Two Surprising Tools You’ll Want on Hand | Colored Pencil Techniques

One of the reasons colored pencil artists love this medium is the ease of it. All you really need are your colored pencils and some paper, and you can be off and running, or, more accurately, drawing. But if you want to take it to the next level, there are a variety of tools and techniques that can help you improve your art. Ann Kullberg, author of Texture in Colored Pencil: Techniques for Capturing Soft Realism, is here to share two tools that, once you start using, you’ll wonder how you’ve lived without. ~Cherie

Two Surprising Tools for Colored Pencil Art

by Ann Kullberg

Colored pencil art techniques | Ann Kullberg, ArtistsNetwork.com

Constant brushing is essential,” Ann says. “I simply can’t work without a brush, and would say that on average I brush roughly every two or three minutes.”

Drafting Brush

To keep your paper surface clean and your work from looking freckly, a brush is an absolute must. As you work with colored pencils, it’s inevitable that bits of pencil dust will fall on your paper. Wiping the tip of your pencil with a cloth immediately after sharpening will help keep down the dust. Keep a rag directly under the sharpener, lay the pencil on the rag after sharpening and give it a twist. No matter how careful you are, however, pencil pigment particles will accumulate on your paper. If you don’t brush them off, you’ll eventually grind them into your paper either with your hand or with the pencil itself.

Colored pencil art techniques | Ann Kullberg, ArtistsNetwork.com

Sticky Stuff: Here’s one of a half-dozen or so available brands of reusable adhesive. Among other things, sticky stuff is great for lifting colored pencil. The swatch on the right has been lifted with a blob of sticky stuff. The swatch on the left has been lifted with the piece of invisible tape shown on the far left.

Sticky Stuff–Reusable Adhesive

I don’t know what I’d do without my sticky stuff–reusable adhesive–it’s definitely one of my favorite tools! (I keep a blob on top of my sharpener so I always know where it is.) For starters, I put a tiny bit on the four corners of the back of my paper so my work will stay on my tilted drafting table. The effect is similar to Velcro® in that you can easily lift the paper off your drawing surface and easily stick it back on.

I also have a nickel-sized blob that holds my drafting table. Before the blob, it seemed I was constantly looking for my brush. I’m willing to guess that the sticky stuff that holds my brush saves me close to an hour per portrait just in brush-searching time!

Finally, sticky stuff is a great eraser or lifter. No matter how often you brush your piece, you’ll still get pencil grime on your paper. Simply rolling a blob over those areas will completely clean that up. It also works much better than a kneaded eraser when you want to lift pencil off your work. I use Handi-Tak® reusable adhesive, found at most office supply stores, but there are many different brands and they all work just fine. I would stay away from mounting putty, though: I don’t think it’s tacky enough. ~Ann

Colored pencil art techniques | Ann Kullberg, ArtistsNetwork.com

 

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