Last week I had the pleasure of teaching a five-day seminar on “The Joys of Colored Pencil.” While that may have been the topic of the class, the true joy came to me through the wonderful group of people I had attending. It was an incredible experience.
Nothing’s more special than seeing the look on someone’s face when he has accomplished something he never thought possible. As a teacher, I see it often. But for some reason, last week was a gold mine of great responses. Each student in the class experienced that moment when all of the demos, information and practice came together for them. They achieved “the feel” that’s necessary for applying the colored pencil correctly and thereby seeing the results in their own work.
We covered a wide range of subject matter. I do much more “showing” than “telling.” I demonstrate everything. Never will I ask a student to try something I haven’t shown them how to do first. My studio is piled high with drawings, both finished and incomplete. Throw any subject you can think of at me, and I probably will have a project started in that subject that I can pull out and demonstrate for you.
This class was great, for everyone seemed to have a different desire in subject matter. I saw animals, flowers and birds, and it seemed as if everyone was trying a different type of paper on which to create their projects. The end results were amazing!
My colored pencil demonstrations covered about everything. Using Derwent Coloursoft pencils and a suede board as my substrate, I did a seascape that ended up looking like a pastel painting. We saw how Coloursoft can also be blended with a tortillion when used on Stonehenge paper, which is perfect for creating portraiture.
I also did demos with Prismacolor pencils. They come in a huge selection of 150 colors. I had fun showing the class how to create the illusion of glass with burnishing. I drew a close-up marble and a jar full of colorful jellybeans, both on the Stonehenge paper. Nothing is better than Prismacolor for making something look really shiny. Because it’s so waxy, it’s also good for the “scratching” technique. This drawing of my son and my dog is a good example. It’s done on illustration board. After I built the color layers up, I was then able to take my X-Acto knife and scratch in the small details of the fur and the texture of the bricks. The blade creates a delicate line that would be impossible to draw in.
The reason my colored pencil classes are so popular is because of the wide variety of techniques and colored pencils available. Learning on your own is more difficult because of this. Without working knowledge of these brands and how they’re formulated, you won’t know how to use them. Each one is unique, and has its own look when applied. I highly recommend finding a good instructor first, and then follow the class(es) up with a ton of practice. Practice is the key. Do enough, and you will get “the feel” as well, and then your face will light up like my students’, with the glow of accomplishment. It’s a look I live for!
I teach two or more of these colored pencil seminars every year, as well as teaching colored pencil techniques in my weekly classes. Keep an eye on this website for my dates and times. And please feel free to email me with any questions you may have about my classes.
Have a great week!
Edited by Cherie Haas, online editor of ArtistsNetwork.com
Lee Hammond has been called the Queen of Drawing. That may not be fair these days, since in addition to providing the best drawing lessons, she has also created fantastic books and videos filled with the same easy to follow acrylic painting techniques, colored pencil techniques and more. Click here to see all of the instructional books and DVDs that Lee Hammond has to offer!
• Free download! Easy Acrylic Painting Techniques by Lee Hammond