Not seeing a Scroll to Top Button? Go to our FAQ page for more info. Northbrook Designs: The New Colored Pencil–Part 2

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

The New Colored Pencil–Part 2

The New Colored Pencil  -

Create Luminous Works with Innovative Materials and Techniques

Author Kristy Ann Kutch


Part 2: Covers - Water Soluble Coloured Pencils in 3 chapters.

Chapter 6: This chapter begins with how water colour pencils are made and the various places in the world they come from. The discussion covers nine brands of water colour pencils, and the number of colours available for each. There is a helpful chart as in part one that shows the brand names, the number of colours, the price points and key characteristics. I was happy to see that the author includes a reference to using an electric pencil sharpener and recommends using it. I started using one a few years ago and so glad I did.

There is information regarding the types of surfaces for water soluble pencils which includes watercolour papers and the variety of materials they are made of, the weight and finish. Kristy suggests trying a variety of materials to see how each works with these pencils, but focuses a fair bit of attention on Sanded Pastel Paper and Aquabord. There are extra tips provided along the way in this and other chapters to help you avoid problems she experienced.

Chapter 7: Chapter 7 focuses on brushes. You will be reading about the different types of brushes used with water soluble pencils. The topics covered will explain which brushes you would use for the subject matter you are going to be working with and the details you achieve with the various brushes. Having been a decorative painter, a valuable learning curve was understanding why you use certain brushes for the effects you hope to achieve. Kristy has explained this very well.

A very good article is included regarding how to clean and store your brushes and the need to do that to keep your brushes in good condition. One brush referred to specifically as being especially handy, is a “self-contained water brush” and why it is so handy. At the end of the chapter there is an example of watercolour art and how it was created using brushing, grating and spattering with water soluble pigment.

The one thing lacking in this chapter was a photograph of all the brushes that are described. Three brushes are shown, but there several others mentioned. I think that would have been a useful picture to include to go along with the descriptions to give the reader a visual aid. However, the book is small enough to take with you to the art store and use as a reference when looking for the brushes.

Chapter 8: Part two of the book finishes with water soluble pencil techniques. This chapter speaks to the different ways of applying Aquarelles. The specific topics include, start dry then add water, creating washes, and glazing. There are examples for customizing a palette, building colour with under painting and grating pigment over a wet surface. The example given detailing the steps to creating art with the grated pigment technique is my favourite. The sample shows me clearly how the art piece developed using the grated technique to build up the colours and achieve the speckled look. Easy to follow along steps.

The next section, controlling and lifting water soluble coloured pencils, explains very well how to control excess water you may have on your project. With just a few simple techniques you can save it from being damaged by too much water. Lastly, the chapter includes solutions for dried pigments. As in the rest of the book, each chapter ends with two page examples of how to use the techniques learned using text and visuals. This chapter includes three of these two page examples of how to create vignettes, dynamic backgrounds, and splattering using a spray mister for soft focus backgrounds

Part 3: Covers - Waxed Pastels & Combining Coloured Drawing Media in 2 chapters.

Chapter 9: This chapter begins with a definition of what wax pastels are, how they are made and what makes them different from regular colour pencils. The first two topics in this chapter define the difference between water-resistant (or permanent) wax pastels and water-soluble (or Aquarelle) wax pastels. Kristy explains in detail that the permanent wax pastels are well suited to quick linear drawing where the aquarelle are more geared to a softer type of drawing. Each option has a full page description. There are 6 brands of wax pastels covered. There is a chart as before that lists the different wax pastels, the number of shades, the price points and their key characteristics.

Along with the Aquarelle wax pastels, is further directions for creating bold backgrounds, painting directly from the water soluble wax pastels and creating customized washes and grating the wax pastels. Completing the chapter are four examples of the techniques covered. The examples include both text and step by step images.

Chapter 10: The final chapter of the book brings together everything you’ve read in my posts. This chapter covers “Combining Colour Drawing Media”. It begins with a synopsis of how all these regular coloured pencils, water soluble coloured pencils and wax pastels can be used together to create your art pieces. I’ve used all these types of pencils and some experience with the wax pastels, but never thought about using them all together, so I have enjoyed this chapter immensely.

There are four sections in this chapter.

  • Aquarelle as a base layer for traditional coloured pencil
  • Aquarelle as a complimentary under painting for traditional coloured pencils
  • Enhancing traditional coloured pencil with water soluble media and
  • Combining all three coloured drawing media

Each section explains how to use the pencils and/or wax pastels together. A pencil referred to, that I must now go look for, is the Sanford Verithin, it can be sharpened to a needle-like point and incorporated for fine details. Completing the chapter and the book, are two examples with text and step by step images to describe the techniques covered. The last one is a seascape and Kristy calls this example, Putting it all Together.


  • The only thing I found missing, was that one picture of all the brushes that were described. That would have been very useful.
  • The Appendix has colour charts for each brand of coloured pencils, water coloured pencils, and wax pastels. A very good reference to help with choosing the brand you prefer to use.
  • Charts throughout that compare brands of colour pencils, water soluble pencils and wax pastels, to illustrate their features.
  • A healthy number of images throughout, which is what I need as the visual learner that I am.
  • The instructions are written in an easy to understand format.
  • I like that throughout the book, on each page the text is broken up into small sections that make it easy to follow along.
  • Tips are provided in darker coloured boxes.
  • I find this type of layout holds my attention more than long columns of text that run on over several pages. I can grasp the information far more easily and enjoy what I’m reading. I can refer to the images presented and easily go back to what I was reading.

As a footnote to Chapter 9: I went to my local art store when I reached this chapter, as I wanted to collect some flesh tone wax pastels to experiment with. They had a new one I haven’t heard of, Prisma Colour Nu Pastels. These particular ones are water soluble, and they had a good selection of flesh tones, so this is another brand for you to look for.

Overall, I found this to be a very good book. A quick reference book rather than a book of projects. I don’t use mine for paper or canvas work, but what I learned from this book will help me with my doll making. If you use any of these pencils or water soluble pencils and wax pastels, this is one of those handy to have books. I hope you have enjoyed this review.

1 comment:

  1. Great review Romona, it sounds like a very comprehensive resource book for colored pencils. Thanks for the insights!



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