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Blog Category: Icarus Boards

“River Pebbles, No. 7”

River Pebbles, No. 7

Title: River Pebbles, No. 7

Outline - Cool Zone

The outline was accomplished with Prismacolor Verithin on the cool zone of the Icarus board.

Color Mapping - Warm Zone - Low Temperature

In this step I blocked-in the main colors on the warm zone with very low heat, just enough to soften the waxy pigments without melting them or blending them.

Burnishing & Blending - Warm Zone - Medium Temperature

After setting the temperature control at medium, I added additional color until there was enough pigment to obliterate the paper. Then I began blending using the point of a tortillon or the side of a paper stump with a very light touch.

Colorless blenders were used to soften edges and details.

 

“River Pebbles, No. 6”

River Pebbles, No. 6

Title: River Pebbles, No. 6

In preparation for the upcoming Laguna Beach Festival of Arts I've been working on small and large pieces concurrently and I haven't had the time to scan and put together the step-by-steps and videos. However I've been jotting down all the interesting technical aspects that I encountered so that I won't forget to share them with you when time permits.

In this particular piece I struggled a bit with the surface. Colourfix Supertooth is very rough and, although it's well suited for rocks and pebbles, it might be an overkill. The bigger issue with Colourfix paper is that the texture is inconsistent, sometimes it's toothier than others and I don't like surprises.

Priming my own paper gives me much more control over the final results. It's very easy to do it and also less expensive than buying already-made Colourfix paper.

 

“Snake River Ripples”

Snake River Ripples

Title: Snake River Ripples

"Snake River Ripples" is my contribution to the ART-TO-GO fund raising program. The Laguna Beach Festival of Art exhibitors donate one or more artworks to The Artists Fund which promotes, displays, and sells their work through retail and auction activities. The fund serves as financial relief to artists suffering economic hardship.

The 2012 ART-TO-GO Preview Exhibit is co-hosted by the Laguna Beach City Hall and the 1st Thursday Art Walk members. It runs from May 24 through June 26 at the City Hall. The artists reception is scheduled for Thursday, June 7, at 5pm.

 

“Poppy, No. 3”

Poppy, No. 3

Title: Poppy, No. 3

Outline - Cool Zone

The outline is accomplished with Prismacolor Verithin on the cool zone of the Icarus board. I don't like to add too many details at this point, only the principal lines.

Color Mapping - Warm Zone - Low Temperature

I'm blocking-in the main colors of the poppy on the warm zone with very low heat, just enough to soften the waxy pigments without melting them or blending them.

Burnishing & Blending - Warm Zone - Medium Temperature

After setting the temperature control at medium, I add additional color until there's enough pigment to obliterate the paper. Then I begin blending using the point of a  tortillon with a very light touch.

Sometimes I smooth out the color gradations with the side of a paper stump if the area in question is large enough. The very small veins are created with a white Verithin which lifts and lightens the original color underneath.

Burnishing & Blending - Warm Zone - Medium Temperature

Burnishing & Blending - Warm Zone - Medium Temperature

Burnishing & Blending - Warm Zone - Medium Temperature

Refining and Polishing - Warm and Cool Zones

The last step includes refining the edges (cool zone), polishing the color gradations (warm zone), adding the fuzz on the stem (warm zone), filling in the white speckles of paper that are still showing (warm zone), and the signature.

I like to sign my name with a Verithin pencil on the warm zone. I use a lighter color than the background and press enough to create an indentation which is visible even after varnishing.

 

“River Pebbles, No. 5”

River Pebbles, No. 5

Title: River Pebbles, No. 5

 

“Poppy, No. 1” - Learning from my Mistakes

Poppy, No. 1

Title: Poppy, No. 1

I need to produce lots of small artworks for the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts (by the way, I'm finally on their website) so I started a new series on poppies. With each piece I will post something interesting about how I made it.

I had never painted a small poppy before, only medium or large ones, and decided to make this a 5" x 5" project. After priming the paper with a thin coat of regular Colourfix Primer, I began to draw. It didn't take me very long to realize that this was not going to work.

A sanded pastel surface like Colourfix is perfect for pebbles and rocks and it helps to emphasize their natural texture. However it's not the best choice for smooth, flowing, transparent flowers. Stonehenge is much more suitable especially for fine details and sleek color gradations.

I resized my project to a 6" x 6" Stonehenge paper, still small but big enough for the intricate poppy. I  worked on the Icarus board at medium-low temperature and burnished all the way through the end. This time I didn't use any tools, just the pencils themselves. I blended no more than two layers and selected only colorfast colored pencils, hence the use of Polychromos when certain colors weren't available in the other brands. Oil based colored pencils like Polychromos are affected by heat if layered on top of wax-based colored pencils.

Well, this was definitely a learning experience!

 

“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.

 

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.

 

“River Pebbles, No. 2” - A Closer Look

This is a closer look at my second work in a new series of small art depicting some of my favorite subjects.

Title: River Pebbles, No. 2
Size: 5" x 5"
Medium:  Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencil (Verithin and Softcore) and Caran d'Ache Luminance Colored Pencil
Miscellaneous: Lyra Splender Colorless Blender, Gray Paper Stumps
Surface: Stonehenge Paper
Technique: Icarus Drawing Board

River Pebbles, No. 2 is mounted on a 5" x 5" Ampersand Claybord with a 2" cradle. If you are interested in learning how I mount and varnish my artwork, you can read the following post: Glassless Framing.

Outline - Cool Zone

I always use Prismacolor Verithin to draw the outline of my subjects. It's important for me not to add too many details at this point, only the principal lines.

I prefer the back side of Stonehenge paper because it has a little more tooth than the front. That little tooth makes a big difference in how pigments layer, mix and blend, especially on the warm zone. A paper surface that doesn't have much texture is difficult to handle with heat.

Color Mapping - Cool Zone

Color mapping on this paper is a little more time consuming than on a sanded pastel paper. I apply my Prismacolor Softcore and/or Caran d'Ache Luminance with medium pressure on the cool zone until 80-90% of the surface is covered with waxy pigment.

Burnishing and Blending - Warm Zone

Listed below are the main steps I follow to develop the colors and values on the warm zone (high temperature):

  • Burnishing: I saturate the paper with pigment until the white of the paper is completely obliterated (I even burnish white colored pencil over the white areas).
  • Layering: I layer the colors by using the side of the pencil.
  • Blending: when called for, I blend the base and top color together with a paper stump.

Burnishing and Blending - Warm Zone

I continue in the same manner as in the previous step until the whole drawing is completely burnished.

Refining and Polishing - Warm and Cool Zones

I'm adding more details to my drawing. I use the warm zone (medium to low temperature) to blend some of those details into the background, the cool zone to refine and polish with a colorless blender.

Refining and Polishing - Warm and Cool Zones

I continue in the same manner as in the previous step until the whole drawing is finished.

I need your feedback:

With my next small artwork I'm planning to start focusing on specific issues.

Do you have any suggestions? Are there any topics relating to my technique and my art that you would like me to address?

For example, Jill asked me to explain how I make my pebbles shine.

I'd love to get your input.