Tutorial: Sketching with a Brush Pen

Sketching with a Brush Pen is one of many great free tutorials on YouTube by Scott Robertson. I’ll be sharing more tutorials from other artists on YouTube every Tuesday.


EBSQ Friday Five


Spirit Bear by Gretchen Del Rio

1. This week’s featured Friday Five artist is one of my favorites at EBSQ. Gretchen Del Rio’s Spirit Bear stands out on the EBSQ front page this morning.

2. Voting has begun in the July EBSQ Online Exhibits! Cast your vote now for EBSQ Ripped Off 2014, Flower of the Month: Dianthus, and Plein Air: Found Reflections. Voting ends Aug. 8th.

3. Words can inspire and words can kill your spirit. Surround yourself with positive people. – Need a pick-me-up? Read Will Terry’s blog post: Don’t Let Them Crap on your Art.

4. Too incredible not to share – Artist’s newsagent shop made entirely from felt looks sew real – in pictures.

5. How to Draw the Figure in Charcoal with Steve Huston – Free HD Tutorial from New Masters Academy

EBSQ Friday Five

Abstract Flowers by Ulrike Martin

1. Vibrant colors and wet petals after a rain is what comes to mind when I look at Ulrike Martin’s latest watercolor painting, Abstract Flowers. It’s a beautiful time of year here in the Northern Hemisphere.

2. There are only a few more days left to enter our June Exhibits. Have you entered? Check them out: Flower of the Month: Ferns and Plein Air: Found Reflections.

3. I Hate Marketing – Sound familiar? I’m sure I may have used that phrase once or twice. Jon Schindehette talks marketing, some simple tricks and lessons learned.

4. Tutorial: Watercolor Tricks with Copic Various Ink & Multiliners

5. What Do Artists Do All Day – Frank Quitely: Scottish comic book artist.

From the EBSQ Archives: How to Write an Artist’s Statement by Melissa Wotherspoon

What is an Artist’s Statement? An artist’s statement is a short document written by the artist which provides a window into the artist’s world. It offers insight into a single piece or an entire body of work and by describing the artist’s creative process, philosophy, vision, and passion. It enlightens and engages while at the same time giving the audience – potential buyers, exhibition curators, critics, fellow artists, or casual browsers – the freedom to draw their own conclusions. An artist’s statement reads easily, is informative, and adds to the understanding of the artist.

What isn’t an Artist’s Statement?

An artist’s statement is not a resume, a biography, a list of accomplishments and awards, a summary of exhibitions, or a catalogue of works. It is not insignificant and should not be hastily written. It is not difficult to understand, pretentious, irritating, or (gasp!) laughter-provoking.

Why should I write an Artist’s Statement?

People who love an artist’s work generally want to know more about the artist. Your statement will help your viewers answer questions they may have about your art. When viewers have answers, their delight in what you do increases, and they have more reasons to take your work home with them. The artist’s statement is therefore an effective marketing tool, building a bridge between artist and audience. But the artist’s statement isn’t just for them. In putting your art into words, you might find that ideas and thoughts you once had become more concrete. Your writing may open new channels in your mind and take you in new artistic directions. You might discover more about yourself.

What information should be included?

Well, this is really a matter of personal choice, but there are a few questions you might choose to answer:

  • Why do you create art and what does it mean to you?
  • How does the creation of art make you feel? What emotions do you wish to convey?
  • If the statement refers to a specific piece, why did you choose to represent this piece in this way? What do you call the piece and why? What materials did you use? What are the dimensions of the piece?
  • What inspires you? How are your inspirations expressed in your work?
  • What message are you trying to convey to the viewer?
  • How much time is spent creating your pieces?
  • How is your work a reflection of you?
  • What artists (living or dead) have influenced you?
  • What is your vision/philosophy?
  • What are your goals for the future?
  • What are your techniques and style and how do these relate to the medium?
  • How do your techniques and style relate to your vision/philosophy?

How long should it be?

The answer to this question depends on what kind of person you are. Are you the kind of person that gets right to the point, or do you like to tell stories and paint images for people in words? The key here is to express how you feel and create a statement that stands on its own and makes you happy. Remember that people usually don’t have the patience to spend a lot of time reading, so it’s better to err on the shorter side. Several sources recommend an artist’s statement be around three paragraphs (total of 100 words), and others say that a statement of up to one page is acceptable.

What kind of language should I use?

Keep your statement clear and concise. Avoid flowery language and “artspeak”. This only lengthens and weakens your statement. From a business perspective, the more you can relate to your viewer, the better your chances are of selling your work. Some specific terms you may wish to mention in your statement are the elements of art (line, colour, shape, value, space, form, and texture), and the principles of design (balance, emphasis, movement, harmony/unity, pattern, rhythm, proportion, and variety). These terms have the advantage of being art-related without being esoteric and pretentious. Use language that is comfortable to you, and let your words flow.
My words aren’t flowing. How do I deal with that blank page?

The more art you do, the better artist you become. The more writing you do, the better writer you become. Here are some suggestions for eliminating that blank page. Write every day if possible – it only needs to take a few minutes, and there’s nothing lost. Any writing is writing practice.

  • Gather your favourite writing materials. Treat yourself to a new pen and a schnazz spiral-bound notebook, or pour yourself a favourite hot drink while you sit at the computer. You need to enjoy using your writing materials in order to enjoy writing.
  • Allow yourself some uninterrupted time. Turn the ringer off, and if you’re handwriting, turn off the computer. Create an environment that is conducive to writing.
  • Remove your internal editor. With your eyes closed, visualize your internal editor, the person who censors your thoughts. With your eyes still closed, tell them that you don’t need them around, and escort them out the door or lock them in a closet. Come back in the room and open your eyes. Be watchful – your editor will try to sneak back in and whisper their unwelcome commentary. Remind them to go away while you write.
  • Timed writing exercises. Freewriting exercises are frequently used to help people learn a new language. They allow for free-flowing ideas, and shut down internal editing systems. Set your timer for 3-5 minutes and write about anything in a stream-of-consciousness. What you write doesn’t have to make sense. Don’t scribble over anything or do any editing of any kind. You don’t even have to read what you’ve written afterwards.
  • Against and For. On a blank page (or blank monitor screen), make a table with two columns. Write “Against” and “For” as column headings on the left and right, respectively. Set your timer for 3 minutes, and write down every possible reason you can think of why you don’t need an artist’s statement. Then take a break. Do something else for a while. Come back and set the timer for 3 minutes again, and write down every possible reason you can think of why you need an artist’s statement.
  • Talk to yourself. Each time you start working on your art, tell yourself, “I will listen to my inner thoughts and capture them in my conscious mind”. Ask yourself while you’re working, “What am I thinking at this moment?”
  • Be ready for it when it hits. Have a notebook handy at all times (especially when you’re working on your art) to jot down thoughts as they come to you.
  • Talking Art. Imagine you are in your studio (or kitchen, in my case), and one of your pieces starts talking to you. Write down what it says, no matter how ridiculous. Limit yourself to 3 minutes.
  • Record yourself. Run a tape recorder while you’re working on your art or talking to someone on the phone about what you do.
  • Pretend you’re in your own documentary. Record yourself answering the questions listed earlier in this article. If you have a video camera, MAKE a documentary!
  • The alien exercise. If an alien were to land in your studio, how would you explain to him/her/it what you do?
  • The desert island schtick. You are being sent away to live alone on a desert island. You are allowed to bring all your art supplies. They’re a given. But what else will you bring for inspiration? You can only paint so many sunsets and weave so many baskets before you become cocoNUTS. Make a list of 15 things that will inspire you.
  • Be a quote collector. Every time you see a quote that inspires you, write it down, no matter what it’s about. If you have ever kept a journal or diary, pick out some of your own phrases to add to your collection. Maybe they’ll come in handy.
  • Sentence schmentence. Write down words that come into your head. They don’t need to be in the form of sentences until the last stage of writing, when you unlock your personal editor from the closet.
  • Reading the dictionary is not just for Scrabble. Peruse the dictionary. There are some great words out there just dying to be used. Write down any words that float your boat.
  • PMI. This stands for Plus, Minus, Interesting. This structure is used in teaching to get students thinking metacognitively (i.e. thinking about thinking). When you finish a piece, write down one positive thought about the creation of the piece, one negative thought about the creation of the piece, and one interesting (hmmm) thought you had while creating the piece.

Can an artist’s statement change?
Yes! An artist’s statement is a living document that should change because you change. Your statement could be updated at about the same rate that you might update a resume, in the least. At the most, review your statement each time you create a new piece, to see if your thoughts still have meaning for you. Review your statement when you experience profound events that alter your creative vision.

Where Can I Find Examples of Artists’ Statements?

Browse the portfolios of artists right here at EBSQ! There is a wealth of inspiration here, so if you’re an artist trying to find your voice in words, you’re more than likely to find something here that will motivate you to set pen to paper.


EBSQ Friday Five

Cherries and Silver by Sandra Willard
Cherries and Silver by Sandra Willard

1. Cherries and Silver – Miniature Work: The beautiful, intricate scratchboard above is only 2.5 x 3.5 inches!

2. The Art of the Image Transfer – Jennifer Lommers has a detailed tutorial, with multiple videos, on the art of image transfer on her blog.

3. Dolphins in front of the Studio – Would you rather clean the studio or watch dolphins? What a dilemma, right? Check out Delilah Smith’s blog for the video she shot outside her studio.

4. 8 Simple Rules for being a Professional Artist – I love this list by Stacey Zimmerman. Sometimes the most simple things are the most important.

5. Method and Madness in Science and Art – This is a fascinating article about the similarities between Science and Art and an exhibition in London of “coloured botanical electron microscope images.”

EBSQ Friday Five

1. October Love – October can be spooky, but also cute–why not full of love too? Check out the latest from EBSQ Artist Carmen Medlin!

2. Pumpkin Jack is Back – Who’s Pumpkin Jack, you ask? Click over to Sherry Key’s blog and discover the horror!

3. Make your own Halloween Tree – I decided to turn a family project into a tutorial for my blog!

4. This Guy’s Stuff is So Awesome, I Think I’ll Steal It – On a more serious note, Kathleen Ralph has an excellent article on her blog about art, attribution, and the digital age.

5. EBSQ Halloween Showcase – Have you signed up for the showcase I will feature here on the blog?

Have a wonderful weekend and watch out for those zombies!

EBSQ Friday Five


1. The Cheshire Cat – Patience’s September entry in the Nibblefest Art Contest is fabulous! Check her blog for an added dimension.

2. Art Appreciation 101 – Alma Lee explores her identity as an artist and we appreciate (or don’t) art today. Five Star blog post.

3. How to paint a tote – I love when artists share how to’s. This week Maria Soto Robbins shares how to paint a tote!

4. Midnight Reading Promotion – Did you know you can offer limited time promotions on Fine Art America?

5. Make a Video on your iPad (Sell more Art) – Delilah Smith expands art marketing reach with videos via her iPad!

EBSQ Live Studio – Hand-tinted Photographs

This demonstration was originally presented by Sherry Key on 17 May 2010.

Photos-Hand Coloring with pencils-Basics

Welcome to my presentation on hand coloring black and white photos with colored pencils.  I use several different mediums to hand color, but today I’ll be talking about using colored pencils and the basic steps to get started. Hand coloring photos is more complicated than most people think. It is not just as simple as coloring in a coloring book. I hope you will come away with a new respect for the process and realize that it really does take an artist’s eye and an artist’s hand.

Supplies-First you’ll want to have on hand a good supply of quality colored pencils. Good quality pencils may seem expensive to start, but are surprisingly long-lasting, which makes them cheaper, the longer you have them. I started out with a set of Prismacolor brand pencils and have just kept adding to my collection of those. I probably have about 200 pencils now in a large variety of colors. There are certain colors I find myself using all the time, and there are others that I haven’t even gotten around to sharpening yet. Black and white prints and colored pencils are not too forgiving when it comes to corrections, but if I have an area where I think I can get by with a correction, I use an electric eraser which you can usually find for around $10.00.

Papers-I have printed black and white on just about every type of paper a printer will take, (without eating it.) Matte photo, watercolor, cardstock, etc., and they all have different qualities that you can play with. They also have their own headaches when you are combining printer ink into the mix. Glossy papers don’t work with most hand coloring processes and

the one I am using for this demonstration is a 67 lb. matte paper, that is a medium weight and nap, and falls somewhere in between a card stock, and matte photo paper.

Printing and ink-You will probably go through a lot of black ink to get the range of tones you want to color. Ideally you want to darken and lighten before you print to get a good contrast of darks AND lights in your photo. So if you just make your photo black and white before you print it that might not be good enough. You will have to work on adjusting your contrast, brightness, etc. to get what you need. Another thing is, not every photo is a good candidate for hand coloring. If you are doing a portrait it really works best when you have things to focus your color on like sunglasses, jewelry, hair decorations, fingernail decorations, etc. Medium to light objects are also better. I personally prefer to usually leave the skin uncolored, and I think you actually focus more on the facial features when color is surrounding them…than on them. That is just my personal preference. I use a printer that only has a black toner cartridge so it easily prints only black and white for me… (-: Now enough of the pre-technical mumbo jumbo…let’s get started!

This is the colors I use the most. 70% cool grey, 50% warm and cool greys, 20% cool grey, black and white. To me most of the blacks and whites and tones in between that the printer prints out, are cool shades. I use these colors the most for shading, re-shading and highlighting certain areas.

I use a hard surface such as a portable art easel (lap kind) a dining table or desktop. I use this big easel to clip my photos to when I want to take a step back to look at my progress or finished work. I like to step back from my work periodically to make color comparisons, look at overall composition, and where do I want to focus color, etc.

The image on the right in pink is the one I will be demonstrating today. I also did one in lavenders to show how different the mood can be depending on what colors you use.

Here is the black and white printed photo I will be using.

Doesn’t look like much now, but what is exciting to me is where, and how far can I take it with color, to really make the photo “pop.” First I decide which color scheme I feel like going with. Also, I want to make a note here that if you have black areas that get color rubbed off, markers do not usually work well to cover up those spots. Printer inks on paper have sheen. Markers are a FLAT black that will show up when you try to take final photos. It is better to color these tiny areas with black pencil. Here is an example of the contrast with printer ink and black marker. It doesn’t look so bad here, but believe me, if you have light shining on it in a certain way, it will be glaring.

Next I have outlined the t-shirt with black to make it stand out more.

In the next image I started coloring the headband and hair. On the headband I used varying shades of pinks, reds and purples. Start out with a light touch and go from using your dark colors to your lights. Go easy on the dark until you see if you are getting a color you want then you can start getting heavier handed with your pencils. I could have done Nicole’s hair any color I wanted, that’s what is nice about having a black and white palette to begin with. But her real hair color is a funky mix of dyed shades of red, black and white so I decided to go along those lines. I started with light strokes of reds, oranges and yellows.

This is a little closer shot of the hair and headband. You can also see in the picture (above the headband, to the left) how the ink from the printer is deposited and kind of has a sheen to it like I mentioned previously, when I talked about using a flat black marker in those areas.

Now I am filling in and deepening the colors on the headband. That’s Process Red (which looks like a hot pink to me) that I have in my hand. I am blending as I go, with a little more pressure each time, leaving some white at the crest of the headband to keep part of it looking like it has light shining on it.

The eyes are next starting with adding shades of blue and purple for my shadow, and under eye liner. On a portrait if you aren’t coloring the face, then the eyelids and irises are places you get to add some color if you want.

Because it’s easier to color over the lashes instead of in between each one, and it looks more uniform, the next thing I did was take a Micron .005 pen to go back and draw each lash individually. That brings the lashes back into focus and I can even add some extra ones if I want too.

At this point I think my headband and hair are really starting to come together so I am going to work on her t-shirt. I start with re-shading the dark areas with 70% cool grey to get more contrast. I also blackened the blacks on the bear logo with black pencil.

Then I started shading with light and dark pinks and purples, similar to what was done on the headband. I colored her irises green. I do a lot of blue and green eyes because it stands out more to me. Nicole’s eyes are brown but she loved the green iris when she saw this picture.

Here I am using a pale pink to blend some of the color on the t-shirt. Look how that headband and the eye “pop.” The outlining on the shirt and more black in the bear is really making those stand out as well.

I use a cheap .99 cent soft paint brush to brush off my painting. You will need to brush your painting periodically because you will have debris building up on your photo from using your pencils. Always use a brush because if you use your hand to brush away particles it may smear into your paper, instead of brush off.

In this photo I have outlined the face, nose and lips with grey. I colored the lip pink and finished adding pink to the lower part of the shirt.

I went back and added lots more yellow, oranges and red to the hair. Then I used dark gray and black to separate some hair strands.  I put it up on my standing easel so I could step back from my work and see what final touches it needed. I finished with going back to each area using more pressure with white, light colors, and black to finish blending and adding my final touches. Here is the final piece called “Nicole on Edge.” The colors are even richer and more defined in person, than I could get to come out in my photo of the picture.

Here is the original print before hand coloring as a comparison.

EBSQ Friday Five

The EBSQ Friday Five offers a brief look at noteworthy news from around the EBSQ Artist Blogosphere.

1. “All American” is a Winner – Congratulations to EBSQ Artist Pat Burns, who one second place at the Georgia  in Bloom Fest for her painting All American!

All American by Pat Burns

2. First Post on Blogspot – Illustrator Natalia Pierandrei has moved blogs. Be sure to update your bookmarks so you don’t miss her updates.

3. Updates – Bethy Williams is new to EBSQ and I just wanted to welcome her to our community. 😀

4. Big 25% Sale – Little Gorjuss is having a sale on prints and original artworks! Sale ends May 9, so hurry!

5. Digital Painting & Video Tutorials – Ever wondered how Brigid Ashwood creates her stunning digital art? Wonder no more with this great tutorial.

Have a wonderful and creative weekend!

EBSQ Live Studio- Colored Pencils

This demonstration was originally presented by Alma Lee on 10 August 2009

Color Pencils rock my world! Just when I had relegated my color pencil collection to the sketch supply pile, opening them only for an occasional a quick draft. The color pencil world was incorporating to new technology, experimental techniques, and new formulations revolutionizing the color pencil status as a medium.

These new configurations, allow for better color saturation, intensity, and light-fastness. It is now possible to accomplish highly detailed, richly textured  and brilliant colored finished paintings without ever picking up a brush. If you have not tried Color pencils lately, you have never tried Color pencils. These aren’t your Mama’s Color pencils!

Tonight I am going to take you step by step to the creation of the following painting.

For this demonstration, I will be using Pentel Brush pens water based markers, Prismacolor color pencils (CP) (water based) and Walnut Hallow colored pencils for Wood (oil based) (WHCP).

For the benefit of any media purists this project could be completed in 100% Prismacolor. But in the interest of time I will be using markers and brush pens to block in my color starting base.

When working with color pencil on wood or MDF panel the most important step will also be the first. Step one: adding gesso to the panel. You can put CP directly on to wood without gesso, and you will end up with a very transparent, pastel finish, much like watercolor.

If you are looking to for the more saturated color of acrylic or oil you are going to want to apply gesso. What makes this step so crucial is CP water oil base will not adhere well to acrylic and gesso contains acrylic. We want the thinnest coat possible for this step.

So when you apply your gesso, you will want to use a thinner bodied formula. Don’t water down a thicker gesso. I used Liquitex Gesso Surface Prep artist acrylic grade.

In very thin lines (about 1/3 the width of a pencil) I apply the gesso directly out of the bottle and onto the surface wrapping my fingers around the 2” foam brush head, using hard pressure to rub.

I “force” the gesso into the grains of the surface. Your prepped panel will be quite streaked. No worry, this is a good thing!

When dry you can either draw your image directly on the surface with graphite or transfer it with transfer paper. Keep in mind if you decide to use transfer paper, that you cannot erase the transfer paper marks and you are going to be working with transparent and translucent substances.

I generally will draw my idea out on paper and copy it to size on the computer, then with a graphite pencil fill in the back of the copy, tape it on the board and trace as a transfer.

You can now fill in your image with markers – or if using all color pencil, you will build up your base in several “light” layers of color.

Few quick tips:

-Leave only the harshest highlights white.

-Black (CP) is extremely flat and lifeless looking. Instead I determine whether to use a hot black (red base) or cool black (blue base)

-Shadows are only hinted at during this stage. It is easier to define those as you get into the (CP)

-Shadowing is best achieved by using contrasting colors on the color wheel.  THE EXCEPTION TO THIS RULE IN COLOR PENCIL IS YELLOW AND PURPLE. On those I will pick a brown, gray or black. pencil

-Add Color pencil to the large white areas only towards the end. This helps preserve your white areas as (CP) acts as a magnet to stray color specs.

After you have blocked it all in you can take a Q-tip dipped in alcohol and squeezed to wash out some of the hard edges where you don’t want them and also to blend in some of the stronger colors making the image look a little more integrated.

Notice also how I have begun to introduce some light yellow to the white diamonds to warm them up a bit. I am also now building up the shadow areas in the piece with contrasting colors using a light pressure on the pencil.

Now with light/medium pressure, I fill in the overall red in the shoes.

During the second coat on the shoes, I will make the pencil strokes in the opposite direction of the 1st coat.

I will begin to increase (slightly) the pencil pressure, as I am getting a nice “waxiness“ to adhere to.

In real life, I tend to skip around the page to all areas of the piece.

While I am for organizational purposes talking about only one area, bear in mind that you must be thinking about reflections and shadows in the surrounding objects and background and pulling in the color of such right along.  Otherwise, you may forget what colors were used and not be able to get a true representation.

As I get into the 3rd coat again I will change the stroke direction still using no more than medium pressure. I also start looking at introducing some enhancing mid-tones of magenta and orange.

I want to do it at this stage because we are fast approaching saturation in some of the shadows areas and too much build up of wax will make it difficult to add color without marring or “lifting” up the waxy surface.

This is going to be one of my last chance to really saturate the surface, so  I am concerned with 2 things:

  1. Finishing my shadow intensity
  2. Dragging in the very lightest mid-tones color into the highlight.  I will leave only the brightest and sharpest highlights untouched.

Now I am hardening the edges bringing up the gold in the buckles and apply gold to the reflections.

I will add with medium pressure  to the white on the shoes. First an over all layer on the highlights. Then a heavier hard line at the center of the highlight. I will then blend out the outer edges of the highlights with a light pink.

This is followed up by medium heavy pressure of the hard white lines, and medium pressure on white to the bottom of the shoe catch light.

I am adding black to the background using a very light all over coating at first, then lightly shadowing in the darker areas to give it some grounding.  The third coat is done by lightly blending the two.

At the same time with medium pressure, I will lay in the darkest black on the floor and the like.

Note: don’t apply heavy pressure until you can feel the little nubs of wax building up, rather uniformly on the surface. You will know this is happening when you notice less and less color saturation occurring while using lighter pressure and it will start to feel a bit like you are lightly coloring on a bumpy back of an old cast iron pan.

This is also the point to draw you finer lines as on the floor.

Note: if you can’t get a fine enough line you may try either a VERITHIN CP – taking care not to mar the surface of the panel substrate, or the image.

Add highlights to the black floors with red, blue and white to build up to the appropriate levels of visual contrast. Then add about 10-20% more contrast than you will want to see in your final piece, as this will be blended and toned down during burnishing.

Choose at least two shades of each prominent color to build up contrast within their respective objects.  I used both Camille red, Magenta, Hot Pink and a touch of Vermilion for the Red areas and Aquamarine, Non-Photo Blue and Indigo in the Blue area.

I filled in all the white areas left in the floor with either Camille/Aquamarine. I then used the lighter shade of each in order to feather blend it into the black, taking time now to really concentrate on filling in any white specks still lurking in the dark areas.

Note: you will not be able to fill them all in at this time, and you must never use hard pressure at this stage.

I am now addressing the “white” diamonds in the background.  Like black, I feel white lacks a certain depth.

I also feel that the warm red tones, of the shoes would result in a catch light, not as a color reflection on the matte wall finish, but certainly present itself in a change in gradient tone.

I added light green to the polka dots overall, and then layered white on top of that.

In the white diamonds I added that same green to just the peaks of the diamond – again 10-20% more than I desired on final piece.

I also added a beige color to the base of the diamonds and colored it all with white at medium pressure.  I continued to do this until I received the desired shade.

Now I pay careful attention to the surface of the piece

Note: absolutely every bit of the surface should be covered with at least 80% of CP color, even the whites!

This is important because you are about to burnish and if you try to burnish over empty or lightly coated areas you are going to drag in a color that you don’t want.

We are now ready to burnish starting with the prismacolor colorless blender. Burnish over the entire image with med-med hard pressure, doing the lightest areas first and working your way to the dark areas.

You will want a thin yet workable layer of the colorless wax.  In the dark areas you are also trying to fill in with more earnest now, any remaining “snowy” specks.

Note: don’t worry, you absolutely will never get them all out, but like in pointillism, the eye of the viewer tends to blend the small specks in for you.

Our surface will be smoother but not completed.

It is time to break out your Walnut Hollow oil pencils.  The oil pencils will help you lay down some serious color after burnishing, and provide more of a translucent, rather that transparent color finish. They also tend to “flake” a little more, so I keep an old make-up brush handy to whisk away crumbs.

Note: you can continue to use the Prismacolor and can use them after you use the Walnut Hallow pencils. However, they are a harder pencil and you have to be careful not to mar the surface with them.

Bring up your colors a little more with light pressure (notice the oranges deepening along sole of the shoe as it picks up a slight reflection from the floor.)

With hard pressure you are now going to add your strong white highlights.

Note: hard pressure is best defined as the same amount of pressure you would use to color in a solid color on a chalkboard.

Burnish one more time with the colorless blender, working in the opposite direction where possible. I chose not to burnish the white diamonds, as I was happy with the texture as is.

Note never be afraid to stop, let it sit for a day, live with it. If you are happy, walk away. (Once you have overworked a piece at this point  it  is nearly impossible to correct.)

Complete the project using a paper smudge stick with a medium light pressure. Burnish any areas that need smoothing. At this point I generally avoid all white highlights. Again I “live” with it a couple of days and then sign it.

Once the signature is dried, use your makeup removal pad to bluff  out any excess wax build up. Working the light areas first then proceeding to the darker shades using a light to medium light pressure.

Note: sign before spraying on the finish. The surface is very difficult to sign once it has been fixed.

Once you are satisfied with your piece you are ready to spray it with spray fixative. I use Prismacolor Premier Matte Fixative.

Unlike many CP artists, I like to leave it unfinished for a couple of months if I have that time available to me. This allows the wax bloom to come up. I then buff it out with a makeup removal pad and fix it. That way I know that the wax bloom issue has been put to rest.  Then I spray with fixative and wait an hour and spray it with Krylon UV-Resistant Clear.

To see a clip of the entire visual process in a 1 min video:

Materials Used For This Demonstration:

MDF Panel (Home Depot)

Pentel Brush Marker (Dick Blick)

Prismacolor Pencil (Michaels Craft Store, Dick Blick

Walnut Hollow Oil Pencils (Michaels Craft store in the wood project section, DickBlick)

Prismacolor colorless blender (Michaels Craft Store, Dick Blick)

Liquitex Gesso (Michaels Craft Store, Dick Blick)

Paper smudge stick (Michaels Craft Store, Dick Blick)

Prismacolor Matte Fixative (Michaels Craft Store, Dick Blick)

Uv-Resistant Clear Acrylic Coating (Michaels Craft Store, Dick Blick)

Foam Brush (Home DePo)

Make up Brush (Walmart)

Q-tips (Walmart)

Makeup removal pads (Walmart)

Alcohol (Walmart)

Research Materials List – Materials and further reading:

Masterful Color , Vibrant Colored Pencil Painting Layer by Layer by Arlene Steinberg Northlight books ISBN 13-978-1-58180-957-2

Creative Colored Pencil workshop, 52 Exercises for Combining Colored Pencils with your favorite Mediums. Carlynne Hershberger & Kelli Money Huff

EBSQ Live Studio: Polymer Clay Basics

This demonstration was originally presented by Lauren Abrams on 22 June 2009

I’m going to show you how I make one of my split pendants. It involves using a Skinner Blend, a simple cane, and a “gem” I make out of alcohol inks and silver leaf.

The first thing you have to do when working with polymer clay is to condition it. You can do this by rolling it out with a rolling pin, kneading it with your hands, or any number of ways…but the best and easiest for me is my pasta maker…and with a motor on it it’s even easier! You just push the clay through the top and it comes out underneath at whatever thickness you’ve set it on…there are between seven and ten usually on a pasta maker. Once you’ve put it through a number of times, it’s conditioned and ready to use.

The first thing I want to demonstrate is the Skinner Blend, so called because of the person who figured it out…Judith Skinner. She made it easy to do a beautiful graduation of colors with just a few easy steps. The first one is deciding which colors you want to use, and conditioning them…I’ve done my blue, now I’m doing a white clay.

I’ve decided I don’t want a chalky white, so I’m adding a bit of translucent clay and a tiny bit of yellow..then conditioning it while mixing the colors together at the same time, using the pasta machine.

Once you’ve mixed the colors you want and have them the same thickness…you put one on top of the other, and using your tissue blade(very sharp)cut a triangle through both, so they are the same size.

Take them apart and put the longest sides together…

Squish them together a bit so they don’t come apart the first time you put them through the pasta machine…sometimes you need to overlap a bit..

Now, just fold it in half like in the picture, and put it into the pasta machine.

Catch it, fold it again THE SAME WAY… and put it through again and again…it’s most important that you always fold it the same way.

Keep doing this until you start to see a blending begin, then do it until you are happy with the blend…sometimes you can do it in five or six times, others it might take you twenty.

I’m pretty happy with this graduation so I stop.

I place the graduated color on top of another sheet of clay and trim it

I set the pasta maker thickness at number one..which is it’s thickest setting

Putting it through the pasta machine, I now have a nice big piece of graduated clay, with a solid base

Using a circle cutter, I cut out a circle on an area of the graduation that I like.

Using my tissue blade, I cut it in half

Setting that aside, I start making my cane.

Canes using polymer clay are generally made by stacking different colors and shapes of clay, then slicing it to reveal it’s pattern…once you make a cane, you can slice many pieces of it to use. This striped cane is one of the simplest to make. If you are interested, just do some research on the variety of canes people have designed in the thirty odd years since polymer clay hit the art scene. These were modelled after the millifiori (many flowers)that glass makers have been making for centuries…

I”ve decided to use three complimentary colors and different thicknesses for this cane.

I start stacking the different colors and thicknesses of clay, rubbing them down a bit in between to get rid of air bubbles.

I keep stacking until I get what I want as a pattern(you can slice the end and see how it’s going)

On this particular cane I want a repeat, so I just cut the can in half and put one half onto the other.

Slicing the end, I decide it’s what I’m looking for…and stop.

On a this backing piece of clay, I lay down a sliced and spliced together piece of cane

I line Up my two parts of the graduated blend I’ve already done and snug them up on either side of the cane slice.

Using a number 11 xacto knife, I cut out carefully around the oval that is formed by doing this and remove excess clay

I step back from the piece and decide what to do next

I’m going to make a coil of clay to border the pendant, and I want to use some of the cane in it…so I cut a couple of thin slices

I take a deep rust color clay(one of the ones I’ve used in the cane)and roll out a thing coil

Laying two of the thin slices on the coil, I roll some more to make the coil thinner and by doing that it also incorporates the cane slices into the coil

I arrange this around the pendant and press it into place

I add another sliced cane piece at the top, and start to add some small balls of the blue clay…here I’m using a brush to apply some liquid polymer clay, which will act as a glue to adhere the delicate pieces in place.

Here I am taking a ball of green clay and pressing it into a silicone rubber mold I have made

I press it into place at the bottom…

I step back and look at what I’ve done so far and decide that this is the time for my “gem”

Using a commercial cabochon mold I have, I press a piece of Premo Pearl into a round one of the right size

Then I prepare the covering, the super duper shiney thing we all love!

I lay a piece of silver leaf(aluminum) on top of a piece of pearl clay…rub it down

Using alcohol based inks, I paint some on top of the silver leaf until I like the look

Then I take some Premo translucent clay and put it through the pasta machine, making it thinner each time I put it through until it is at the thinnest setting possible….

Sorry it’s kind of hard to see but in this photo I am putting the sandwhiched clay, leaf, inks and translucent top through the pasta machine…just once or twice, depending on how much crackle you want.

Cover the piece you made with the cabochon mold with this sheet of clay…trim the excess and stretch it carefully over it and underneath a bit too.

For this one I want a bit of a base that’s a little larger than the “gem”..so I use an appropriately sized circle cutter as shown

Using a bit of liquid clay for glue, I put them together

I smush down a piece of green clay to support the “gem” and paint it with liquid clay

I press the “gem” in place

I start adding different little pieces to complete it

Into the oven it goes…at 275 for about thirty minutes. Some people like to use a dedicated toaster oven for their polymer clay. I will get around to that eventually lol..

After the piece has cooled, I coat the top of the “gem” with Futura floor covering…it gives it a great shine

I make a drop using the same clay and cane and add some annodized jump rings for findings

Once that is done and fired again, I add a multistrand steel necklace and voila, my split pendant!

Just wanted to show you a few different pieces so you could see what the “gems” can look like with different colored inks…