Saturday, January 9, 2016

Vibrant Color Shading

Sorting Mark Making into color categories

A few colored pencil practice tiles in classic sizes

One of the especially helpful things Brazilian artist Eni Oken mentions in her recent book 3D Tangles: Vibrant Color Shading is that one should start by assessing what color mark making tools you already have.  And she suggests sorting the colors or color families together so you can reach for those without having to look everywhere.  Now why didn't I think of that?

You can see on one of my working desks in the studio that I have an assortment of colored pencils (watercolor and regular) as well as some pens (water soluble and permanent).  

Some sets are odds and ends sets I've picked up over the years.  One colored pencil set is a prismacolor "student" set which is VERY hard lead and not too useful. I actually may just take those out and keep somewhere else…they are erasable which is interesting.  As Eni mentions…the most useful colored pencils are waxy and buttery.  I don't have a lot of experience in colored pencil.  I probably should sit in on a few classes here at the park as there is a very talented group that meets every Monday morning in the art room!  She mentions "burnishing" with a colorless pencil quite often which I am sure is a technique I would learn there.  

My two favorite sets of pencils you will note I did NOT put in the pots.  One is my Inktense set (my most expensive set) which is a watercolor set and after it dries the color become permanent.  It is totally my favorite set.  The other is a nice waxy (but small) set of woodless colored pencils (not watercolor) made by Progresso which is part of Koh-i-noor brand.  I decided NOT to mix those two into the cups at this point.  (I need to find a set of nicer cups too.  These are totally unattractive.) I need to go to a garage sale.

Note: I keep all my black marking making tools in another cup because it includes charcoal, stabile pencils, calligraphy pens, etc.  

Although Eni uses her colored pens for a base color quite often I find that I prefer to use watercolor or watercolor pencils as a base.  But she does achieve quite an amazingly rich color in her work.  She also uses Bristol Vellum paper more often than not.  Strathmore makes a mixed media paper with a Vellum finish that I am fond of and I'll have to try that out.  You can see Eni's work at

Believe it or not it's time for me to think about Valentines…with 12 grandchildren it takes quite some time to craft them.  And I think playing with color and Zentangles will be a perfect excuse to combine the two ideas.  5 weeks will fly by.  They always do.

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