not to the same extent.

I love using coloured paper, I am still experimenting with choosing the right colour. I did a quickie yesterday on a sheet of wc paper I had prepped myself with colourfix primer, but I had left it white - I was trying to be more loose and painterly but ended up unsatisfactorily detailed:( However, it took only 5-6 hours and the colour saturation in the Rainbow Lorikeet was great:) Only problem was I did the background in pastel with some cp leaves , but when you look at the painting sideways the lorikeet is slick and shiny and the background is a flat matt. I'm contemplating burnishing over the background with dark cp's to get the same look, although I might stick it under glass first to see if it actually will make a difference when framed.

Oh I use prismas and Derwent and some Polychromos. I generally select by colour rather than brand although some of the Derwents can be harder than the prismas (which has its pros and cons).


12-28-2005, 09:08 AM
Excellent information Michelle. :clap: :clap: :clap: I enjoy reading how other people work. I am going to have to try Colorfix paper. It is hard to find locally and I will probably have to order it online.

12-28-2005, 09:20 AM
Greg, Colourfix is made here in Australia so its one of the art things that *is* actually easy to get here:) I absolutely love Art Spectrums pastels as well.

As well as the big sheets, AS sells the colourfix in packets of 9x12 sheets in I think 8 different colours - one pack is warm, one cool coours. More expensive than a big sheet, but at least you get to see the different colours.

I have just prepped three of my own papers with the colourfix primer - you can use it on all sorts of things, not just heavy wc paper, matboard, plastic, wood etc. I've only use one sheet so far, but was pleased with the effect and buying the primer is definitely cheaper than buying the paper. You can cut it with a little water, then dollop it on with a wet house paint brush, then roll it out with a foam roller. I was told to do three coats, but have only done one coat so far and found it quite similar to the ready made colourfix. I got white so I could colour it with my acrylic paints.

So, if you are going to ship in colourfix paper, I'd suggest you get the primer as well, just in case you like it:) (If not I am sure it would sell on Ebay.


Rosa Weitzel
12-28-2005, 09:22 AM
In these last three years I learned one most importaint thing "Paint like a millionare" I read it here in the water color forum and over time it was right time and time again. I have tried every type of pencil out there, use all my gift money on pretty pencils and paper. I like Rising Stonehenge paper, it takes a licking and keeps on ticking as timex used to say.
I don't have any special way of working, I draw the picture and then sit down and start picking up the pencil that seems right for the area Im working in. I do believe in sharp sharp points, makes all the difference in the coverage, tiny sharp points get into all the small spaces that need covering on the paper. I believe in trying out all the ways there are to lay the pencil down and when you find one that makes your hand happy, then use it.
My Motto is "try every thing" just don't stop doing art.


God's Delight
12-29-2005, 12:55 AM
Thanks for all the pointers, everyone. I don't know why I skipped this thread for so long! I've got Stonehenge paper, my first "good" paper and I am excited to try it...a little nervous about "messing up" on good paper, so I appreciate the encouragement about allowing yourself to start out on good paper.:)

Plus, I needed the reminders about methods and all. I think I will also sit at the library and read up on their colored pencil instruction books, can't check any out(fines):crying: .

12-29-2005, 10:18 AM

Dick Blick carries it and they have a package of 9x12 or 8x10 (I forget) of various colors on sale right now. I ordered two packs because they are so small and such a good deal. Colorfix is absolutely GREAT!!! You will love it, there is nothing like it.

12-29-2005, 12:02 PM

Dick Blick carries it and they have a package of 9x12 or 8x10 (I forget) of various colors on sale right now. I ordered two packs because they are so small and such a good deal. Colorfix is absolutely GREAT!!! You will love it, there is nothing like it.

Thanks Weezy. Yeah, I gave my mom Dick Blick's company phone number to order my Christmas and Birthday stuff. Their selection over everything is so good. I guess the only issue I have is the shipping charges are a little high. Another thing we sometimes do is I'll get together with another Tulsa area artist and we'll order together from Dick Blick and split the shipping. That works well.

12-29-2005, 08:24 PM
Chloe - The Rives I mentioned is BFK, sorry for the mispelling... I just found out that this printmaking paper is made by Arches.

Thank you for sharing the benefit of your experience, Michelle! I assume the paper must be heavyweight not to buckle when the medium is applied. Does it dry fast? I look forward to see a piece of yours done on the prepared paper...

12-29-2005, 09:38 PM
Raquel yes the paper should be heavywieght - 300gsm is recommended. I did try it on some 250gsm wc paper and it cockled when wet but has dried flat enough to use - I am sure if I applied a layer of gesso on the back it will be fine, otherwise pre-stretch the paper. It did dry pretty quick - within about 10 minutes with just one layer.

The colourfix primer does come in black, white and multi colours - as well as clear, which would be good for coloured papers.


12-31-2005, 09:33 AM
This thread has been very informative on all the different types of papers that can be used for cp. I usually use Strathmore and have had success with it, but am eager to try some of the other papers out there. I had never even heard of Stonehenge papers before.
I was given a set of Verithins for Christmas and love them. I can't wait until I can get a set of Prismacolors. All the tips that I have learned will be very useful for my next project. I had usually worked in graphite and watercolors and keep trying to use what I had learned with these mediums and applying them to cp. Doesn't always work the same lol.
Looking forward to learning alot more.

12-31-2005, 01:56 PM
Welcome Shauna!!! :wave:

If you live close to Toronto, or are planning a visit, please feel free to PM me and I'll suggest some of the stores with best selection and/or prices. Some of them are discontinuing Prismacolors, but I found yesterday that my favourite pencil store not only has them in open stock, but also carry OS of Derwent Studio, Polychromos, Verithin, and more...

About Verithin, it is the hardest one, so you'll really find a marked difference when you try any of the other CP. Stonehenge papers are also available here.

12-31-2005, 07:12 PM
Recently I have been using Strathmore Artagain in midtone colors and I like it very much. I start by putting in the lights and the darks, then add local color and complements.

I use a scribble stroke with light to medium pressure. I don't worry about keeping a sharp point unless I am working in a detailed area. If I want the color to be non-directional, I change the stroke direction with each layer.


12-31-2005, 11:09 PM
Recently I have been using Strathmore Artagain in midtone colors and I like it very much. I start by putting in the lights and the darks, then add local color and complements.

I use a scribble stroke with light to medium pressure. I don't worry about keeping a sharp point unless I am working in a detailed area. If I want the color to be non-directional, I change the stroke direction with each layer.


Anne, I have heard of a directional stroke that is real close together cross-hatching, and then going diaginal both ways across that. Is that kind of what you are taking about? I watched Brenda do that and she got great paper coverage.