Friday, January 13, 2012

Woodless Pencils

I recently received a beautiful box brimming with art supplies from Chartpak after I was featured as cover artist on their new "Thalo Magazine." While I was designing my new web site, my kids quickly put me to shame as they busted out one of the amazing "Koh-I-Nor" pencil sets. I decided to get in on some of the action, and took a break from my computer to spread out some paper and continue illustrating Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol." I am glad I did.

"Koh-I-Nor Woodless Color Pencils" quickly surpassed my expectations. Smoother than your typical wax or graphite pencil, these weighty little pencils actually entice me to draw. Similar in feel to an all surface pencil, I love the ease with which the pencil glides over the surface. I drew Scrooge on 89" x 30" rolled sign paper, using one of the blue pencils in a set of 24 mixed colors. I then introduced two colors from the "Grumbacher Finest Series I Watercolor" tubes, Thalo Blue and Burnt Umber, mixed together for a wash effect. My approach is not exactly a traditional use of the medium, but one that I am comfortable with for a quick block-in of color and value. The quality of the paint is as satisfying as the Acrylic paint my students used in last years "Grumbacher Educational Workshop Series." Grumbacher seems to have come a long way since the quality I experienced while in art school in the mid 80's.

Working big brings me back to my old school training. I found it refreshing and liberating when designing this Scrooge entry to draw straight ahead, in large format with no studies or thumbnails. The idea is not to create something finished, but to generate enough excitement that I will be conditioned to return again tomorrow to continue my exploration of this theme. I think it worked.

I listened to "A Christmas Carol" on audiobook, from an iTunes purchase. This version, narrated by John William Hawthorne and published by "Roberson Audio Publication" is the best of the several I have listened to. Listening to source material while I work is one of my favorite methods of illustration, one which I use whenever possible.

If you are experiencing frustration and fatigue counting pixels like me at times, get on the floor with your favorite supplies and start drawing. Not only will you make a breakthrough, but you will feel a smile return to your insides.