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Old 05-02-2019, 01:20 AM
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Artgraf Watersoluable Graphite Squares

I just wanted to offer a quick update on my own experience with a product called "Artgraf Watersoluable Graphite Squares" in conjunction with oil pastels.

The first thing to note is that I ordered these following Youtube product reviews - mainly that of one video which demonstrated these particular water soluble pigments for use as underpainting with pastels.

The problem however, and of which did not appear to be covered in the video presentations, is that the graphite material is highly transferable - and of which, will readily blend with oil pastels.

And so in the event that someone was considering these - please keep in mind that graphite will not provide an reliable base layer from which to use pastels over - as the graphite will blend with the pastel being placed over it.

- hope this helps, and happy pastel'ing
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Last edited by JohnBee : 05-02-2019 at 01:24 AM.
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Old 05-02-2019, 01:18 PM
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Re: Artgraf Watersoluable Graphite Squares

Wow, that's good information to know. Thanks, John!

I do know that it's generally okay to sketch out a painting with a light graphite pencil, as long as you apply a coating of workable fixative spray over the graphite before you begin. I saw your photo of the the graphite squares you posted - it could be they are denser/darker, making them more prone to bleed into the OP's.

You could give another try with the spray, if you didn't the first time, to see if it's even worth it. I agree, it's certainly annoying to be misled by videos that seem to offer a valid technique.
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:00 AM
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Re: Artgraf Watersoluable Graphite Squares

Hi Terri, I have thought of the fixative, and I will definitely be getting some in the near future to try out as well, as I am still in the process of getting setup.

Though I wanted to offer this quick update, as I posted a recommendation in a previous thread regarding these particular products, and was a bit worried that someone might follow suite, as they can be quite pricey for the entire set.

Now to be fair, the squares themselves are spectacular in my opinion, as they burst amazing colour from what seems like such a small amount of pigment - though I'm not sure they are a good match for oil pastels.

Having said that, and on the matter of alternatives, I have yet to try underpainting with the oil pastels themselves using turpentine, which will be my next experiment - though so far, I'm really enjoying the learning experiences

PS. I think the video's in question were using dry pastels - do you think that would make a difference?
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:49 PM
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Re: Artgraf Watersoluable Graphite Squares

Dry pastels would certainly not have the wax/oils of OP's, which would likely reduce the problem.

Still - as a rule, I would play it safe to use a workable fixative over any medium that wasn't another type of OP. I've used my Cray-Pas Expressionists in underpaintings, and blended them nicely with Turpenoid using a 1" artist brush. I can proceed with the Mungyos or any other softer OP right over that, no fix needed. I've also used graphite pencil to sketch - as well as soft pastel pencils or Nupastel sticks - and just sprayed over it with the fix.

Either approach will get you there. I've not tried acrylic or oil paints, so can't speak to that, but workable fix sprays will list what mediums they work with on the side of the can.

You can also just skip the underpainting and just get to work on your painting, using a workable fix as you build layers. After 3-4 coats, the Mungyos can get a little slick (less of a problem with sanded papers), and the fix takes care of that. (I always either sketch out a scene or do some kind of blocking out, mainly because I'm still new to painting in general and have little confidence in my sketching skills! But once you get past that stage, underpaintings -in any form - are jump ball decisions.)

Lots of choices! The fun is playing with several of them while you learn to handle the OP's, and eventually come up with a working flow that you're comfortable with.
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Old 05-05-2019, 11:18 AM
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Re: Artgraf Watersoluable Graphite Squares

Well good news on the underpainting, I purchased some fixative yesterday and give it a whirl, and it would appear that this does the trick quite nicely.

Though I'm not sure about the gloss factor however - of which I'm confident would vary with the type of fixative.

However and with that being said, one really strange occurrence that's come up is that the Mungyo pastels show excellent coverage over the fixed pastels, whereas the Sennelier's are showing very poor coverage - which has me completely perplexed, as the Sennelier's appear to be much softer than the Mungyo pastels from what I can tell - and so I'm not sure what to make of that personally...

Aside from this, I tried underpainting with pastels using turpentine, which worked quite well, though it would not hold under another layer of pastel without fixative - and so I'm on the fence as to whether that will prove helpful in this particular case.

Whatever the case, I'm really enjoying the discovery with pastels and look forward to learning more as things continue to move along.
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Old 05-05-2019, 04:10 PM
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Re: Artgraf Watersoluable Graphite Squares

That's great news, John! Glad you'll be able to use the graphite just by adding the fixative spray.

I can't speak as to why you're seeing a gloss afterwards. I checked my can of Krylon Workable Fixative and it doesn't specify Gloss or Matte finish - usually, workable fix is added with the assumption more layers of medium will cover it, so the type of finish isn't a major consideration.

Some Senns are more opaque than others, as you're finding out. The Mungyos are fairly uniform in their opacity.

Sounds like you're having fun and are moving right along. Have fun!
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Old 05-05-2019, 05:14 PM
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Re: Artgraf Watersoluable Graphite Squares

I use the Artgraf products quite regularly..The colored blocks are dense and highly pigmented. I have combined them in works with colored pencil, charcoal, conte and dry pastels, and markers.

Most of my use of them is in landscapes and on works 16x20 and larger. They are really well-suited for using outside...But no, they don't play too well with OP.

They are otherwise great to work with. Pretty pricey, although I have purchased most of mine on clearance.
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:33 PM
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Re: Artgraf Watersoluable Graphite Squares

Quote:
Originally Posted by terriks
That's great news, John! Glad you'll be able to use the graphite just by adding the fixative spray.

I can't speak as to why you're seeing a gloss afterwards. I checked my can of Krylon Workable Fixative and it doesn't specify Gloss or Matte finish - usually, workable fix is added with the assumption more layers of medium will cover it, so the type of finish isn't a major consideration.

Some Senns are more opaque than others, as you're finding out. The Mungyos are fairly uniform in their opacity.

Sounds like you're having fun and are moving right along. Have fun!

On the matter of fixative gloss, I was able to avoid this by spraying farther away from the surface - a little trick I learned from another hobby, and so it's all good

You're so right on the Senneliers, though I guess I was just surprised as my expectations were high based on reviews - but not a very big deal, as I will gladly use them in other applications.

One question though(if I may), how do you guys keep your pastels sharp?
I mean, they work quite nicely when new, but I noticed the tips blunting quite quickly with use, and I've been contemplating some way to get an edge back without loosing material through sharpening?
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Old 05-05-2019, 11:46 PM
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Re: Artgraf Watersoluable Graphite Squares

To get a sharper edge I usually work the op to a flat area on larger surfaces, then use the sharper edges of the pastel for the edges. For tiny areas of application use the tip of a knife
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Old 05-08-2019, 03:49 PM
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Re: Artgraf Watersoluable Graphite Squares

Don't bother looking for a sharp edge from the "pointed" or rounded end of your OP - instead, peel back the paper from the flat, bottom end. To keep it flat (and continue to give you a nice sharp edge you can roll on its side) periodically rub it several times over clean paper - or, as Christel suggests, rub it over any larger area in the painting that calls for that color. You don't waste as much as you think you would.

Also, be at peace with getting the occasional fat line, and just use a scraping tool to carve it out, so to speak. This generally works better after a couple of layers are laid down. Take a step back from your painting to see if your lines are actually sharp enough, too. We can get caught up in peering too closely!
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