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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bridging The Gap.

Hey, folks and happy Halloween!

Work on Monsters and Hamsters continues. It's been a fun and very encouraging couple of weeks. I completed another painting last night. A group of hamsters gets a fun and friendly helping hand from a gentle giant. HA! Alliteration... good times...

Titled "Airlifted", this piece was especially fun because I got to use my awesome new watercolor pencils. A set of 120 Caran D'Ache professional grade watercolor pencils, they are my new weapon of choice when completing these illustrations. I will still use my Derwent pencils but when it comes to vibrancy and ease of use, the Caran's win. When I started using watercolor pencils I had purchased the Derwent set of 24, a good little starter set. It's enough to get a sense of what they can do. Well, I was hooked. I was mixing them right on the board and if I wanted to use them like watercolors, all I had to do was just scribble some on a scrap piece of board and add water... a watercolor pencil palette. It quickly became obvious that this was gonna be a favorite medium and that I was gonna need more.

From there I graduated to a set of 72 Derwent watercolor pencils in a lovely wooden case. It was a sight to behold and I was in heaven.

The nice thing about watercolor pencils is they can be used 3 different ways... first as a pencil (I know, I know - Duh, Danny). So, if you're scared by the idea of squeezing paint out onto a palette, not knowing how much to use or wasting what you don't use, then these are for you. It's an easy transition to make too because they're in pencil form and you can't waste what you don't use. Then, once you've laid down your color, you can leave it as is - in pencil form - or hit it with a brush and water. This really is where the magic happens. It's a visceral reaction too - for me anyway. The painting really comes alive. And lastly there's the palette method which I use on every painting to add details or wash in some colors over others. At some point here soon I'll do a video or step by step of my process... but, until then... :)

The only problem with (but also a nice thing) is the Derwent pencils take a bit of "scrubbing" to get the pencil to 'melt' and wash completely. But this also leaves behind a nice little texture. Depending on what you're going for this can be a good thing. I like it sometimes, especially on the monsters. If I didn't want the texture then I have to use the palette or layer and scrub them with washes to get them to disappear.

After I purchased a few extra colors of the Caran D'Ache's water soluble pencils I was amazed out how they melted away, and into such vibrant colors. After a bit of use I was sold. I decided to invest in one of their big sets and I am glad I did. It was shocking how saturated the colors were... after using the Derwent pencils this whole time (which come out a bit less saturated in color vibrancy) it took my by surprise when I tested the new pencils. They're rich and melty... that's a word now by the way...

Suffice it to say I am very, very happy with my investment. They will help greatly me in my endeavors.

So, here's the painting! Sketch, final and a pic of one of the "palettes" I used in the process...

"Airlifted" watercolor pencil on Arches board - 16x20

Sketchbook painting - watercolor on toned paper
pic of the "palettes" I make along the way.

*this blog entry was in no way endorsed by Caran D'Ache or its subsidiaries. Danny Beck Art is in no way responsible for pretty paintings you create or any injuries sustained by the artist during the painting process. Use caution when lifting the pencils and do not dip the pencils in water thinking you were holding a brush like I have almost done so many times. Seriously, sometimes you forget which you're holding... the pencil or the brush - they're just that much fun to use.

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful piece of work, such a helpful monster! The trick or treating Hamsters were absolutely the best Halloween post all day on FB!
    I look forward to the day when you decide to publish prints or a sketchbook of the Monsters/Hamsters!
    Are you planning to attend Designer Con Next weekend in Pasadena? Great show full of art and inspiration, your work would fit perfectly. Check at! I don't mean for this to sound spammy, I think it is the kind of show you would enjoy since I follow your art. I will be there at the October Toys booth next to Neil Winn's booth.