Saturday, 25 November 2017

Spectrum Noir colored pencil review!

Recently i purchased 4 sets from Spectrum Noir Blendable Pencils (ColourBlends) to try them out. I was asked on several occasions if they would be a good choice for a beginner or even a professional artist since the range of colors is quite varied and looks like it can accommodate any type of subject. They are also easy to find (online and in stores) and you can start buying them set by set making it an affordable way even for a starting artist to build up a good selection of pencils.

I decided to buy the 4 sets i thought would give me the most options, so i could write a comprehensive review. The sets i have are Shade and Tone, Floral, Natural and Primaries . 

I noticed the leads were not matching the colors on the barrel's ends so i sharpened them before using since this can be an issue with wax based pencils.
I chose to draw a Toucan, a simple image, rich in color and shades so i could see how these pencils perform.

On the manufacturer's website they state the following:

"They have a soft lead for seamless blending and shading techniques"

I found this to be the case, but instead of the soft lead being good for blending they simply crumble into the paper, leaving so much residue behind that i had to clean up my drawing more than i was able to work on it! I have NEVER seen this with any pencil before. They simply disintegrate on the paper, leaving a million crumbs behind! 

"They have a high pigmentation and vibrancy of color"

This is not true! These pencils leave a streaky mess behind, they do not layer, do not blend and are not
intense as the manufacturer claims. They barely leave any pigment. 
I am not heavy handed, since my usual style of drawing is photo-realism and i like to build a lot of layers and fine details. These pencils do not work for that! 
They take 2 layers at most, after which they do not leave anymore pigment on top of the previous layer. 

I did my best to make this drawing as "ok " as possible, given the circumstances, but i was definitely not happy with the result.

I could not build up any contrast, shading or details making it look a flat and bleached. 

Also, i did not have a black pencil in any of the sets so i used my Prismacolor black pencil to finish the drawing. (my bad for not checking, before starting to draw!) 

As it is, i do not recommend these pencils and for me they are a waste of money. I will try to contact the manufacturer and see if what i have experienced is normal or if i had a bad/ old batch of pencils because i don't like giving negative reviews and i had at least some expectations from this brand. 

Hopefully they can help and i will post any developments here!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Fox colored pencil drawing

Here is a drawing i am currently working on. When i first came upon this fox picture i just had to draw it, i mean who can resist such a cute little fellow!
For this drawing i'm using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils on Canson Mi-Teintes paper. 

I started out with giving the fox a base color and a small shade around to create a contrast between both.

After the base layers where put down i started to put on more layers and shades to start creating depth. I also added some more green to the background and some details where there will be bushes. 
From this point onward i'm going to start adding details on the background and finish that first. 

Keep an eye out for my next post with more updates! 


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Froot Loops Step by Step Colored Pencil Drawing

This is a step by step process of my Froot Loops colored pencil drawing that i made for the colored pencil magazine October challenge.
I'm glad to announce that this drawing won the advanced category price and the results can be found here:

In this post i will guide you through the process of how my drawing came to be and i will do my best to give explanatory comments with all the images / steps that i photographed.

This drawing was made using Prismacolor Premier colored pencils on 8x11 Inch Canson Mi-Teintes paper.
 After outlining all the loops i started working on the left side of the drawing, which might seem a bit weird as i am primarily left handed. (i can use both hands, but for drawing i mostly use the left as it is my most steady hand)
This half of the drawing had most of the loops, which is why i wanted to start on this side. 
I started out with a loop of each color, which luckily was not that hard as they were all kind of close together. This helped me create some color values between the different colors. 

From here on i started to work upwards and while drawing i made adjustments to loop locations and outlines as needed. As you can see i did make some darker shades, however i skipped making the shaded areas their definitive color until the last stage where all the loops would be done.
Note that i also did not work on any of the milk surrounding the loops, that as well i left till i finished all the loops. 

From this step onward you can probably notice that i blocked in all the darker spots on the loops. To do this i was scrolling/ zooming in on my reference photo and working loop by loop.

The next steps are working in the same style as before to keep on creating more and more loops.

At this point pretty much all the loops have a base layer of color and i was ready to start on the next step which is defining all the shaded parts on the loops (especially the shadows cast from a loop next or on top of another loop) .

As you can see most of my loops now have shadows on and around them. I also darkened most of them a bit more compared to the last stage. I did this by looking at my reference photo without zooming in and noticed that they had to be a lot darker then they actually were. 

I also started on the bowl which i gave a base layer of greens, yellows and blues. After that it started on the milk. You can see the start of this on the upper left corner. For the milk i used a mix of grays and light blues. 

I continued working on the milk and made sure to finish it before starting on the bowl and spoon. 
For the darker shades in the milk i used a mix of darker cold grays with different colors (red, greens etc) After that i started working on the spoon which was made using different tones of cold grays and a few tones of blue. For the really dark i used a mix of indigo blue and black. 

After this i finished up the bowl with more layers of colors, i kept the bowl to last so i could adjust the contrast to the loops and add some shadows around the bowl. 

And with that the drawing was done.

I hope this explains my drawing process a bit more and if anyone has any questions don't hesitate to contact me and ask!

- Stefan