These ain’t your kids’ colored pencils


Last year for Christmas, someone in my family got me, at my request, Aloyna Nicklesen’s Colored Pencil Painting Bible. I had seen it on Amazon and thought it could be awesome. Plus, I’ve had a 48 pencil Prismacolor set since I was in Jr. high school and I thought it was high time to learn how to use them. Now, a year later, I’ve finally cracked it open and… this book is inspiring. Really. Her paintings are spectacularly realistic and the book goes into detail about techniques I’d have never thought up in a zillion years. So, I packed up all my necessary materials along with the book for my WDNO at the library. It turns out, colored pencil painting is slow and requires quite a hell of a lot of skill.

First of all, I’ve never oil painted so I don’t own any mineral spirits. This is a required material according to Ms. Nicklesen, so I searched around my house for an alternate. I chose castor oil. While, castor oil did sort of blend the color a bit, it also soaked through the paper. I’m going to guess that the artists of history had it right and used mineral spirits in lieu of castor oil because it is better. Go buy mineral spirits.

Then, I had 1.5 hours to work with, and this is what I accomplished:

Image (21)

Pretty unimpressive. With 20 minutes to closing time, I decided to begin one of the exercises in the book (Yes, there are exercises!! I love that!). I started to sketch a pair of cherries. This is my incomplete 20 minutes worth:

Image (22)

Verdict: Keep at it.

3 thoughts on “These ain’t your kids’ colored pencils

  1. never thought of painting with pencil. what pencils do you use? I find prismacolor to still be the best brand. I may check this book out though I am very curious about it especially because I pretty much exclusively use color pencil with the accasional acception of water color. You should check out the work on my blog let me know what you think and maybe follow if you like

    1. Yep, I’m using Prismacolor, too. Ms. Nickelsen is using a brush with odorless mineral spirits on top of the pencil, but she’s not exactly painting with a wet medium. Yet, it’s not drawing either. I think the word “painting” is more often associated with fine art than “colored pencil” and to some extent, even “drawing”. Her paintings are certainly fine art. Though, if it were my work, I’d be proudly calling them colored pencil drawings just to show people that non-traditional materials can create extraordinary results, worthy of the “fine art” title.

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