The UKCPS Blog is taking a slight change in direction and for the next few months we will be sharing hints and tips for using colour pencils provided by long standing users of the medium. It may be that some advice gets repeated, but that will just show how important it is. The aim is to provide support for newcomers to the medium, but I am sure we can all learn something new and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what people have to say.
The first person to share their expertise is Malcolm Cudmore. Malcolm's first advice is to buy fewer pencils but better paper. I think we are all junkies when it comes to colour pencils, forever finding room for just another set! Well, we all need to know which pencils suit us best, but buying a few loose stock to test would probably save us a fortune, which we can then invest in quality paper, which is Malcolm's next advice. The paper we use can make all the difference to colour pencil, and different pencils and techniques require different papers, so there is no easy answer to which paper to use. Follow your favourite colour pencil artists. Most colour pencil sites on social media require artists to list both pencils and paper used, so this can give you an idea of which papers to try. It is trial and error though to find the best one for you. Although good paper isn't cheap, it is a good investment.
Malcolm also advises that light value is more important than colour. Try half closing your eyes to identify tonal contrasts. Remember also to keep shadows consistent over patterned areas.
Another piece of advice is to work in muliple, light layers. The further from the point you hold your pencil, the lighter the layers will be. For me, mixing layer on layer of colours to achieve the colour I want is one of the joys of colour pencil.
When working from a photograph, don't stress over replicating the surface of the photo, concentrate on the appearance of the subject depicted in it. At the end of the day, people will see your drawing, not the photograph.
Finally, Malcolm advises drawing from life whenever possible. Useful advice for a medium that often leads to artists being reliant on reference photos. Regular drawing from life improves your ability to see and understand the world around you. For those new to drawing, don't worry, it needn't be an ordeal. Start small, a twist of paper,a half tied ribbon, a few grapes. Start with line drawings of the same object from different angles. Fill a page with studies so each drawing is less precious. Don't worry about creating great art but try to understand the object in front of you. As your confidence grows you can become more ambitious with your subject matter.