Stonehenge Paper: More Tests—Colored Pencil

February 24, 2010

Colored Pencil tests on Stonehenge paper.

100207AEskimo 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.)

100207AEskimoDetail Left: A detail of the first image shows the stroke issues and pilling.

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.

100207BDucktoller Left: A Duck Toller again with Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Aquarelles: two blue pencils and a cool red, used dry.

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.

100208PencilTests 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…

    • Ken
    • February 24, 2010

    Thanks for your thorough reviews of Stonehenge paper. I have been using it exclusively for years, and now I can’t help but wonder if a different paper might be good to try. Can you recommend some of your favorite papers for multi-media?

  1. Reply

    Thanks for testing on Stonehenge Roz! I also bound a few sheets into a journal and have found that while I love it for collage and ink, it can’t hold a brush to way watercolor works on Fabriano Artistico . Also in an earlier Stonehenge post you mentioned its made locally? Who mills it? I didn’t know it was made here. 🙂 Thanks, and love the Gert portraits, she is indeed a special chicken and deserves lots of fan mail!

    • Ken
    • February 26, 2010

    thanks for your response. I have been working with a combination of acrylic, colored pencil and pastel. I am interested in keeping a journal while ‘on the road’ and want to replace acrylic with watercolor. I am going to sample the papers you suggest in Friday’s post, and see how they work.
    I really enjoy your blog, thanks!

    • Roz
    • February 26, 2010

    Jennifer I said Stonehenge is available locally, and just about everywhere. I’m sorry you misunderstood me. I don’t know where in the US Stonehenge is milled.

    Remember too, no printmaking paper is going to be able to go head to head with a watercolor paper if you have a style where you want your paints to flow and blend like they will on a watercolor paper. That said, there are a number of watercolor artists who have abandoned traditional watercolor papers and are doing fabulous work on Rives BFK. I see their work in show (locally and nationally) all the time. You might want to give Rives BFK a try in a future journal. The large paper size that you can get (I think it’s around 30 x 42″) is great for making larger books with no wastage.

    Glad you enjoy the Gert portraits. I’m lucky to have her. She got me out of a jam yesterday! And so many days.

    • Roz
    • February 26, 2010

    Ken, if you are going to work in watercolor specifically, and colored pencil and pastel, you can definitely work on the papers suggested in Friday’s post, but you might also consider Fabriano Artistico (which binds up nicely even at the 140 lb weight, though I often use 90 lb. Hot Press—you might like the CP for getting more texture out of your dry media); and also Winsor & Newton’s 90 lb. Hot Press watercolor paper is something that I have really been enjoying. They make a CP as well in that weight.

    Let me know how the road trip goes!!!

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