Saturday, June 4, 2011

Color Stix and Suede

Recently, a customer came in with a great pastel drawing of her favorite musician. At first glance, the artwork looked like an oil painting. Up close I could see that the surface on the work was textured. She explained that she uses nu-pastels (hard pastel) on suede mat board to create her drawings. The pastels apparently blend extrememly well on super smooth surfaces. This is something I can understand. When caricature artists create cartoon portraits of people, they use a very light weight paper and a foam pad underneath the drawing. The light weight paper, which has little texture or tooth, can still cause a lot of white space when a color stick is dragged across it. It also takes a lot of pressure to remove these marks but with a foamy, an artist can reduce these spaces to make the caricature's colors blend smoothly while minimalising strain of one's wrist.

I decided to try this technique using similar materials. Although color stix are harder and made with oils/wax instead of binder and pigment like pastels, these materials still worked well.

Untitled 5" x 7"
Mixed Media on Green Suede Mat Board


This was experimental. Like most of my recent post, I am trying to use new materials to discover new possibilities. I wanted to see how well the color stix would perform on the suede, but I went over board as usual. Fun as usual too though. This piece actually started out as the fifth building to my last post. It came out terrible so I worked over it. After I colored, I dripped some drawing ink on the suede to see how that would adhere to the material. I could probably work on suede for the rest of my life.. if I could afford it. It really is a great material for all media. Pastels are coming soon.. I have a few 5" x 7" pieces to experiment with and I hope to make something I actually like.

Stalker 5" x 7"
White Color Stick on Black Suede Mat Board


This here was actually intentional. I was skimming my news feed in Facebook and found a picture an old friend posted. It was a portrait of her in 3/4 view. She had added a filter to the image to make it a high contrast black and white photograph which was nice. It wasn't the black and white that I loved about the picture. Everyone loves black and white photos. They make everyone and everything look good. What I really liked was..is the composition. Everything balanced so well. The fact that she is very easy on the eyes and her hair looked awesome was also a plus. I didn't do an exact replica of the photo. I find it very difficult to be precise with the color stix. They are slabs of colored pencil that you can sharpen, but if you would like these items to last, I wouldn't. Due to my lack of a white color pencil, which I now have, I came out too wide on her cheek. Because of this, I had to modify most of the drawing accordingly since the suede isn't very forgiving and the white pencil is not erasable. Her neck is much shorter now and blah blah blah. Put it this way, there is a resemblence but not enough (to me anyway) to place the original side-by-side with this drawing.

Side Note: Colored pencil is extremely hard to photograph; especially on suede. Many problems have occurred with these small drawings. I guess colored pencils are camera shy. <-- Bad joke.

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