Drawing from My Imagination—Sketcher Non-Photo Blue Pencil from Caran d’Ache

September 27, 2013

Above: A sketch made with a Sketcher, non-photo blue pencil from Caran d'Ache. Lana Aquarelle 90 lb. Hot Press watercolor paper in a handmade journal that's only about 5.5 x 6 inches. (Yes, she has a mouth full of pointed teeth and she's whistling.)

I haven't been able to sketch much lately—trouble with my shoulder/elbow/hand. Normally I'll pick up a pen and sketch, but earlier on this day, and a couple days earlier, grasping a pen was too painful still so I looked up at my pen jar and saw a "Sketcher" pencil from Caran d'Ache.

My need for non-photo blue pencils is almost non-existent these days. There was a time when I was never more than 6 inches from one. (You could mark up galleys and illustrations with one and the camera didn't pick it up.) But I thought I needed one a few weeks ago and the Wet Paint staff raved about this one, so I bought a blister pack containing two. 

I have to tell you I haven't tried to photocopy any layouts marked up with this pencil to see if it serves well as a non-photo blue tool, but I did put this journal sketch on my toner copier. WIthout changing any settings all of the lines except where I had really made heavy layers disappeared. I think that qualifies!

I don't know exactly why I picked it up to sketch the other day, except that I didn't want to work in pen, and I didn't want to work in graphite, and it was the closest colored pencil to my location. I'm glad I did because it felt so good on this hot press (slightly toothy) Lana Aquarelle (Watercolor) Paper that I kept doodling. 

I started with the dog, made the "cat" head, and kept going. I had intended to fill the whole page and add watercolor and ink, but I like it just this way. And the pencil was getting dull and I didn't want to go look for a sharpener.

Yes, that's a live bird in her balloon.

Yes, there's someone standing under that tower.

Yes, that's the state of Indiana on her necklace.

No, I had not gone over my daily allotment of chocolate.

I just have to say, I love that dog. The gradations I could get on his nose sold me on the pencil.

I don't often draw from my imagination, but it's a great way to test a new product. Just let your hand move around and feel whatever there is to feel.

Note: I no longer use Lana Aquarelle (Watercolor) paper for any purpose. I used it in the 90s and then the surface changed and didn't suit the way I worked. I tried it again in the early 2000s because it was easy to get 90 lb. weight paper for binding journals. But I still didn't care for it. This journal was made out of a single sheet of 90 lb. that I had left in the flat file. It's been sitting on the shelf since 2006 waiting to be used. Since it's small I'm using it now for my daily journal, to carry around with me, because while I take care of my body as I heal I'm carrying as little as possible in my pack! I don't recommend this paper, even for colored pencil, though it does have a lovely tooth for colored pencil as you can see in the shaded areas of the drawing, and you might want to try it for yourself.

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