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Colored Pencils – The Drama

I think I’ve found a method I like for my drawing class. I’m ink washing the values onto watercolor paper, gesso-ing on top of that to fuzz it up and give it tooth, then completing the image with colored pencils(and adding more india ink on top of that to push the values). I’m digging the results. The layering gives the finished piece a kind of distance from the viewer that I like.

My biggest problem is the colored pencils. Prismacolor seems to be the standard(wait, wait, Marco Mazzoni appears to use Faber Castell), yet the set I bought for school, including any loose extra colors, constantly break. Strangely the remains of my set from high school don’t break at all. I noticed that the manufacturer changed. My old set say Berol and the new ones are made by Sanford(which I guess bought Berol). I’ve heard of other students having a similar problem, but then also heard others never have the same problem so who knows what’s up with the quality. Because of these issues I don’t want to invest in another set hoping that they won’t be as useless. I went to the art supply store and bought several loose different types of pencils to try out. I got some of the Prismacolor Verithins with the harder pigment. So far they seem good, but only useful for fine details. I got some Derwents(the Inktense watercolor colored pencils). I’m not too sure about them yet. I do like the Progresso colored pencils. The entire shaft is pigment, no wood at all.

Probably the most important thing I bought to help me was an electric pencil sharpener. It plugs into the wall and doesn’t seem to eat the pencil or get snagged on the wood the way hand held ones do. I’ll bring it to school and sit up against the wall with it plugged in like a troll, charging my classmates high fives to use it. I was hesitant to buy one at first. The one I had as a kid, and which my mom probably still has, was huge and faux-wood paneled like a station wagon. This new one isn’t tiny, but it’s still smaller. It actually looks like a shuttle-craft from Star Trek.