Sketchbook question

  • SVS OG

    This may be a strange question but do you find that a particular medium works better for developing your eye with regards to color? I only have limited time and opportunity to sketch and though I love looking at people's watercolor sketches, I'm not adept at watercolors (having only done them some years ago.) I mostly do pencil sketching and digital work for the color. I thought colored pencils would be easier to carry and would allow me to grab small moments when I'm out to sketch but my fear is that pencils wouldn't force me to think in terms of blocks of color and value as well as watercolor or any brush sort of sketching does. Any experiences that you can share that might help me figure out how to make the most of my limited time?

  • Pro SVS OG

    @demotlj You could try pastels. It’s a wonderful medium in-between drawing and painting and the colors are the brightest you can ever get with traditional media. Good quality pastels (Sennelier are some of the best), have a lot of pigment and as little medium as necessary to hold together - it’s like painting with pure pigment.

    On the downside, it’s a very delicate medium once the work is finished. You cannot really use fixative (it makes the air escape from in-between the pigment particles, which then collapse to a smaller size, making the paint look thin and unfinished) and the work is sensitive to touch (but has excellent light-permanence).

    It used to be my medium of choice when I worked traditionally, together with oil. When I left my former career, my colleagues pooled money to buy me a whole box of Sennelier pastels as a farewell gift. Sadly, I was already switching to digital at that point, and the box is still untouched....

  • SVS OG

    @smceccarelli You can send the box to me! Just kidding. I actually am using digital pastels in my digital painting and had thought about using them but had read that using them in a sketchbook was difficult because of their fragility. How did you prevent smearing, etc. when you were using them in a sketchbook?

  • Pro SVS OG

    I never did - I used them on separate sheet of paper. Canson, medium gray paper, normally, sometimes pastel paper (feels like a short velvet surface). Then I put very thin white paper on top and stored them piled in a drawer.
    You can use pastel pencils in sketchbooks - I use them still today. Those you can fix very well with a fixative spray, so they do not smear anymore. The most beautiful effect you get on mid-gray paper using red and white pastel pencils.
    Check out Donato Giancola sketchbooks for a masterful example of this.

  • SVS OG

    @smceccarelli I have a friend who has some unused pastels that I think I will borrow and give your suggestion a try. Thanks.

  • How about alcohol based markers? Very quick and easy to lay down blocks of color. Easy to toss in your bag. No clean up.

  • Copic markers are good, but they are expensive and finish quite fast - so you need to buy the refils. And if you plan on using a lot of colours you need to walk around with a case full of them.

    If you really want to be able to walk around with some artistic materials, maybe you should try watercolour a bit more (dont run away from the possibilities that each medium offer)! And you can make it simple by just buying a Water Brush and a small watercolour set. That makes the whole thing quite portable. Also, you don't need expensive watercolour paper. Most of my watercolour sketches (and even full pieces) are done in a cheap A5 drawing block by Besform (only 1 dollar here in Singapore). I even did watercolour sketches in the train using these materials.

    Colour pencil may have the same issue as the copic markers.

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