Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prismacolor Pencil Tutorial

Hi everyone.  I recieved an email a couple of days ago from a FCD customer, Dianna Enns, who had just purchased my new digital images.  She had questions on how to color and shade with Prismacolor Pencils.  I decided instead of just emailing her back it would be better to post a tutorial in case there are other beginners out there who need to know.  She actually chose the colors I have used today.  I love these colors Dianna!  Thanks for the inspiration.  I hope some of the information I'm giving you today help you in using your pencils!

I'm sure there is more than one way to do this, but I use oderless mineral spirits to blend my colors.  It is equivalent to Gamsol and can be purchased at a local craft store.  I have heard of people using baby oil.  But the OMS runs about $5 bottle and if you use a coupon, even cheaper.  A bottle last for years.  Lets start by listing the supplies I use.

Supply List:

1. Prismacolor Pencils
Here is a link to Prismacolor site:
Choose the Soft Core Colored Pencils to read a little more about them.  They come is sets of 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 90, 132.
You can get the Prismacolor pencils sets at local Hobby Lobby and Michaels stores as well and use a 40% off coupon. (FYI I do not recommend the Prisma Watercolor Pencils).  I did not buy a set, so I can't really recommend any one set.  I bought mine individually as I needed them at local craft stores and my local stamp store.  I have a color chart that I made so that when I'm designing I can pick out my colors easily.  Keep in mine that the lead inside of these pencils are soft, so avoid dropping them, or it's possible the lead could break inside the pencil all the way up.
For other great deals, try Ebay.

There is another pencil that I really like. It's called Kohinoor Woodless Pencils. They blend very well. I bought mine at Joann's for 40% off.  The set I bought was a small set, but it looks like they make larger ones now, up to 24.  Check them out here:

2. Blending Stumps or Tortillions
I prefer the solid blending stumps.

The other option is Tortillions and are "wrapped" paper.

3. Sandpaper Pad
I purchased all of these supplies at my local craft store in the artist section. 

4. Oderless Mineral Spirits
I use the Mona Lisa Brand.
You will notice on the front it says Oderless Paint Thinner, same thing as Mineral Spirits and the expensively sold "Gamsol" that you may see used by other artist.  I pour mine into a smaller glass jar to keep at my desk.  Here is what they say about it at Mister Art:
"Mona Lisa Odorless Paint Thinner is a mild, colorless solvent that is safe to use for all kinds of painting projects. It’s preferred by many chemical-sensitive artists for its low odor and toxicity levels."

There is another brand called Gamsol that claims it has removed the"harmful aromatic solvent solution".  You can check this out on Dick Blick here:

5. Click white eraser by Pentel

6. Pencil Sharpner 
Mine was purchased in the artist section of my local craft store.

General Information
I think as with anything, it's about practice and the "look" that you like.  To get shading, I try to use 2 similar colors, one darker.  If I don't have 2 shades to use, then I just use the one color for my shading.
Today I have used 2 colors in each area.  Just keep in mind that if you use one shade, to make it darker in the area's shown.  You can always add more color after blending.  You can use your white eraser to erase some of the color off and add highlights.  Some colors are easier to blend than others.

Online Art Stores where you might find these products:
Jerry's Artarama

On the photo below I used :
PC 1016 Deco Aqua & PC 992 Light Aqua
PC 921 Pale Vermillion & PC 1032 Pumpkin
PC 940 Sand & PC 942 Yellow Ochre

To begin blending dip your stump into the OMS for a few seconds, allowing the stump to absorb it.
Once it is absorbed, begin gently rubbing the darker area's in circular motions if the area is large enough.  After a few seconds the OMS on the stump should begin to break the color down and allow you to pull it toward the lighter areas, blending the 2 colors together.  Some people use more noticeable highlights.  Often mine blends together and the difference is not to noticeable on photo's, but enough for me in real life to make be happy.  Play with the shading and find what you like.

Sometimes I like to add Shimmerz to mine, it gives the color a finished look with a slight shimmer.  It darkens/deepens the color a little as well.  This sample didn't turn out as well as I would have liked, but I didn't have time to redo it.  Hopefully this is enough information to get your started.  I know you will continue to learn as you practice.  As far as using the OMS with digitals goes : I use Epson ink and bleeding is not a problem for me unless I rub too hard.  Remember the OMS is supposed to do the work, so you shouldn't have to "scrub" the color.  If it is a problem for your printer ink, try heat setting it or spraying the "Work Fixative" first.  That might help.   If you are not able to move the color, put your stump in the OMS again and asorb some more.  Use the sand paper to clean your stumps.  If I'm working on a large area I sometimes have to switch stubs or sand off some of the color to finish it.  So of the colors build up faster on the tip and become harder to blend, so you have to clean some of it off before continuing.

You can see the difference in shading in the following previously colored images.

I would love to know if this tutorial is helpful to you.
Have a great day!!

You can see all of my Prismacolor Tutorials HERE.


Patti J said...

First of all, CONGRATS on being a digi designer! I'm so excited for you! I hope that your new endeavor is successful and fun! Don't forget us when you are rich and famous! Next, your tutorial was very nice! Thanks so much! Miss your Paperlicious entries! Take care, Melisa - Hugs!!!

Shelly Schmidt said...

Lovely cards and great tutorial!

FireCracker082 said...

great tutorial Melisa! I'll definitely link you on the tut page...amazing the difference in the blended and non blended huh?
thanks bunches!

jheuser69 said...

girl, these samples look great!

Unknown said...

Great tutorial - I am definitly going to re-read this and save it....

Thanks for all of your help in this.

Diana E.

Chrisd said...

Great tutorial on using pencils. I love them so much , my favorites colors have simply been used up...oh well, I will just have to get more pencils soon!Thanks so much.

jogry said...

I am awaiting the arrival of my prisma colour pencils. Your tutorial is excellent and I shall use the information.Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

Justme said...

PLEASE REMEMBER TO WEAR GLOVES AND A MASK WHEN USING ANY SOLVENT MARKER, GAMASOL ETC THEY CAUSE LUNG and nerve damage, I am on oxygen today as a result of damage to my lungs from not being aware of safety, porcelain dust, soldering too, they all added in but just because it says ODERLESS does NOT mean it's not dangerous!

Unknown said...

wow...nice post you have...keep it up.. and a very informative tutorial..

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