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Blog archives: 2012

“River Pebbles, No. 4” - Stumps & Tortillions

River Pebbles, No. 4

Title: River Pebbles, No. 4

Color Mapping with Artist Crayons - Cool Zone

After drawing the outline with Verithin colored pencils on the cool zone of the Icarus Drawing Board, I proceeded to map the main colors of the project with Neocolor artist crayons on the cool zone.

For more on color mapping with artist crayons you can view the following videos:

Artist Crayons Melted - High Temperature

With temperature setting at maximum, I melted the artist crayons using a clay shaper (color shaper).

For more on melting artist crayons you can view the following videos:

Orange Pebble Finished in Colored Pencil - Medium Temperature

With the temperature set at medium I developed the colors, values and details of the orange pebble by layering colored pencils and blending them with a tortillion.

Blue Pebbles Finished in Colored Pencil - Medium Temperature

The blue pebbles were accomplished in the same manner as the orange pebble.

Red Pebble Finished in Colored Pencil - Medium Temperature

I finished the drawing by completing the red pebble in the same manner as the other pebbles.

Clean-up, Highlights and Signature

Finally I cleaned up the drawing and emphasized the highlights with a white artist crayon. I like my signature to blend in and I can achieve that by using a sharp, white Verithin on the warm zone. It lightens the colors underneath just enough to make the letters visible without detracting from the art.

Paper Stump and Tortillion

When I first started experimenting with heat I was always on the lookout for different tools that would work with my technique. I remember trying tortillions and disliking them. I found that I couldn't really use them by the long side of the point because they would leave indentations/ridges on the waxy pigments.

The paper stumps that I normally use for large artwork were too thick and soft for this small project. At the same time I was getting very frustrated with how inconsistent the various colorless blenders have been lately. Finally I decided to give the tortillion another try and, guess what? It works great! The point is very thin and sturdy, not as soft as the paper stump's, perfect for blending colored pencils. It's easy to clean with sandpaper and very inexpensive. If you're using it already, you're way ahead of me. If you're not, try one and you'll be pleased!


Dreams Do Come True!

Standing in front of the Laguna Beach Festival of Art - Summer 2011

Every artist in Southern California knows that the place to be in the summer months is the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts. This has been a dream of mine for many years and it's finally coming true.

I can't tell you how honored I am to have been invited to this "world-renown cultural institution famous for its juried fine art exhibition and the Pageant of the Masters".

This is a two month affair, running from July 1st to August 31st. If you are planning to visit beautiful Laguna Beach during that time, please stop by and look for me!

July 1st - July 4th     10:00 am - 6:00 pm
July 5th - Aug 31st   10:00 am - 11:30 pm

For directions and parking, click here.


Icarus Art March 2012 Newsletter

The Icarus Art March 2012 Newsletter was just sent out. If you'd like to register for our newsletter, you can go to the homepage of Icarus Art and click the sign-up button on the top right corner.

Blog update: I haven't been able to post lately because of two important deadlines I have to meet before the end of the month. I'll be back to a more regular schedule soon. Thank you for your patience and your continued support.


You Ask, I Answer

Questions from Nannette: "I'd like to know how you begin. Do you grid? Do you use graphite? Do you use photos to work from - and if so do you take them yourself? What other subjects do you enjoy besides pebbles? Is there something you really don't like to draw?"

I take my own photo references since my creative process is deeply entwined with the subjects I study and - dare I say - even obsess over. Photos are secondary to my vision and I always seek to recreate those images that are already in my mind. I rarely get a perfect picture! I'm not a great photographer but I compensate by taking hundreds of shots. Below are examples of experimentation with pebbles and ice that I did at home.

Experimenting with Pebbles and IceMore Experimenting


I usually work on the composition in Photoshop from one or several images. Then I trace a rough outline directly from the computer monitor onto a sheet of tracing paper using a soft graphite pencil and a very light touch. Sometimes I free-hand the outline, depending on the complexity (I don't grid anymore but I used to). Finally I scan the pencil drawing and enlarge it with this program: PosteRazor: Make your own poster!

After printing out the enlargement and taping the individual sheets together, I trace the drawing onto the final paper. In the picture below you can see me tracing over a sheet of glass. At this stage I use Verithin colored pencils in the local colors of the drawing because I don't like to erase graphite.

Improvised Light Box

Whenever possible I prefer to work directly from the computer monitor versus a printed photo. It gives me more freedom during the "painting" phase. I can adjust colors and values, enlarge details, lighten dark areas, not to mention the saving in printer ink and photo paper.

Work Station

In the past I've explored various subjects and techniques, however in the last several years I've been focused on flowers and rocks and their interaction with water. I study them above water, below, and in-between, and observe how their visual characteristics change and relate to each other.

In general I don't enjoy drawing man-made things like buildings, cities, cars, or mechanical objects.

Thank you Nannette for asking these questions. It gave me an opportunity to share my thoughts and process with other artists.

More "You ask, I Answer" posts coming up in the near future. Look for a post on "burnishing" and another on "how I make my pebbles shine".

If you have questions that relate to my art and especially my process and technique, please feel free to ask them in a comment.


“River Pebbles, No. 3 - Melting Artist Crayons”

Title: River Pebbles, No. 3

Outline - Cool Zone

The outline was accomplished with Verithin Colored Pencils on the cool zone of the Icarus Drawing Board.

Color Mapping with Artist Crayons - Cool Zone

For more on color mapping with artist crayons you can view the following videos:

Detail View of Color Mapping

Here you can see the pigment density needed to achieve complete paper coverage after melting.

Melting Artist Crayons - Warm Zone

With temperature setting at maximum, I begin melting the artist crayons with a clay shaper (or color shaper).

For more on melting artist crayons you can view the following videos:

Melting Completed

Artist crayons save me a lot of time. After they are melted, the paper becomes completely saturated with vibrant colors. The waxy pigments make an ideal substrate for layering colored pencils on top.

Finished Artwork

With temperature setting at medium, I finally layer and blend colored pencils to develop colors, values and details.

You can see a slideshow of this project on the following blog post: Slideshow of "River Pebbles, No. 3".


“River Pebbles, No. 3”

River Pebbles, No. 3

Title: River Pebbles, No. 3

In my follow-up post of River Pebbles, No. 3, I will show you how I used Neocolor Artist Crayons with heat.


Published in “CP Treasures” Book

My artwork Social Network was chosen to be featured in Ann Kullberg's book CP Treasures. This book is described as "a new collection chronicling the amazing colored pencil work being created at this moment across the world.  It showcases over 70 stunning pieces from artists in 11 countries with a wide array of styles, surfaces and techniques."  If you click the link above, you can preview the book (my artwork is on page 55).

Social Network


Icarus Drawing Board: Review and Newsletter

Colored Pencil Society of Canada

Artist Erica Walker, secretary and treasurer of the Colored Pencil Society of Canada, wrote an excellent review of the Icarus Drawing Board titled "First Impressions of the Icarus Drawing Board". Here are the links to the English version and to the French version.

The Icarus Art February 2012 Newsletter was sent out yesterday. If you'd like to register for the newsletter, you can go to the homepage of Icarus Art and click the sign-up button on the top right corner.