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Getting Started with Colored and Graphite Pencils

Lesson 9 of 9

Demo: Wax and Water Based Pencils

Mary Jane Begin

Getting Started with Colored and Graphite Pencils

Mary Jane Begin

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Lesson Info

9. Demo: Wax and Water Based Pencils

Lesson Info

Demo: Wax and Water Based Pencils

So, this side, I'm gonna use a more dense and thick mark-making system, and I'm going to use a combination of the wax-based and the watercolor, but I'm not going to, I'm only gonna wet the watercolor side. So, here you can see I'm kinda making this, I'm working faster, I'm going a little deeper, but I'm not pressing so hard as to make it, you know, a thick, thick patch of color. And what we'll do is we'll combine the wax-based pencil on one side, and then the water-based pencil on another side. So, you can absolutely combine these materials, not a problem, but don't expect your wax-based pencils to move. It's just not gonna happen. I'm going in multiple directions to build up this tonality. I want it to kind of feel like stone and I want it to have a deeper tonality than this over here, and I'm gonna use water-based pencils with a little bit of water and see what that looks like. Again, I can even shift to a circular mark-making. I'm just trying to build up the tone. Now, the harder I ...

push, the more that color is building up, and again, I can sort of feel the waxiness, and this is something that you can't see on camera, but I can feel the waxiness of this pencil. And when I was working with my student, who's now graduated from the program, Becca Gunn, we talked about this, and you know, she never really thought, she'd always used wax-based pencils, and she's tried the water-based pencils without water, and she really like the way it felt physically to her. She just liked the texture a lot. So, I think you can't rule out, I think you have to test these different types of pencils in order to know which one's gonna be the best one for you. Circular motion. I want this to be textural, I don't want this to be as soft and gentle as the mark-making over here. Pretty textural surface. Now, let's try doing, I'm gonna graze it really quickly over here, and then we're gonna use the water-based on the other side with another color. A purple color, but not the same color. And I'm trying to match the mark-making. I don't want it to be too different. I want it to be similar. I'm testing to see how it feels and looks, but I'm trying to keep the marks connected so it feels like one surface, a kind of stony surface, like a cinder block. This is a more fast, immediate approach to colored pencils. This is like, I was going very delicately, very carefully. Here, I'm using a slightly more immediate tool. Either way is fine. I'm also keeping my tip really fat to show you the difference in the mark system when it's really, really delicate, versus a bigger tip for a larger surface area, to cover larger surface area. Now, we can also bring in our white, and the white is gonna change that color and sort of blend it. It sort of makes it blueish. And what I wanna show you is the last thing I'll do is the water-based pencil for that light side. We'll just see what that looks like. The white actually, you know, acts like a blending tool, and we do have a blending tool. I do wanna mention this. This is meant for wax-based pencils, and all's it does is it's helping to move the color around on the surface of the paper. And it's pretty good, but it doesn't quite work like a stump does with the pencils. It's not exactly the same. It blends, and you can also, you can reshape that tip to be super pointed, you can do it with the X-Acto knife or the pencil sharpener, or leave it round like this, which I want, actually, for this surface right now. So let's try, we will use a water-based purple. Let's see if we have one. This is pretty good. Use more water. And I'm trying to, again, match that mark so it has that kind of fun texture to it. I'm grazing it really lightly, because if I press too hard on this paper, unlike this wonderful, where did it go, this wonderfully weird surface that's super textural, this UArt mounted board, the Bristol paper, like most of the papers, it just, the paper will start to beat up if you press too hard, so I'm keeping this a really light mark-making system, and I'm not trying to graze over the color that's already there too, too, too much. I'm leaving it textural, I'm letting the line be a part of it, I'm letting the water move across the surface, just so I don't gum up the paper. It's a great paper for the dry application. I think it's a little less wonderful for wet. I would probably go to the UArt for a really wet application. And this is just to show you, you know, a slightly different way of, looking here, this is really refined, this is more textural. These tools want to work both ways. It's really just a matter of what feels better to you. Now, if I try to go over this, it does not work. It's picking up the color. Wet over wax doesn't work. So don't even attempt that. They aren't media that like to mix with each other. Okay, that's just fun, you know, swirl. I can make all these textures. It almost looks like a marker, which is really fun. Were there any more questions, Kenna, or are we done? Well, we did have a question that was from Alex that had come in about, do you ever use a mechanically-sharpened pencil sharpener, versus just using the manual one, and does that affect these differently? Yeah, so, this traditional one versus this one here? Or using one that's, like, actual mechanical pencil sharpener. Oh, like you plug it in? Yeah. Oh, yeah, so the sound is so loud and horrible that I would never do that in here or do that to the audience, or to Kenna, or anyone. It is, when you put a colored pencil or a pencil into an electronic pencil sharpener, it's not a fun sound. In my studio, however, for speed's sake, absolutely, I will use an electronic, you know, I use it, I've used mine so much that I had to buy a new one. I killed it. But yes, it saves a lot of time. Colored pencils are a slow medium. They take time, you're building the color, it's a very fine mark, so if I can save time, I will, and using something that you can plug into the wall, and it's doing it for you, and you don't have to, or be careful, yeah, it's a great tool. And they're not super expensive, so yes, I do use that, I have one at home. I didn't bring it with me. (laughing) Great, thank you. Sure. All right, well, that was our final question. Do you have any final words for us? So, I just want to encourage all of you who have been watching this session, and all of the different courses, that I want you to feel comfortable trying this material. If you don't want to jump in with a lot of different colors like I showed on the color chart, start with just a single case of colors that have a variety, a few primaries, secondaries, and a couple of tertiaries. And test it. Make a color chart, play with a cube or a ball, observe from life, do things that you don't feel like you have to reinvent the wheel and make some grand picture. Just jump in and try it, try a few different surfaces. This is fun. All of this is really fun, whether you've had a lot of art training or you're just testing and playing. And I would encourage each and every one of you to pick up your colored pencils, pick up your graphite and play with it. Bring a sketchbook out into an open air space, or a cafe, or a bus stop, and just allow yourself to observe things and play with the color, play with the value, and enjoy the tools.

Class Description

Are you interested in drawing with color or graphite pencils but not sure how to get started? In this course artist and illustrator, Mary Jane Begin will introduce you to color or graphite pencils. This class is perfect for beginners looking to learn the basics of the medium in order to begin a drawing practice. By the end of this course, you will be equipped with the know-how to start experimenting and drawing with color or graphite pencils!

In this class you’ll learn:

  • All about the different types of color or graphite pencils and how they work
  • Which supplies and papers to use when working with color or graphite pencils
  • How to begin making simple marks and shapes to familiarize yourself with the medium

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