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Bars
03-01-2008, 02:10 AM
:) Hi Pat, I have a question and was not sure where to post it. The question is this, how do I get crisp outlines using ops? I am painting a Coleus houseplant, and I want the edges of the leaves to be crisp, not blurry.
Regards everyone Bars:) :cat:

LJW
03-01-2008, 07:37 AM
Bars, questions now go in the Talk forum. Only paintings go in the Studio forum. I've asked Pat to move the thread for you.

I use a colour shaper to get a clean edge. I put down extra OPs near the edge and then, using a chisel-shaped colour shaper, push the Ops over to the edge. Jane

Pat Isaac
03-01-2008, 10:36 AM
I also use color shapers to get clean edges and sometimes I'll use an oil pencil.

Pat

AnnieA
03-01-2008, 01:13 PM
Hi Bars: I have a couple of techniques to add to the good advice that Pat and Jane have offered.

For a very crisp edge, one can also make a template. You could cut the leaf shapes out of a card (something about the thickness/stiffness of a manila folder would work well), and then use that to lay down the color over a background that you paint ahead of time. You have to be very careful when laying the template over the already-painted areas that you don't smearthem. Since coleus have a somewhat ruffled edge, this might be a good way of achieving a realistic look.

I've also found that using one of the square-shaped pastels, like Holbein or Cray-pas Specialists, can achieve a much sharper line than the round ones. Harder OPs are also easier to use for straight lines than softer OPs. Senneliers, for instance, because they're so soft, are very difficult to use for straight lines without employing some other method, such as the color shapers or template approach.

Even using Senns, though, I find I can sometimes achieve a fairly sharp edge by sort of filing down the tip of the OP to a chisel shape - scribbling it on a piece of scrap paper until it's got a fairly sharp edge on the end. It doesn't always work though - it seems to be dependent on the temperature and even humidity! And after one mark, I have to file it down again, so it seems to waste OP. The advantage however, is that it creates a more painterly mark.

You might also consider using sharp edges only in your focal area, and allowing the edges of the leaves that aren't part of the focus to blur slightly. Our eye tends to see the center of interest as sharp, with the adjacent areas not so much in focus. This is called "lost edges" and can be very effective.

Coleus are a favorite of mine - their beautiful colors should make for a lovely painting. I'll be looking forward to seeing your painting, Bars. :)

Scarefishcrow
03-05-2008, 06:47 PM
Bars--

An alternative to Annie's suggestion that I have used is to take NeoPastel OP's which are round and slim enough to fit into a crayon sharpener and put a point on them. Their firmer texture, but creamy application, use with a light touch could possibly get at your problem.

Bill

HarveyDunn
03-24-2008, 10:36 AM
I also use color shapers to get clean edges and sometimes I'll use an oil pencil.

Pat

What brands of oil pencils are available? I know of Walnut Hollow and Marshall's, are there others?

AnnieA
03-24-2008, 12:50 PM
Harvey: Marshall's? I hadn't heard of that brand. You got my curiosity going, so I searched around a bit. They're pencils that are made for retouching photographs. Blick carries them: http://www.dickblick.com/zz205/16/
But Blick only carries what they call the "Tropical Set" which features primarily bright colors. They seem to be available at photographic equipment suppliers. Here's a blog where they're mentioned (in the context of colorizing photos, but some of the info may be of relevance to OPs as well): http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=006Nmd

Have you ever used these, Harvey? They appear to be oil paints in pencil form, but what I've read says they're formulated to be transparent. I'm curious how they work over OPs. Is the transparency a problem? OTOH, this site, http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/shop/885/Pencils.html, which carries the pencils in open stock (they're pricey at $3.50 each), mentions a Cadmium Yellow, and since cadmiums are known to be very opaque, perhaps there are opaque pencils as well. It also carries the "Tropical" set and I didn't notice any other sets.

Thanks for bringing these pencils to our attention, Harvey. I post here a lot and I don't think I've ever heard anyone mention them before.

starblue
03-24-2008, 01:55 PM
I located this PDF (http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:tkVImBGvqRsJ:www.kenthutslar.com/files/page0_1.pdf+Marshall+oil+pencils&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=21&gl=us) about how to use Marshall's pencils to colorize a photograph, which is their raison d'etre. On the last page is a list of the colors they make.

Marshall's has been around a long time. I remember them from when I learned photography in high school in the late 1960's, when you could buy a basic set at nearly any photo store. I never mentioned them here because the small sets I'd ever seen (typically 6 pencils) were too limited for general art. Although I did a lot of experimenting with B&W photography back then, I never colorized photos because the results always looked so pale and anemic--they were no substitute for real color film. I didn't know they make as many colors as they do--the PDF lists 33.

AnnieA
03-24-2008, 02:22 PM
Bob: I can't help but wonder if Marshall's oils is the same product I remember from when I was a little girl that my grandmother used to colorize old b&w photos. Any ideas about whether the pencils would work with OPs? Since they're available in open stock, that might be something worth looking into, if so.

HarveyDunn
03-24-2008, 02:26 PM
I've got some on order, will report back when they arrive.

Pat Isaac
03-24-2008, 04:04 PM
Never heard of them in pencil form. I used to colorize B&W photos when I was a kid, but the Marshalls oils were in tube form and you applied the color with a Q-tip. I'll be interested to see how they work, Harvey.

Pat

Scarefishcrow
03-24-2008, 04:39 PM
Michael's is another place (retail) that you can obtain a fairly broad array of Marshall's products. They are in the scrapbooking section. They have a variety of products including kits with oils and Q-tips to colorize photos and various colored "markers" with pale colors that can also be used. I believe I have also seen the pencils but dont think they come in anywhere near the number of colors that Wlanut Hollow comes in and, as Bob mentioned, they tend to be rather pale, "pastel" (sorry, soft pastel folks) shades.

Annie, I would almost bet that this is the same company whose products your father used since I read some about them and before the advent of color photography they were the primary manufacturer of oil sets to colorize photos and some people made their living doing custom colorization for consumers. (Bob probably know more about this than I). I think that the advent of color photography has ultimated resulted in their shift to the rather sizeable niche market in scrapbooking, thus their prominence at Michael's retail outlets. Interestingly, they even sell an aerosol pretreatment product that I can only compare to something like a "workable fixative" for dry pastel. I.e., it is applied to supply a bit of "tooth" to the surface to be worked. I always wondered why there couldn't be some sort of pretreatment "adhesive" that would allow "soft pastels" to adhere better to surfaces and reduce the dusting problem.

Anyway, that's what I know of Marshall's. There are some competing brands available at Michael's in the same section, but I don't recall if they include pencils.

There is also a Walter Foster book on Photo Tinting by Ed Krebs with William F. Powell. It also offers OP's as an option for colorizing BW photos with a demonstration by Powell (I think) near the end on using Oil Pastel to create color images from BW photos.



Bill
:music: :heart: :music:

Bars
03-26-2008, 03:32 AM
:cat: Thanks everyone for your help, I will try and track down some of these shapers you talked about Pat. I have posted the painting ,cant tell you where to find it other that it was in opnew Can I repost it to this thread? Bars:wave:

Pat Isaac
03-26-2008, 08:00 AM
Bars, I remember that coleus plant. Is this the one you meant? It is in the sketch thread here.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=481845

Pat

fishfan
03-27-2008, 09:50 AM
Here's a really good way to get a sharp outline. Lay down the background color(s)to just over where the foreground object (leaf?) will be. After it has set overnight, you can go over the edge area with the colorless or blending pastel. This step is really not necessary, but it may help depending on the colors to be used. After it's set again, do your foreground reasonably carefully, but don't worry because you can use the sgraffito technique to scrape back to a really crisp edge. I use light pressure with an Exacto knife for this. Ed

Pat Isaac
03-27-2008, 09:59 AM
Great tip, Ed. Thanks.

Pat

AnnieA
03-28-2008, 01:33 AM
Another way to get a sharp edge is with an architect's erasing shield, which is a very thin rectangular metal sheet tool with holes of various shapes in it, including a fairly thin line that's very handy. You can use it as a small template.

Ed, that sounds like a great technique. I'm working on a piece right now where that might help. I'll try it. Thanks. :)

ZanBarrage
03-29-2008, 12:17 AM
I have a Walnut Hollow set that I stole from my wife. She got it from Michael's too. I love using it to draw before using OPs and for edges and details in the process. They are no good once you have layed several layers of OP as they will dig through them (Unless that is what you hjave in mind). I can tell you the brighter coloured oned (Yellow and White) will need replacing soon. I think they are an excellent addition to the box much as pastel pencils are for the chalk people.:thumbsup:

Here is a link:
http://www.michaels.com/art/online/displayProductPage?productNum=gc0196

ZanBarrage
03-29-2008, 12:35 AM
Quick update

Blick have Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor Premium Oil-Based Colored Pencils. has anyone used these before?
http://www.dickblick.com/zz220/49/

Pat Isaac
03-29-2008, 09:33 AM
Yes, I have a set of those, Zan. They are oil based and can be used for OPs also.

Pat

Scarefishcrow
03-29-2008, 12:42 PM
Has anyone ever tried using removable frisket such as is used for airbrush? I've been using it to put around the edges to keep them clean and it occurred to me that, at least in early stages where you have not laid in the OP, you could use frisket to protect areas, say a figure that needs detailed work or main focus while you lay in a background texture, etc.

Anyone ever try that?

Bill
:music: :heart: :music:

Pat Isaac
03-29-2008, 01:54 PM
Never tried it, Bill, but it sounds like a good idea. Is this the same frisket that is used for watercolor?

Pat

Scarefishcrow
03-29-2008, 02:40 PM
Actually, in watercolor the most common type of "frisket" is a liquid form that is brushed or spattered on. In reality it is little more than rubber cement that you can rub off when the washes are overlaid.

What I'm talking about are VERY low tack plastic sheets that are commonly used in airbrushing where you have a very complicated drawing and basicly cover it with the frisket and cut carefuly pieces of frisket to be removed (sometimes replaced) to aribrush a crisp shape. It is really basic to airbrushing as I understand it.


In fact, I have not been using real "frisket" but a roll of Removable Laminating Plastic from Staples. It is all the same idea, very low tack clear plastic. You can get cutters like one made by Fiskars for scrapbooking with a tiny rotating blade that can be adjusted up and down by a screw mechanism so you can make cuts basically that would go only through the frisket and not damage the support.

Another idea is that with the frisket covering on your support and sketch, you could lay in color tests and easily remove them from the plastic surface if you wanted to try out some color combinations and see if they would work.

If crisp edges are you only concern, then you can get heavy weight Acetate sheets (not sticky), cut out masks to put over, next to, etc. the area you want to develop a complicated edge on.

Just some ideas that I thought about when reading the thread. I really do like the stuff for protecting the edges since no matter what type of tape I buy, it always seems to stick to the paper more than it should and this stuf comes right off.

You can find sheets and sometimes rolls of it at Michaels near the airbrushing supplies. If you get the laminating material, make sure you get the stuff labelled "Removable" or "Repositionable".

Bill
:music: :heart: :music:

Pat Isaac
03-29-2008, 04:26 PM
Well, I learn something new every day. I didn't know anything about this frisket, then again I never did airbrushing. It sounds like a very useful material, especially being able to test out colors. I have often colored a piece of paper to see if it would work, but this sounds even better.
Thanks, Bill.

Pat

Scarefishcrow
03-30-2008, 12:14 PM
Well, I learn something new every day. I didn't know anything about this frisket, then again I never did airbrushing. It sounds like a very useful material, especially being able to test out colors. I have often colored a piece of paper to see if it would work, but this sounds even better.
Thanks, Bill.

Pat

Actually, I've never done any airbrushing (although I bought a cheap one), but I voraciously fed my art addiction by reading books on techniques in all sorts of media. I also have tried most of them, you have my wife's frustration with the mess I made with most of them for my presence in OP, it seemed the least of the messy evils to her (actually, she is very supportive, but wants me to get my studio organized; you've had students like me, Pat, I know:lol: :lol: :o :o

I think I may try it on the Homer picture "Catboat" since it has lots of figures and maybe I'll take some progress pics and see how it works. The more I think about it the more I think it could help; more so if you tend to work area by area and I know you don't like to do that. But I was thinking attaching some heavy Acetate (nonsticky) sheets that could be lifted out of the way to work on an area and put back down to protect it from smudges or tiny wads of errant OP getting on it might help keeping a work clean.

Do you have problems with little "beads" of OP that form as you layer or shap color. Of course I tend to work somewhat impasto, but I often have these little "blobs" ("chads"???) of OP on the surface of a work at the end and have trouble getting them off without smearing something. Do you understand what I'm talking about??

Bill
:music: :heart: :music:

Pat Isaac
03-30-2008, 01:33 PM
Absolutely, Bill. Those little flakes can be very annoying, especially when I,m matting a painting and :eek: there is one of those things on the white mat..:mad: I have recut many a mat. I try to brush them off with a tissue as I work. Don't always get them all though :rolleyes: I now find working on the board prevents my frustration with matting. NO MAT...:D

You need to get your studio organized....you'll love it and wonder how you ever worked without it!!:thumbsup:

Pat :angel:

AnnieA
03-30-2008, 02:17 PM
Bill: I find that holding the painting upside down and using an architect's brush to very gently brush across the surface will help remove many of the nubbies. Once the brush is used for that purpose, though, it probably shouldn't be used for anything else, at least until one washes it, as it develops a slight film of OP on the bristles. Nubbies also often can be gently lifted off with the tip of an exacto or some similar sharp, flat tool, if one has a steady hand.

Pat: Oh, I really hate them too, but I've never had them ruin a mat! :eek: How frustrating - it's time consuming to cut mats. I can see why you prefer to work on board! :D

Scarefishcrow
03-30-2008, 05:01 PM
Ok, tomorrow is STUDIO DAY. My wife will love you! Besides, when the bill for my credit card comes, I'm gonna need something to swap for my life!

Tomorrow WORK WORK WORK No Monkey Business

(And thanks both of you for your advice on "nubbies" ; I learned a new word)

Bill
:music: :heart: :music:

starblue
03-30-2008, 08:29 PM
I use a drafting brush to gently brush away flakes while I'm working--I try to take care of them before they stick to the surface, and the brush deals with >95% of the cases. For the few that do stick, I find a palette knife works really well to pick them off. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you can just smoosh them into the painting. Some brands do flake more than others, but I haven't found any brand, student or artist's, that won't flake to some extent, so the brush gets used a lot.