Category: Artwork

Colour Charts: CarbOthello, Derwent Studio and Friends

(aka things you write in January and find on your hard drive while doing backups)

The first thing everyone does when they get a new set of pencils is test all the colours out. I’ve always done this but never kept the list; every time I draw stuff I test colours on a small A6 sketchbook as I go and I’ve almost filled the entire thing with random testing scribbles. I also don’t mix ranges often; this means I’ve got loads more colours than I realise I have.

So I decided to make some colour charts, and I got something out of it that I wasn’t expecting; using all your pencils together is a great way to compare them.

CarbOthello and Pitt Pastel Colour Chart

Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencils put down an even block of colour; using pressure doesn’t change the shade much, and you get towards white by dragging pigment around, smudging and blending rather than using techniques with the pencil itself. Some of the shades are very bright and Magenta goes for miles. Getting a smooth gradient is easy; the nature of chalk pastel does half the work for you. I think they’re better for larger drawings than small ones, which give you the space to work the colours in properly. They’re a completely different beast to most of the other pencils I have so it’s not really fair to compare them as such, but when you have both it’s helpful to work out which pencils will be better suited to a particular drawing.

I bought the Faber Castell Pitt Pastels to fill in some gaps in my CarbOthello set when I couldn’t find them for sale individually. I really didn’t notice much difference between them when using them. Their colour naming is completely different; CarbOthello 770 Payne’s grey has a lot more blue in it than Pitt 181 (which I suspect is closer to 760 Lamp Black but I didn’t buy that one to find out). Dark Sepia looks like a shade of brown on the colour charts but I couldn’t see any brown in it at all, it’s more like a Dark Warm Grey that’s almost black. Warm Grey IV on the other hand is identical in both ranges.

Derwent Studio Coloursoft and Polychromos Colour Chart

Derwent Studio I’m beginning to love more now that I’m using them properly. They’re not designed to cover large areas but for fine details and smallish drawings they’re brilliant. They stay sharp for a long time so you can get really niggly details in with them. They are duller than the other pencil ranges; the colours are a lot more muted but if you press really hard you can get a decent shade out of them (though flooding the grain of the paper won’t let you get much more on top), and the odd pencil will really surprise you. Doing gradients with them was pretty easy. I haven’t tried layering or blending here, but I’d imagine blending very different colours is somewhat difficult. I have two Derwent Artists thrown in there and didn’t really notice the difference; they are the same lead after all.

Derwent Metallic in Silver: didn’t notice anything special about this one; it’s shinier when you get it under the light. The more exotic colours might be more interesting.

I found the Faber Castell Polychromos the hardest to use. The pigment was sticking to the paper too easily even with light pressure, so while the colours are bright I found it difficult to keep the white shade in towards the right. When I noticed a jump in the gradient it was hard to smooth it out without putting too much colour down and making it worse. You can get some really bright colours out of them easily. These pencils are oil based so maybe that’s the difference; I never liked oil pastels either.

Derwent Coloursoft are lovely. If I was to throw a pin inbetween CarbOthello and Studio this’ where it’d land. Varying shade with pressure is easy, as is building up an even gradient. If you press really hard dust starts to fly off much like the pastels would. You can probably drag this about a tiny bit but I don’t think it’d go far. Colours are pretty intense. If I had to describe them in one word it’d be ‘creamy’. I’d rather like to get a proper set of these… but I think I have enough pencils aready :) (total lie; I’m probably going to cave and get some at some point… when I can actually find them. The Usual Suspects in Central London don’t stock them, my local art shop is the only place I’ve ever seen loose stock but their sets are expensive. I wouldn’t dare attempting to order a large set of soft pencils through the post).

I didn’t plan on doing all of the Artist’s Grade ones in one day but that’s kinda how it happened. 111 down, 116 to go.

Extra CarbOthellos!

The Coloursofts started this.

I’ve been trying out portraits recently after receiving the Derwent Coloursoft Skintone set as as a gift and decided to have a go using some of my existing pencils to achieve the same effect, so I was looking to match the skintone shades to my other sets. My CarbOthello set had a few gaps around the Skintone and Grey range so I decided to buy a few extra pencils. I thought completing the set for £20 was a little steep seeing as I haven’t used them in ages so I decided to just pick the ones I thought I’d use rather than buying all 12.

Extra CarbOthello Pencils

I left the shop with 8. It’s okay, I’ve been good recently.

Now I just need a tin to put them in. I’m finding it hard to find tins for sale with individual sections so each pencil doesn’t bump together (they usually come with pencils inside) so I think I’ll have to grab another Derwent tin when I’m next in Rochester.

Pencil Weight and Pressure

One thing I’ve always struggled with is pencil pressure. This little exercise from artists.pixelovely sounds just perfect for sorting that out.

I’ve always put a lot of force behind whatever pen I was holding. As a kid my handwriting absolutely sucked. Like, really badly. It was only after switching to biros made an instant difference that I realised what the problem was; I was pressing far too hard for the fountain pens that they make you use in school. The nib kept scratching and catching on the paper surface, taking my handwriting with it (you’d think snapping a nib might’ve been a hint at the time). When using biro the paper would curl up until I wrote on the other side.

My construction lines don’t fare much better. I tried switching to a 2h to make it more difficult to get graphite on the paper but I still haven’t got the hang of it. Hopefully doing this quick little exercise on the train each morning will help.

The idea is to shade in 3 boxes with different shades of grey, increasing by one per day until the end of the month. I’m not sure how to fit 30 boxes all in a row on a piece of A5 but I’ll figure that out when I get to it.

WIP 26-04-12

Amissia - Sigh - WIP

That Drawing I Occasionally Redo

Ekishima Redraw 2012

Acrylic Paint Test

Stumbling on this earlier in the week [Kidrobot: The EPIC Custom Collection Of vinyltoyz] put me in the mood to finally do something with that blank vinyl DIY model I picked up last month. One tiny obstacle to face though: I can’t paint. The plastic’s well suited to acrylics so I had a bit of a read around the internet this weekend about how to obtain gradient effects. Had a bit of a play this afternoon with somewhat mixed results:

Gradient Acrylic Paint Test

The red seemed to work best, kinda funny seeing as it’s the cheapest paint of the lot. I don’t think I’ve nailed getting the water dilution right to pull this effect off. The purple Vallejo gave a nicer finish when I got it right, but it kept drying too quickly to do the blending properly.

Polystyrene Paint Test

The model’s quite small though, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to work this effect in while staying in the right area. I’m gonna borrow an airbrush and see what kind of effects I can get with that. I don’t really know what you can do with one but it’ll be fun to try. Squee, new thing to play with :)

(Aside: what the hell is my upstairs neighbour doing? It sounds like they’re re-arranging furniture. Again!)

I also picked up a paint marker:

Posca Paint Marker Test

This thing is brilliant, you don’t need to put any pressure on it at all to get a nice smooth line but the nib drives just like a normal pen so it’ll be much easier for me to get details in than with a brush. I think I might need a narrower one though, it soaks into this paper so it’s kinda hard to tell.

Another Sunny Day

Sunny Day At The Beach - WIP

I’ll be inking this later.

Sketches in the Park

Spent 3 hours sitting out in the sun this afternoon, rather nice for the middle of March.

Park Sketch 1 - Ekishima

 

Park sketch 2 - Amia

Things and Things and More Things

Lets get this in order.

Two chapters and 4 exercises left in the Java textbook, kinda happy to get to nearly get to the end of it. Though it is all Swing GUI stuff and I always find that kinda tricky. Sooo many objects, so many lines, so many odd little settings and things to remember.

I made a wallet. It has constellations on.
Constellation ZIppy Wallet
Modified the Riko doll. I’m still not happy with it. It’s missing something but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Diddy Riko Revisited

I’ve been watching too much anime. Then again, there’s nothing on so maybe that’s okay. With Game of Thrones coming back and some random thing on Channel 5 about fairytales, maybe that’ll change. I still need to finish Battlestar.

A wandering Timcanpy appeared. It was cute.

Timcanpy Plush

An amigurumi dragon stopped by to say hello too. He was resized, but he didn’t seem to mind. He now lves on my desk, amongst other things.

Cute Little Amigurumi Dragon

I got one of these, I thought they were cool:

Baby Angel Cat Qee - Blank

I need to design it. You can paint them with acrylics but seeing as I suck at painting I think paint marker-pens are the way to go.

A friend sent me one of these. It was also cool:

Tea Mug

The fish got new plants. The just-a-bundle-of-leaves fern was a little disappointing, but there’s some baby ones growing off it so maybe those will survive.

New Plants in Fishtank

Yeah… this is totally the wrong kind of camera for this.

I had a go with my new Studio pencils. Can’t say I’m used to them yet as the drawing I’m trying them out on is allllll black so half of the pencils are from a different range, but it’s nice to have so many shades of grey to work with.

Pencil Test - Allen Walker WIP

The polychromos are nice, they cover big areas well and the colours come out darker than the harder Derwents. But then, that’s not what I brought the Derwents for.

I’m on holiday at the moment. It’s nice to have time off work, finding places to go is somewhat difficult. I have plenty of things to do here but it kind of feels like killing time, and that’s no way to spend a holiday. I won’t sit indoors the whole time.

I need a new bag. I can’t find one I like. I considered making one, though I’m not sure where you get the thick kind of fabric that makes messenger bags work from. All I’ve found so far is cotton, and that stuff isn’t much good when it comes to handling book-weight.

Adventures in Pencil Land

I’d say I’d been very bad yesterday but I really haven’t, I earned it…

Derwent Studio Pencils

I’ve been coveting a nice set of colouring pencils for a while. My Carb0thellos are great, but it’s impossible to get small fine details out of pastel pencils so I have to leap in with a box of Crayolas to save the day on the tiny bits. Last week I struggled to colour something purple with my one shade of deep dark violet, and decided to take a look to see what else was out there. I did a bit of research and was shocked at how much these pencil sets cost.

Enter Hobbycraft’s January sale; it’s not often you wander into a store and find exactly what you’re looking for at half price, or spend an hour trying to decide which set to go for before finding these tucked away at the back of the store. They were marked down at £10 cheaper than that Artist’s range, which I can only assume is because they’re less popular. Most artists look for something soft and highly blendable so while I found a sea of reviews praising Derwent’s Coloursoft range, those wouldn’t quite fit what I was looking for. In the end I narrowed it down to two ranges; Derwent Artists and Derwent Studio. The “lead” core of the two pencils is identical, but the Studio line is thinner with a hexagon shaped barrel, so they’re marketed as being for fine detail work and sound more like what I was after. Plan A was to pick up one pencil from the different ranges, give them a try and see which I liked best, but I was unlikely to find a set like this for £25 again so I just went for it. After a quick play it seems these’ll do the job just fine for me. :)