Colored Pencil tests on Stonehenge paper.
Left: Colored pencil test on Stonehenge in my sample journal with that paper. I used Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Aquarelles dry for this test. Crinkling at the top of the image is a folded tab of glassine that is protecting the previous page spread from smudging when I apply pressure to later pages.
My experience using the Stabilo Tones on Stonehenge (see yesterday's post which includes a list of all previous related posts) left me with several pages in the book, several media untested, and a sure knowledge that I wouldn't be using this paper for binding visual journals in the near future. However, as you all know I have a tremendous curiosity about paper. I decided to continue my experiments and fill the journal.
My intent, when I started working with the watersoluble pencil, was that I would use water and draw out washes, but I immediately abandoned that idea because 1. I liked the way the dog sketch was progressing dry, and 2. I already had enough experiments involving water media in this book to let me know what would happen. (I finally did do a wet experiment, which you will see at the end of this post.)
So here with a violet blue, and indigo, and a cool red pencil I did a quick sketch of an eskimo dog who was cavorting around on the television (another reason for continuing my experiments was that I had been "locked" inside all day and needed to sketch, regardless of the paper!).
I found that the paper was resistant to blending and it was no fun to push the pencil around on this paper. I use light pressure and even with light pressure I found it difficult to cover change of direction of previous strokes, and in the areas that I worked for full coverage (negative space beneath the dog) pilling and slickness quickly appeared (something I don't like in my colored pencil drawings.) The paper had little ability to hold the light layers I like to use to build up my colored pencil drawings.
The second dog drawing went better because I didn't attempt to vary my pencil direction much, but it was also unsatisfying as I worked. I simply didn't like the feel of the pencils on this paper. I found building satisfying darks difficult indeed.
I worked on a couple other drawings to see if I would warm up to the paper, but finally went to bed deciding to sleep on the matter. The next day I tested other colored pencil brands across a page spread, to see if drawing dry with one of my wax-based pencils was more pleasant on this paper, as I prefer to draw dry with wax-based pencils.
Left: On this page spread I tested other brands of colored pencils and also did a watersoluble colored pencil test (bottom right). The strip of colored paper at the center of the spread was pre-collaged there. It is a piece of drawing paper on which alcohol inks have been streaked and rubbed.
I used—Derwent Drawing (very smudgy on this paper and a lot of work to not get where I usually do with these pencils); Derwent Colour Soft (which created a soft and lovely line and did allow for hiding directional changes with a "little" more ease, but still ended up with stippling/pilling); Derwent Signature (which were already too stiff and resulted in streaking even with light pressure, making shading so problematic I didn't waste any more time on it); and Prismacolors (which are my favorite wax-based pencil—they felt softer than the Derwent Signature and as soft as the Derwent Colour Soft on this paper, and blended better than either of those pencils).
On the right-hand page I started a drawing with Prismacolors because the initial test had been so promising. I quickly aborted the sketch of a pepper. I found that the paper gave up even under light pressure when I tried to layer colors and when you held the paper under a raking light you could see the paper already gave off an overworked and slick impression.
I tried to do a portion of the same pepper with Derwent Drawing pencils, but couldn't find my entire set so I abandoned that and simply drew a monochomatic stem at the top right. (I actually used three analogous colors.) As I have already said: it was a lot of work to not get it the way I wanted it!
Finally, at the base of the right-hand page I did a quick study with Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Aquarelle pencils. I like to apply light layers of pigment with these pencils, blend with water, and apply more dry layers on top. I found on Stonehenge that this was not a straightforward method. It was difficult to apply the light layers without disturbing the paper surface. It might be suitable for delicately colored sketches but that's not what I enjoy doing.
I ended my colored pencil experiments on this paper. I'd satisfied my curiousity. These days my colored pencil use is mostly restricted to finished pieces outside the journal, but because I teach colored pencil classes students in journaling classes often want to use them in their journals. At least now I know what to say to them about my experiments with colored pencils on this paper. An artist who always works with a loose sketchy style will not encounter these frustrations.
The Stonehenge Paper experiment saga will continue…