Imagine. Create. Enjoy.
First up: Distress Crayons. They come in packs of five in lots of different color palettes (I’m using set one). They’re really smooth and creamy and so fun to use! I made a rainbow that could be used as a background to test all the colors.
Coloring with them is almost like using colored pencils because they don’t really blend together, but layer over each other to make new colors. They don’t smudge after you put them down on paper, which is great if you don’t want them to smudge around (but not great if you want to smudge them to blend them).
If you do want to blend them a bit more, they are water soluble. The water picks up some of the pigment but leaves your original marks behind, they’re like watercolor pencils.
Of course I had to try to draw some faces with them. Here’s a quick one. I don’t think they’re that good for drawing on their own because they’re so soft that it’s hard to be very accurate with them. But still an interesting look.
Now, Gelatos! Gelatos come in packs of twelve and include a brush and two blending sponges. They come in metallics, pastels, or brights. I used brights because it was the most comparable to the Distress Crayons I used and also the colors are just so pretty! Here’s my gelato rainbow.
I think these colors are brighter - I don’t even doubt that a few of them would glow under a blacklight. They blend together and almost create new colors as you use them. If Distress Crayons were like colored pencils in how you have to layer them, these are a lot more like paint or oil pastels. You can use the blending sponges to smudge them together for a really pretty smooth look. Or you can use your finger - I put that in for a comparison to the distress crayons.
Gelatos are also water soluble. They’re similar to the distress crayons in how they act under water. I tested out some water on the right side here.
I made a face with Gelatos too. I kind of liked using these better, I like how the colors blend. They’re definitely even harder to draw accurately with because they’re really wide though.
I took some more side by side pictures to show the differences more clearly. Here are a few squares in yellow and pink to show what I meant by how they blended differently:
Here’s both of them with water. I think they’re pretty similar in that aspect.
They both look fantastic on tinted paper too!
I have to say I like the Gelatos better because some of my favorite things to use in my art are bright colors and lots of smooth blending. I think Distress Crayons are also fun to use, and both of them have so many possibilities with how they can be used!
Today I’m playing around with the Faber-Castell graphite aquarelle pencils. They’re like watercolor pencils, but in greyscale and better for creating different values than colors. They’re really fun to use!
I used them to draw a few faces just 'cause faces are my favorite thing to draw. I first wanted to make a quick sketch to test them out on thinner paper but I got really carried away and it turned into a full drawing… here’s the steps I like to take with pencil sketching.
First, I do a loose sketch in a light pencil, like HB. (Remember the H is harder and lighter, then B’s are softer and darker, and the higher the number in front of the H/B is, the softer/harder or darker/lighter the pencil is.)
After that I went in with 4B to define everything. This set has HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, and 8B if you want to use every one for really even shading.
I used an 8B then to make really deep shadows. I think that these pencils make really nice sketch pencils on their own without the water, they get really nice and dark and feel a bit more like colored pencils.
Then I went in with water. I used a normal brush like the kind that comes with the pack, but I think a water brush would be great to use too. If you’re really into watercolor, you’d be great at this step, the pencils act a lot like watercolor does.
The darker pencils create a darker black once you wet them, which is why it’s good to use the different pencils rather than to use one pencil with different pressure. I tried to push the water along with the lines I made to control the shading, it's hard to make it look neat! Putting one big wash over it keeps the darker lines and creates an even gray layer, which I used more around the outsides and on the hair. I think these pencils would also look great and be easier to use with a more loose style.
Since the paper got a little bubbly, I tried another drawing on watercolor paper and repeated the same steps for shading as before.
The watercolor paper definitely worked better with the water. You can also go back and add in more details with dry pencil again on top.
I experimented with colors after that… I tried alcohol markers on one, and just put a layer of even color on top since the pencils already create the value. I think it would work better if I had less aquarelle pencil underneath because it came out a little muddy. Or maybe even a marker base and the pencils on top?
I also added colored pencils to the other one. I bet that using watercolor pencils on top or even also as a base layer would be a cool look.
I liked playing with these pencils and there’s so many ways you could use them! I’d love to see even more combinations with other mediums and styles. Overall they’re pretty great pencils and lots of fun to use.
Hello again creative tribe! I am bringing it back to basics for this post. I recently got my hands on a set of water-soluble graphite pencils by Faber-Castell. There are five pencils and a paintbrush included. The five pencils range in hardness from HB (like a regular #2 pencil) up to 8B (soft and dark). They are divine to work with.
A little history....back in college my go to art supplies were pencils, charcoal and pens. I loved to doodle and sketch. I would get lost in the details of a composition and spend lots of time adding textures and shadows. I drew a lot of faces. Mostly self portraits but also funky ones from my imagination. Faces are endlessly fascinating to me with all their variations. Even though I like to play with mixed media I tend to take a break and just draw. I keep it simple, keep it monochromatic and let the magic happen.
For this little face I started in my Dylusions art journal on a page that I had previously gessoed. (Just a light layer applied with an old key card.) You can use these pencils on an un-gessoed surface but I like the extra workability I get from the gesso base.
Loosely sketching with the HB pencil I establish the head shape. Sometimes I start my faces with the nose and go out from there but this time I started with a U shape for the face. Once all the features were to my liking I took a softer pencil like the 2B or the 4B and put the shadows in. Grabbing a wet paintbrush or even a Koi Water Brush I painted over my lines and watched as the graphite began to blend and darken. I was able to pull out more shadows and create some really beautiful shades of gray.
While the surface was still wet I went back in with the 8B pencil and drew right on the wet paper. What a dark smooth line it made! The pencil line even bled a little into the wet paper. My little texture-lovin' heart went pitter pat at all the different ways I could create texture with just a few pencils, a brush and a cup o' water.
When my drawing was dry I used the 6B pencil and added more shadows around the face. I did not add water this time as I liked how the texture of the paper made such a nice complement to the smooth texture made by adding water.
I hope if you have not yet tried water-soluble drawing pencils that you take a leap and go for it. Keep it simple and just play. Get lost in the details and experiment with textures and shadows. Layer the graphite and watch the magic happen.