Apr 2, 2013

color pencil appreciation

Back in the day when I was taking art classes in school, color pencils were not my favorite thing. I remember drawing still lifes on huge pieces of art paper, endlessly filling large areas with these tiny stupid pencils. There was nothing graceful about these marks, just big slatherings of parallel lines, indifferently applied. I don't think it ever occurred to me that this was a hopeless way to use color pencils. I just felt that color pencils were a hopeless medium.

But I returned to them today, looking for something faster and more convenient than watercolor, and less unforgiving than black brush pens with color markers. I was surprised to find I actually enjoyed using them. It helps to work at a more reasonable scale obviously. What were my art teachers thinking --- keeping us occupied with a Sisyphean task, probably. Used at normal scale, you can appreciate the buttery softness of the leads, and the wide range of light to dark lines possible from any one pencil. They do still have at least one black mark against them, though: they don't scan particularly well.