Friday, December 9, 2011

Eva´s Day of Fun: Prismacolor Pencils

Or to be exact: Prismacolor  Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils! :

These pencils were one of the first things that came up in my head when I was thinking about what to do  for my Day Of Fun. The pencils themselves are not  a new invention, many of you have probably been using them for quite a while, but to me they are new since a couple of months and I looove them and think they´re so fun to play with :).

Today I´d like to share with you some facts and tips that I´ve learned from different blogs, YouTube and from my own trials and errors while trying to get aqquainted to these pencils.

They´re made of cedar wood and have a wax based, pigment rich core. Using a light pressure while coloring, you get a soft  subtle shade and with a harder pressure you get very intense colors that covers well. Therefor they have some advantages that makes them a perfect alternative  and complement to distress reinkers  (wich is my other favorite coloring technique :) ) :

1.They work well with water based stamp pads.
2. They work well with digi stamps ( at least with my printer´s ink, but it has to be completely dry, preferrably over night)
3. The good coverage makes it possible to use colored backgrounds, for example Kraft CS.

And besides that, some variation is always nice :) !

To avoid sharp edges between different colors and make nice shades you want to be able to blend your colors. There are a couple of ways to do this with the Prisma pencils.

One way is to use thinner, "Odourless mineral spirits" ( luktfri förtunning) . There are different brands, eg "Beckers A" , which I found in an Artist´s store ( Artistica ):

The thinner is used together with paper stompfers ( the white ones in the center) that you dip in the fluid. I use a glass jar with a tight lid in which I´ve put a piece of Wettex cloth, and put in thinner so it just covers the cloth. Makes it easier to wetten the stompfer just right and not too much. (And remember to keep the lid on in between- it doesn´t smell at all but it´s still volatile and probably not very healthy... :) )

Then you use the stompfer in small circular motions to blurr sharp edges and blend colors. To some extent you can also "pull out" the color a bit outside the coloured area. 

To take away colour from the stompfers and to sharpen them you can use a nail file or a sandpaper. It´s a good idea to have several stompfers so you don´t have to do that for every change of color. 
A GOOD pencil sharpener is also helpful :)...

Another way of blending colors is with the Colorless Blender  Pencil. That´s a pencil just like the others but without color pigment.

Sometimes it also works fine to blend with the lightest of the colors you´ve used on an area.

I made a little test to figure out the difference between those ways:

I colored 3 "spheres" in the same way with 3 shades of turquoise.

Then I used the stompfer  with thinner on the one to the right, the colorless blender pencil on the one in the middle and the lightest turquoise pencil on the left one-with slightly different results:

I think the thinner gave the best blending, especially when you want soft shades.  The Blender pencil didn´t work very well at all, but better in the areas with more color.  In the left one, since you use a colour pencil to blend with you get a more intense colour, wich is fine if that´s what you want. Here, the darker shades almost disappeared so I had to put on some more of those after blending.

What paper to use then? The smoother the better I think. Aquarel paper with a lot of structure is not to recommend, you tend to colour only the "tops" of the paper with a grainy result.

Apart from that I think anything works. I´ve used this:

 Smooth cardstock also works fine .

As I mentioned earlier I´m still a newbie with these pencils. Nevertheless I will show you a couple of examples on how to use them ( no self-criticism here... :D).
Anyway, general principles of coloring is pretty much the same no matter what technique you use.

Colours look lighter when close to a light source and darker the further away from the light that they are.
First of all decide where the light comes from and then you know where to put your shades and highlights.

In this picture ( an Elisabeth Bell image) I´ve decided that the light source is over and in front of the girl, so the light falls from the upper right corner to the lower left corner.

I start by coloring all the skin with the lightest skin color, here "light peach":

Then I put on a layer of a darker shade ( "Peach") on the shadow sides:

Then blend with the stompfer:

Still too pale and boring so I add some shades with a brown shade "burnt ochre":

And the the stompfer again. You can repeat this until you like the result.

In the next picture I´ve done the same procedure with the hair. First the lightest color "Cream"all over, then a darker yellow shade where I think the shadows should be, an finally a dark brown color for more marked shadows. I´ve also put some pink on the cheek:

Here I´ve used the "Cream" pencil all over the hair once again to blend instead of the stompfer:

Then the dress, the lightest blue:

 Then two darker blue shades and stompfer:

You can always go back and add more shades if you need, until it looks OK. If you get too much color where you want light areas yo can actually use a rubber to take some of it away. You can also add highlights with the white pencil.

After a little more shades and background color:

An here´s another example, Maja Design´s Santa on Kraft Cardstock. 
First the white areas:

Then shadows with a dark grey pencil and skin color on face:

Blend with stompfer:

Three brown shades on the sack and boots:

Blended the brown and coloured the trousers with a grey pencil:

Added shades on the trousers with black pencil and blended:

Colored jacket and cap with a light and darker shade of red:

Blended with stompfer:

Green gloves, same procedure :) :

And the lantern:

The whole Santa needs some more shades, black pencil:

And after blending shades with stompfer and added some yellow around the lantern:

Finally some highlights with white pencil and some grey as background:

And a couple of other examples. I like that the Prisma pencils gives such a "soft" impression although the colors can be very intense... if that makes any sense...:)

So, those of you who haven´t tried these lovely pencils yet- I strongly recommend that you do! They´re very easy to control and so FUN to work with!


Hugs/ Eva


Daniele said...

thanks for the tips, I found blending with the pencil didn't work very well so I assumed there must be a technique to it. I love these pencils and you can get lovely soft shading

Ann said...

Thank you for such great tips with the Prisma Pencils. I love the distress inks too, and have Prisma's, just haven't used them much with blending. Will try it though.

kathi17 said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial. So far, I've mostly worked with water color pencils, but I love the results you got with the Prismacolor pencils even more.

I will have to try some!

Cheryl said...

Hi , I just wanted to say thank you for your tutorial and all your great tips. I only have a few pencils at the moment, but can't wait to get more lol, you are right they are a lot of fun to use. Thanks for sharing.
Hugs Cheryl

ursula Uphof said...

Thanks for the tutorial, I have only used watercolour pencils, haven't seen these yet.Do you also have one for Distress inks. That is what I mainly use.

Thea said...

Thank you very much for this! I have some derwents and will try it too.

Hugs Thea

❤ Kaia said...

Your coloring are amazing.
I love to color with prismas too, but need a lot of pracice....
I haven't tried to blend on Kraft CS, have to try that.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Hugs, Kaia

Paula (PEP) said...

I haven't coloured for a while but really love experimenting with different pencils. Everything you inlcluded here just made me so excited & longing to get back to practising. Your information is so helpful for I can remember wishing there was something like this when I first began. I absolutely love the colouring of the Santa on Kraft. I've not used Prismas before but the Derwent Coloursoft which are also wax-based & I believe soft like the Prisma & then the oil-based Polychromos.
Paula (PEP)

Kirsty said...

Hi I use these all the time ! and love them have not tried kraftcard though so thankyou so much for all the wonderful tips. Kitty ;0)

Connie said...

Stunning, Eva!! You really know how to color with Prismacolor!! Amazing!!

Lene said...

This coloring is gorgeous...WOW, Hugs, Lene

Alli said...

The real trick to shading and blending with these pencils is knowing and using color compliments and highlights. This link should take you to a very basic colorwheel for complimentary colors (aka shadow colors)

Also, if you are using Prisma colors to their full potential you should have a smooth lay down of color without any paper color showing through. Layers of color are really important.

And finally I wanted to tell you that if you have a color you decide you don't like, or in a spot where you didn't want it, a razorblade or (for less precise) a fingernail will scratch the wax off, and the color left beneath will be covered easily by most any other color.

Bastelmami-Sandra said...

Wonderful colouring Tutorial, thank you !
Greetings Sandra

Unknown said...

I love these pencils as well! I used some not-so-good card stock (whitish) recently to test-color hydrangeas for a card. The hydrangeas, when completed, had a very velvety, rich look. I was so surprised, and so delighted! (By the way, - I didn't have a blender pencil or paint thinner handy, so i used white as a blender pencil when necessary.) so, as paper goes, a softer texture works really well for some projects!