Thank you, Candace, Jake.
Jake, your two nudes are so adorable. Great poses!!
You have great imagination and gauge of proportions.
Today, I experimented when I didn't have to chauffeur my kids around.
I am testing Prismacolor Artstix and Derwent Colorsoft together, the different positions I could draw without getting too tired.
Af first I tried sitting on my normal chair and propped the table top easel up around 50 degrees. It was so tiring for my arm and it just didn't make sense to use even Lyra Watersoluable Graphite crayon to do large arm movement because you have to tape or secure this piece of 8.5 x11 inch paper somehow and the photo reference from a book on the same plane.
In the end, I gave up using this rather upright position once again.
Using up my kids' penmanship newsprint.
I have been reading how gesso alone has some grit and I decided to prime one page of Pen Sketcher's sketchbook from Bee company to compare with one without and use Prismacolor Artstix and Derwent Coloursoft.
This page is not primed. Image based on a magazine photo.
After laying down Derwent Coloursoft, there were a lot of white holes still. So I used Arstix to cover as much as possible and realized that Derwent's black is not really black but more a dark dark gray. How disappointing.
Brushing doesn't work because Artsix is very waxy and stubborn. Nor does rubbing with felt. So I used a Shinhan colorless alcohol blender to blend it. It does work but a lot of work but I do like having a fine tip to do the hair.
Still not good enough. This is what it looks like.
In the end, I had to photoshop it to darken the black. Still not good enough.
The next one has a layer of white Liquitex acrylic gesso with a couple drops of Golden Fluid acrylic quin gold color. Same sketchbook.
It's mostly Artstix and there is definitely slightly more grit but not enough to make a difference. However, any mistakes is much easier to erase. Not sure why. But I don't like the sponge brush marks that show up as a result. I don't like irregular textured surface.
Then I wonder if I could use odorless thinner to blend the colors and not make it into a paste with the gesso. It worked. And while it's still moist with the solvent, I used the artstix to do the background in bolder strokes.
Let dry and then touch up with Derwent Colorsoft for details.
It's pretty decent. Hard to tell it's colored pencil/artstix with this saturation method.
Since I laid down gesso, the underside is protected unlike the above piece where the underleaf can't be used anymore because of the seepage of colors.
This following piece is an Artspectrum Colourfix pastel paper and it used to be loaded with soft pastel of a canyon. I didn't like the piece and also don't care for the dust so today, I tried to erase it with my Vanish 4 in 1 eraser. It left a lot of marks and the sanded surface was shaving down my eraser. So I took it into the yard and use a waterhose and sprayed it with water and used a harder brush to brush off the pastel. The pastel never really went away totally. The paper is actually 140 lb watercolor paper primed with acrylic gesso and etc by the company and I heard that water wouldn't damage it. So it didn't. Just a bit more undulating when dried but very usable.
I have used this surface only for soft pastels mostly and not even oil pastels but today, the first try was encaustic wax blocks. It doesn't do anything because the blocks are too hard and the texture is coarse. Plus the blocks have a lot of neon colors and it didn't scan at all.
Artstix went on fine but the texture is still showing. Colored pencils get chewed up quickly. I don't understand how some colored pencil artist could stand using this surface.
I used solvent and luckily, the ground didn't turn into mush as some other pastel paper would. But by now, the page looked pretty limp with muddy colors. Used Mungyo oil pastel to salvage what I could. Horse is colored pencil and you could see how coarse the texture is.
The real piece has a lot more reds and browns but the wax block is not scannable colors.
Perhaps I'll put black pastel ground on it tomorrow and start over.
This last one is the most interesting experiment of all.
A couple of years ago, I did Junichi Okada in soft pastel in 1500 grit sandpaper gray color from 3M and I wanted to try colored pencil today. At $2.09 a piece at retail, it's not cheap. But one could buy them in 50 pc package for $25 and that works our to be 50 cents a piece.
At the moment, no art online store are making 1500 grit. The highest it goes is 800 grit. Industrial wise, there are even 2000 grit ones too but you know how art reviewers say that sandpaper would fall apart after a couple of years and etc..., not acid free or ph neutral or archival.
Compared to Golden or Colourfix pastel ground that I have tried before which approximates 800 grit, this 1500 grit is extremely fine. Even the Artstix goes on smoothly.
The problem is the piece has a gray background and while it unified the piece, I wanted some parts brighter. Washing it with solvent doesn't work as I am reminded once more because the colors would sort of disappear on dark surface. So after the solvent dried, I put more Arstix on to put the intensity of color back in. At probably the third layer, the surface started becoming waxy. That's when I wished I hadn't washed it or put so many layers on.
I'm trying to simulate soft pastels without the dust and it's not that easy. Oil pastel could have done the job but I don't like the clunkiness of oil pastel in some of the subjects I do, especially those involving people and animals in smaller sizes.
But it's not a bad piece. Reference is from a Paint India instruction book from Walter Foster company.
I now only have only a few options.
I don't want to do soft pastels, nor acrylics which I make a mess off most of the time. I still can't do watercolor after taking a course and I fail to make colored ink work the way I want to.
I'm stuck with oil pastel or colored pencils.
Surface wise, it's either only Stonehenge or smoother paper with solvent. Perhaps I should stick half of this sandpaper piece out in the sun and see how long it would be before it fades. I also need to test how fast these Prismacolor Artstix will fade. I really like using Artstix for background. I need to buy an anti-UV spray next time so I could test if fugitive colors could be protected. I can't live without pink or violet.