I love all the colors… and when creating mixed media art, Prismacolor pencils in particular, not only give me a wide array of colors to chose from, but also they can be used in my art to make it more interesting.
How I use Prismacolor Pencils with Watercolor
After much experimentation, I found that Prismacolor pencils can be successfully used in a watercolor paintings. I use them both underneath a painting and on top of it.
The Succulent watercolors above are an example of finishing off a watercolor using Prismacolor pencils to add detail. I used the pencils to add the ragged edges of the plants instead of trying to paint them in. An advantage of using this technique is I can place a light colored pencil over a darker color and it shows up.
When I talk about mixed media, my whole being delights in what those words evoke.
There are several reasons for this. Mixed media is really all about experimentation and creativity. It is about endless choices and possibilities. Mix media is color and texture, layer upon layer that keeps happening until you know that you’re done.
When I create mixed media pieces, I become hyper-creative. I enter into this zone that’s simply amazing. Even though I’ve decided to use watercolors as my primary artistic expression, mixed media always gets involved. Watercolors can be limiting by the very nature of water and pigment. When I want to express something that is beyond the confines of watercolors, I turn to mixed media because it’s the easiest way to express complex ideas. If you want to create art with meaning, mixed media will enable you to do that.
“Mixed media is a term used to describe artworks composed from a combination of different media or materials”Tate Museum
My Introduction to Mixed Media
I discovered all of this in a college class taught by my drawing Professor, Greg Metz. He introduced us to not just mixed media, but to the creative process.
Another aspect of that class involved exploring the various mediums we could use to create mixed media. We discussed all the different kinds of supplies that you can use; pencil, chalk, gouache, watercolor, acrylics, paper, scraps, ribbons, or fabric. There’s no limit. If you can stick it on a surface, it can be part of your work.
The most wonderful part of Greg’s class for me was when he brought the ‘Prismacolor Lady’ to class. She displayed and demonstrated all the wonderful products that they have. I could squeal with delight just thinking about it. I call her the Prismacolor Lady, but she really was a sales rep for the company. It was her job to let people know about all the products they offer. I thought that was the most amazing job I had ever heard of. If you’ve ever used their luscious colored pencils, their chalk pastels, watercolor pencils, then you know what I mean. I have them all and I have all the colors.
My favorite Prismacolor product is the colored pencils. I wanted to share a few tips with you that I use when I created with their colored pencils and give you some links to the sites that I love.
Tips on Using Prismacolor Pencils
Circles – I learned to use a circular motion to fill in parts of a drawing when I took my first drawing class with my Professor, Nancy Dillen. She does photo-realistic drawings and paintings. Instead of filling an area using a back and forth motion, you can create tiny overlapping areas to achieve a smoother effect. It also is a helpful technique for graduating colors. Look closely at the blue space between the leaves below to see the use of circles.
Layers – I always layer my colored pencil drawings. The effect is a more interesting texture on the surface. I might add a lighter or darker color on top as shadow or highlights. The magnolia leaves above were filled with the light green color first and the darker green was added on top to create highlights.
I also use layering when I want to add detail. I color using the circular method and then draw the detail using a line art on top. If you look at the detail below you can see line art on top of the green in the pine trees.
Mixing – Similar to layering, I mix colors to create an interesting effect. I might put purple with orange. Lime green with blue. In the Drawing of the Upper Falls above you can see where I used green and blue pencils to create the shadows in the cliff sides.
Pressure – When trying to get dark rich colors with colored pencils, it helps to layer. Most people apply more pressure. Unfortunately, particularly with the Prismacolor pencil, you will break the pencil point off. At a certain point, you are not able to add more color to an area because of the waxy nature of the product. It will no longer adhere to an area. Pressing on the pencil gets you there faster, maybe before you are done. Layer, layer, layer!
Sharpening the pencil– Again, putting pressure on the pencil when you sharpen it will give you the same result as pressure while you are drawing, a broken pencil tip. Press the pencil lightly into the sharpener.
Working from left to right, using a piece of paper– I work from left to right on a drawing simply to not drag my hand across a surface and smudge the artwork. Another way to avoid smudging is to use a clean piece of paper on top of the drawing where your hand may touch the drawing.
An Exercise to Try Out
Put some colored pencil doodle lines down, then place a watercolor wash on top. Let it dry. Then add texture and lines with watercolor. Next add more colored pencil on top. If you want you can limit your pallet. For example, use only reds and blue in your little experiment.
This is my exercise, I limited the color to blue. First I drew diagonal lines with a Prismacolor pencil. I added a light blue wash. Then I added darker diagonal blue lines with watercolor. (Example One) Next I added perpendicular lines with a darker blue Prsimacolor Pencil to finish it off. (Example Two) I may add splatter later. I haven’t decided yet.
As I said in the beginning of this article, Mixed Media is all about experimenting. So have some fun and relax. Don’t worry about making a masterpiece, find out what the medium can do and while you are doing that think of some ways you can incorporate Prismacolor pencils into the art you are currently creating.
Links I Love.
A lot of us take time each year as the new year approaches to stop, reflex, and plan. I will be taking two Sundays off from posting The Blog at the end of the month to do that. I am excited about the new year and need this time to evaluate and organize the business and think about the creative direction I want to flow in. I am hoping to be able, once again, to participate in area art shows and will be planning for that too.
For those of you who are not on my mailing list I want to encourage you to sign up. You will receive The Blog post in your inbox early Sunday morning and included with the post is a weekly download. This week’s down load is a copy of the January Calendar for you to print out as a wall calendar or use in a notebook to keep yourself organized. Sign up by using the Opt-in Box at the top right of this page and I will make sure you receive it.
A bit of transparency here, creating the downloads each week for me is a way to experiment with different print products. Knowing I need to create something each week pushes me to create and design. In 2021 I want to take this process a step further by creating surveys so I can receive feedback from you. I envision this happening once a month and it would give you an opportunity to be a part of my creative process. I am excited about that.
I love doing the calendars and will be planning art work to fill out the year. These will be pieces created and designed with the calendar in mind.
I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season in spite of all the challenges we all face. My holiday season so far has been very peaceful. I am grateful for that. Blessings to you and as always, Be Inspired!