Sad News

Just a quick post with some sad news.

Last week there was a fire and the apartment where I was living burned down. Fortunately no one was hurt and lots of our things weren’t burned. Our drawings and art supplies, hubby’s new bike, documents, those were OK. And the greatest miracle of all was that my 2 little mice (Frankie and Benjy) survived the fire. It was really amazing! I was convinced that I was just going to pick them up to buried them, when suddenly I saw movement on their nest. I was so happy. They are both alive and they don’t even have breathing problems.

But we still lost some things. We lost our computers, the antique sewing machine, I lost my Pullip doll and my mori critters…  And worse than that… We need to find another place to live. Fortunately we have friends that have been helping us with everything, but finding an apartment is not easy at all, so right now we are fighting to keep positive and not to become desperate.

We still have hope that better days will come.

Although I haven’t been drawing this week (to stressed to concentrate) I have a new drawing to show you (fortunately the drawings were all safe). I will try to write again soon.

Blue tit – Cyanistes caeruleus

Today I bring you another sequence of photos of my latest drawing.

Since I’m using some watercolours and watercolour pencils (especially in the beginning) my first step is always to tape the paper into my drawing board. This step is very important to prevent the paper from wrinkling with the watercolours.

Next I did a pencil drawing of the birds, very lightly, and with watercolours I added some background colours to the birds and branch.

Blue tit - 1   Blue tit - 2

After letting everything dry completely I could start painting. In this case I started by the branch (the boring part). :)

Blue tit - 3   Blue tit - 4

Having finished this I finally started to paint the birds. As usual I used a mixture of different kinds of pencils to do this. For some parts I used the soft pencils with lines and details made with hard pencils, and in other parts I used the watercolour pencils with some water. I gave the final white highlights with a thin brush with white colour.

Blue tit - 5 Blue tit - 6 Blue tit - 7

And here it is! The final drawing!

Blue tit - final

Derwent Pencils Comparison/review

pencilsFirst of all let me make clear that I’m not sponsored by Derwent or any other art supplies brand. The only reason why I’m making the review/comparison of Derwent pencils is because these are the pencils I have. I also like Faber Castell for example, and I would love to try prismacolor, but for now I can’t afford a nice set of Faber Castell and the Prismacolors are really hard to find in Europe.

So I decided to compare different types of Derwent pencils. I hope this help you understand better the different characteristics of these pencils, especially if you want to buy a new set but you are undecided.

The pencils I’m comparing are: 1-Coloursoft; 2-Studio ; 3-old Watercolour ; 4-new Watercolour.

I will compare the colour gradients, strokes/hatching, blending and with water. For this I chose the colours “Spectrum blue” and “Deep Cadmium”, with the exceptions (because I didn’t had these colours) of the Coloursoft blue, I used “Electric Blue”*, and the yellow of the old watercolour, I used “Lemon Cadmium”.

*The coloursoft Electric Blue is really similar to the spectrum blue. 

 

  • First I made a colour gradient with the blue pencils. This let me compare the hardness of the pencils and their colour intensity. As you can see in the picture, Coloursoft have the more intense colour and are the softest pencils. Contrary to this the Studio are really hard and the colour is faded (can you understand now my frustrations in previous posts? :) ). The new Watercolours are softer than the old ones, and I can say they are in between the Coloursoft and Studio regarding the hardness. But one thing that I wasn’t expecting was the colour to be so different. Even the different blue from Coloursoft looks more like the blue from the Studio and Old Watercolour than the same blue from the New Watercolour. Although the New Watercolours are softer than the Old Watercolours, their colour is not as vibrant.

gradient

 

  • Next I made some strokes and hatching. For me this is where the Studio pencils show their value. The Studio colours may not be as vibrant as the others but they made the finest lines and you can work with them for some time before you need to sharpen them again. This is great for more detailed work. You can also make thin lines with the other pencils, and the Coloursoft are great if you need to make lines with a lighter colour than the base you are working on but the tip gets blunt quickly. If you have to use the Coloursoft pencils really sharp in a big surface, I think you will end up without pencils in no time because you need to sharpen them a lot.

strokes

 

  • Blending. The difference here is not so easy to see on the picture but it’s easy to feel when you are working with the pencils. As I said before the Coloursoft are the softest of these pencils and because of that their are excellent for blending. Their colours mix much better and you can work more layers than with the others. The studio being so hard don’t let you work so many layers, and if you press them hard to blend better you will start to get some unwanted marks. Both Watercolours let you blend better than the Studio but still you have to be careful because you can get the same unwanted marks. So for a smooth blending the Coloursoft is the pencil to use.

Bending

 

  • And finally the time for the watercolour pencils to shine. The Coloursoft and Studio pencils are non soluble, so there are no news if I tell you that nothing happens when you pass a wet brush on them. I would like to show these 2 pencils with a solvent solution but unfortunately I don’t have any. Comparing the watercolours, I think they both work fine with the water and the main differences are that the colours of the old pencils look more vibrant, even with the water, but at the same time the new ones are a bit softer and sometimes that makes them easier to use.

water

 

In conclusion:

Every type of pencils has his strong points. If you like to do smooth blended drawings with vibrant colours, the Coloursoft are the pencils for you. If you prefer to do more detailed work with fur and feathers for example, and you don’t mind have more faded colours, than consider the Studio pencils. If you enjoy the flexibility of using the pencils dry or with washes than you should go for some Watercolour pencils.
For me all of them are great if used the right way and usually I use all of these (or almost all) in one single drawing. Everyone plays its part. I just feel I need to get used to the different colours of the new watercolours.

Hope this comparison is useful, please comment if you have some doubt or need to ask about other pencils characteristics.

Hildebrandt’s starling – Lamprotornis hildebrandti

Here is a sequence of photos from my latest drawing, a Hildebrandt’s Sterling. If you follow my facebook page you already saw some of these.

I actually had to make this drawing twice. The first time I decided I want to try painting it only with watercolours and trying some different techniques to show the textures of the feathers. What I learned from it was that these are not the techniques for me. I have more patience and control with my coloured pencils. So I started it again.

  • The beginning was the same, I laid down some base colours with watercolours. (this picture is from my first attempt, but as I said the beginning was basically the same.)

  • I let the watercolours dry completely and then I could continue. I started adding layers with the watercolour pencils and adding details with the Studio pencils. Sometimes I use the watercolour pencils like normal non soluble pencils but in this case I passed with the wet brush over the pencils. Just a touch of water to make things more smooth.

And here it is! The final picture! I painted the lobster the same way I painted this and I have to admit it, I think this is the way to go for me. It gives me pleasure and the results I want.

Art supplies haul

Hello everyone, I’m back and this time with new supplies (finally!).

If you follow this blog you notice that sometimes I was “struggling” a little with my pencils. For some kind of drawings I needed softer pencils but I only had the good but very hard Derwent Studio and some old Derwent watercolours. Some days this was really frustrating. So now you can imagine how glad I am to be able to tell you that I got new pencils!

A few days ago I went to Amazon website to update my wishlist and search for new stuff, when I noticed many Derwent pencils sets have around 40% discount. Knowing this and knowing the price of the pencils here in Denmark, I couldn’t resist. So I finally bought a set of 36 (new) Watercolour pencils, a set of 36 Coloursoft pencils and a proper pencil sharpener (Helix).

In the next days I will make a review of the pencil sharpener and reviews/comparison of the pencils. For now, enjoy some photos :)

Art supplies haul

Art supplies haul

Art supplies haul

Eupatorus gracilicornis and why I’m not drawing much lately

It’s been awhile since my last blog post.

The last time I posted a WIP picture of a small cat drawing and well, I haven’t finished it yet. I worked a little bit more on it but I wasn’t enjoying it so much. Sometimes, when  drawing, you just can’t shake the feeling that something is not right or as you wanted it. This was one of the reasons I didn’t finished it yet.

So, to take my mind off the cat, I did another illustration, this time  with watercolours and watercolour pencils.

 

This is a painting of an Eupatorus gracilicornis. It was painted with my limited set of Winsor & Newton watercolours, and Derwent watercolour pencils (the link is for the “new” pencils, the old 18 set that I have don’t exist any more).

But after this I didn’t paint anything else for one big reason. The reason why I’m still not drawing is because of my hands. I have dyshidrotic eczema (also known as pompholyx). Basically my hands (especially my right hand) are full of tiny blisters. I’m not in pain but still, this is very uncomfortable and very VERY itchy. Sometimes I just wish I could scratch my skin off and put a new one, but scratching is one of the worse things I can do, so I just have to endure it and try not to go crazy. As you can imagine this also gave me some sleepless nights, which makes my brain work really slowly.

Now I’m making some changes to my diet and I’m applying creams and oils all the time (I’m avoiding steroids creams) and fortunately things are getting better. I’m not that itchy any more and the blisters are slowly disappearing. The problem is that my hands are still full of creams or oils all the time. If I made an illustration now, its description would have to be something like “painted with coloured pencils and hand lotions”.

I hope I can paint something soon. I will keep you updated :)

In case you haven’t seen it, I posted a WIP picture of the Eupatorus gracilicornis on facebook.

WIP – Small Cat Portrait

Just a small reminder. You can now follow my work on Facebook. I may post some work in progress, or workplace pictures that I’m not posting here.

Right now I’m working on this small (A5) cat portrait in coloured pencils.
I’m using Derwent studio, some Derwent drawing (mainly white), and a black Faber-Castell on a Clairefontaine acid-free 250g paper.
Again, I wish I had some softer pencils to do some parts but for now I have to work with what I have.

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