Thursday, April 22, 2010

Color Charting My New Watercolor Pencils

Having gleefully gotten my Dick Blick box o’goodies earlier today, I was eager to play with my new toys, hacking cough or not! I had heard how good the Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils were but had never found a single pencil anywhere to test. So going on the feel of the Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils and the quality and reputation of the Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils, I decided to leap into a 60 count set. Wee hoo! So far I have not been disappointed! I began by making a color chart (as seen below), and then started experimenting with color palettes and mixtures. I have been liking Jan Hart’s book, “Watercolor Artist's Guide to Exceptional Color” and organized my color wheel with the colored pencils around some of her suggestions.

Albrecht Durer watercolor pencil 60-count chart and color wheel

For my color wheel, I chose:

Yellow: Cadmium Yellow 8200-107 (high light-fastness)
Yellow/Orange: Dark Cadmium Yellow 8200-108 (maximum light-fastness)
Red/Orange: Dark Cadmium Orange 8200-115 (high light-fastness)
Red: Middle Cadmium Red 8200-217 (high light-fastness)
Magenta: Middle Purple Pink 8200-125 (high light-fastness)
Red/Violet: Mauve 8200-249 (high light-fastness)
Blue Violet: Delft Blue 8200-141 (maximum light-fastness)
Middle Blue: Ultramarine 8200-120 (high light-fastness)
Cyan: Bluish Turquoise 8200-149 (maximum light-fastness)
Turquoise: Cobalt Green 8200-156 (maximum light-fastness)
Green/Blue: Dark Phthalo Green 8200-264 (high light-fastness)
Yellow/Green: Earth Green Yellowish 8200-168 (high light-fastness)

I also chose a palette for easy access to animal tones. In this I chose the following three colors:

Yellow: Dark Naples Ochre 8200-184 (high light-fastness)
Red: Burnt Sienna 8200-283 (maximum light-fastness)
Blue: Dark Indigo 8200-157 (maximum light-fastness)

With these three colors I can easily mix Burnt Ochre, Van Dyke/Walnut Brown, and Dark Olive/Marine Green as intermediate colors. Giving me a really nice, basic, all-purpose animal color palette.

Some of my color mixing notes including my animal tone simplified palette

From what I can tell so far, these pencils lay down very smoothly and mix well dry. Their colors wet seem very true to their dry colors making it easy for me to tell what colors I’m going to be mixing. Having tried some preliminary mixing, I’ve quite excited to start playing with these fine pencils. Also in my goodie box was “Masterful Color: Vibrant Colored Pencil Paintings Layer by Layer” by Arlene Steinberg. This looks like a fabulous colored pencil book and I’m really excited to read it. I’m already contemplating layering my watercolor pencils and wonder if the same smoothing techniques can be done with water as are frequently done with solvents in wax-based colored pencils. If so, my allergies to solvent problems are solved! I can’t wait to see.

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