Left: A bit of a wonky sketch (the chin should be tucked more and he does have teeth!) of John Scurti as Lt. Kenny “Lou” Shea on Rescue Me, using the Stabilo All Aquarellable colored wax pencil, on Lana Aquarelle 140 lb. HP paper which is what’s in the current journal.
I mentioned Stabilo All Aquarellable colored wax pencils in my July 17 post. And before too much time passed I wanted to post a sketch I made with these pencils. I have about 6 of these pencils, but my favorite is the brown pencil. Typically I use it when I’m drawing on acetate overlays to “try things out” before committing to the final drawing under the overlay. But after Liz mentioned this pencil on our outing to the Bell Museum I wondered what it would be like to sketch with it on the 140 lb. Lana Aquarelle Hot Press watercolor paper. Later while watching an episode of Rescue Me I sketched one of my favorite characters.
The pencil works really well on this paper. The waxiness of it being a bit of an advantage, giving it a slight, smooth drag across the surface. The down side of the pencil is that you have to sharpen it frequently, and I didn’t, loosing highlight in the second eye and detail in the mouth while working with an ever more blunt pencil. The texture you can get with this pencil is similar to much softer, drier pencils and pastels, which tend to flake, break apart, and wear down even faster. It’s a line with character, without all the dust.
detail of “Lou’s eye” will show you the wonderful texture you can get
with this pencil on this smooth paper. And as long as you keep it sharp
yo can go in and delineate some details. Click on the image to view an
I like this pencil used dry better than wet. Even on watercolor paper it doesn’t dissolve to smooth washes like watersoluble colored pencils (which are meant to do that). (Let me be clear, these pencils are not supposed to act like a watersoluble colored pencil—I'm using it not as it was intended.)
This is not a pencil made for making archival artwork and marks. You use these pencils for marking contact sheets (I’m sure some photographers still have these) and other surfaces. Because of their intended use I’ve never done any lightfast tests with them and always assumed they were made with fugitive colors. However Stabilo's website lists them as having “leads made from the highest-quality pigments and finest graphite.” The line has 8 colors (red, blue, green, yellow, black, white, and orange) which are clearly meant for their intended target group: “artists and professional users with special requirements—e.g. in the industrial sector.” I wouldn’t count on them for longevity, except as I mention in the next paragraph.
I have also used these for sketching on gessoed canvas and then sealed the drawing with clear gesso. I use the biggest flat brush I can find (3 to 5 inches) so I make as few strokes as possible. The lines blur when the wet medium hits them, but if you work quickly they don’t completely dissolve, and future colors cover any smears. I haven’t had them seep forward through paint years later, so I figure as long as the paint is going to cover them that’s fine too.
I mention them here because I said I would in my July 17 post, and because they are fun pencils with which to draw. Sometimes you just want to play. Or maybe you have a need to write on film, acetate, plastic, glass, metal—and later wipe it off. If so you might want to have a couple of these pencils at hand.