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Vivid Colors, Deep Textures

Vivid Colors, Deep Textures

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Award-winning artist Janie Gildow loves colored pencil, but she doesn’t stop there–Gildow combines it with other media to create unique effects, such as these realistic cherries (below).

“Colored pencil is the ideal medium for many artists. Not only easy and clean to work with, it creates vivid colors, deep textures and subtle blending that can make a work of art as rich as any other medium can. But it has another benefit that many artists don’t realize–it’s perfect for mixed-media work.

“The nature of the wax-based pencil makes it great for combining with materials and processes. It makes effective marks on all kinds of dry surfaces and other media because it sticks to virtually anything that’s not slippery, wet, or shiny.”

To give you a taste of Gildow’s instruction, here’s a demo from Magazine (2003) on how to combine colored pencil with acrylic paint for colorful results. “A foundation of acrylic–anywhere from a transparent wash to a hefty layer of concentrated color–stays bright and permanent and increases your color palette accordingly,” Gildow says. “Though it may seem unlikely, colored pencil layers nicely over acrylic’s plastic surface.”

Colored Pencil and Acrylic Demo by Janie Gildow

1. Start the color. Over a drawing on gray paper with white pencil for the outlines and black pencil filling in the cast shadows, I mixed red, orange and purple acrylic paint together for a cool red to paint the cherries, avoiding the highlights. I painted the cast shadows with a mixture of blue, orange, brown, and purple.

2. Deepen the values. I used indigo blue, black cherry, and crimson lake pencils on the darker parts of the cherries to establish their contours and create dimension. With indigo blue I colored the cast shadow, and with terra cotta and olive green I established the darkest parts of the stems. Then I colored the sharp-edged highlights with white to create some sparkle.

3. Enrich the Tones. I applied a combination of crimson red and scarlet lake pencils on the lighter parts of the cherries. To enrich the cast shadow, I used terra cotta close to the cherry and ultramarine farther away, and then I used limepeel and yellow chartreuse on the lighter parts of the stem.

Gildow also shares lessons on combining colored pencil with pastel and watercolor in the original article, which is an excerpt from Colored Pencil Explorations. Her videos, such as Colored Pencil Techniques Made Easy, have received 5 stars, and this one’s on sale for $5 for a limited time (watch a sneak peek here).

Happy drawing,

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Watch the video: My first texture sheet try on Polymer clay (June 2022).


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