Eastern Bluebirds

Recently finished a 11″ x 14″ piece of a pair of Eastern Bluebirds, and just wanted to share this as a quick update. I don’t have any other work in progress at the moment, but will share once I start up again.

I chose to add pink Dogwood flowers in the background as a compliment to the bluebirds. The birds are a male and female pair, as you may note the slightly duller plumage on the head of the bird behind the brighter male.

Here’s the full image.

Eastern Bluebirds 11" x 14"
Eastern Bluebirds
11″ x 14″


Here is a nice closeup of the birds.



That’s it for now. I’ll post again soon.

~ Angela



Using Colored Paper

One of the nicest things to have as an artist, is a variety of canvases and colors. With most of my color pencil work, I have used white paper (bristol board), but a few years back I discovered quality colored paper that others were using. I was immediately intrigued, and ordered a pad for myself. The colors will really pop off the paper with these sheets. These papers can be used as canvas for color pencil, charcoal, graphite, and pastels.

Canson has a a few different pads under the name Mi-Tienes, with various tones to choose from in each pad. You can see and purchase them here  http://www.dickblick.com/products/canson-mi-teintes-pads/

Canson Mi-Tienes

One of the interesting things about working on one of the darker toned papers is that you already have some shadow built into your canvas. You can start your work with a simple outline, and add highlights first, and then minimal shadows later on. With most paper media, I start shadows first, then mid-tones, and lastly highlights. Another added benefit to colored paper is that you don’t necessarily have to fill in every corner, since the canvas is already rich with tone.

Here are a few in process photos of work done on colored paper. Having your highlights done ahead of time can really put things in perspective while you are working with the rest of the colors in the palette.

Dolphin Touch progress photoWhite Ibis photoSeaturtle progress photo

And here are just a few finished pieces done on the Mi-Tienes paper.

The paper also has a different texture on each side; one smooth, and one waffle-y. “Bella” was done on the rougher textured side. Not what I initially wanted for the piece, but it worked out.

double-trouble cardinalsgrayfoxwhiteibis

I’m currently working on a few pieces using this paper. My pad will need replacing soon, and I’m curious to try the other color tones in the Mi-Tienes series. I recommend them to anyone using color pencil. I also have a few large poster sized sheet of paper I have yet to use. I haven’t tackled a piece that big yet, but I have them on hand for the challenge eventually.

Sorry my post this week was a bit late. I just have a few things on my plate that have been hectic. I’ll be back on schedule for next week!

The History of the Colored Pencil

After using this medium for more than a decade, I discovered that the history behind it goes back farther than I thought. I used to believe that they were relatively new, but that’s incorrect. The invention and development of these pencils goes back over 200 years.

The historical time line for the pencil companies is borrowed from this page (http://www.mooresartgallery.com/pencils.html) , detailing many of the companies that went on to produce the high quality art materials known today. Among the familiar brands are Lyra, Derwent, and Faber-Castell.

During the early twentieth century, the colored pencil core was developed. It was made up of a combination of pigments or dyes and a binder.

The first iteration of the color pencil was undertaken in 1761, when a small factory in Germany under the name Kasper Faber, began making color pencils. This small factory would end up becoming the world famous Faber Castell company.

In the early 1920’s, the A.W. Faber Company began selling over 60 different shades of colored pencils for artists. They are still considered one of the best brands today.

In 1806, the German company Lyra was established.

In 1832, British company Derwent began manufacturing pencils.

In 1834, Staedtler produced their first colored pencils.

In 1890, L. & C. Hardtmuth Company of Austria-Hungary introduced their Koh-I-Noor brand, named after the famous diamond.

In 1924 in Switzerland, a company named Caran d’Ache was founded. One of the top brands of color pencils today, but very expensive.

In 1925, the Schwann Stabilo Company was established in Germany. One of the leading makers of colored pencils.

Either Derwent or Lyra was the first company to design and manufacture the watercolor pencil in 1930.

In 1938, Berol introduced Prismacolors. They are sold in small primary color sets, and the full 120 color set. They are one of the most popular brands today, and also the one I use for my own work.
Currently, they are manufactured by a company called Sanford.

At one time, these pencils were designed with the intent of making the world’s most expensive and highest quality pencil. The goal of highest quality was achieved, and thankfully for artists, they aren’t an extreme expense.

Today, colored pencils can be used on a variety of surfaces. Sketchbook paper, Bristol board, and Pastel paper all are great canvases for the colored pencils. I have on one occasion, seen someone use colored pencils on a sheet of plastic by using a heating element underneath the sheet to melt and blend the colors. It was interesting, to say the least.

It’s also amazing how far the pencils have come from their initial development to the wide array of not just colors to choose from, but also pencil sets that mimic watercolors, and oils. This medium can and has fooled some people into thinking they are looking at a painting, and not a drawing.

Well, it’s not just an artist’s techniques that does that, but also very much in the quality of the pencils.

See you all next week. 🙂