Ode to the Coloured Pencil
The coloured pencil, sadly, does not get nearly as much recognition or appreciation as it deserves. Whilst there are hundreds of websites, blogs and galleries dedicated to the popular mediums of oil paints, watercolours and acrylics, the coloured pencil often remains a forgotten tool in the artist’s repertoire.
So with the ever-growing demand for digital artwork and the popularity of the more traditional paints, is there really any room for coloured pencil art?
Absolutely. Whilst I could probably write you an essay on the merits of the coloured pencil, I have managed to narrow this down considerably and have come up with 3 main points:
1. Coloured pencil art takes skill
It is arguably one of the most skilled art forms, due to the fact the coloured pencil artist is usually restricted to around 5 or 6 colours, sometimes less, depending on the piece. Yes, it is possible to blend these colours but only to a certain degree before the cartridge paper becomes saturated and turns waxy and horrible. This means that as an artist, you need to be ruthless in your use of colour so no, it is not simply a case of ‘colouring in’ a sketch in 15 minutes.
2. It is a unique art form
The aesthetics of art pieces done in coloured pencil can be truly beautiful. This type of art is not supposed to look like a photograph – what would be the point in that? I have also seen artists make the mistake of trying to replicate paintings using coloured pencils, to little or no avail. Coloured pencil is a stand alone art form! The images created have a depth of tone which I just don’t think can be captured in the same way by say, acrylics. There is nowhere to hide with a pencil.
Now I’m not ignoring the graphite pencil either. There are a number of pieces on my site for which I have used my trusty tin of graphites to focus on minimalist shading. However recently, I have been experimenting with noir-style drawings – adding splashes of colour to otherwise greyscale art pieces. Think Sin City but less graphic.
3. It is incredibly popular on social media
If you search the hashtag #colouredpencil, Instagram will bring up thousands upon thousands of results. This is because the versatility of the coloured pencil allows Instagram artists to use it in a variety of ways to capture the imaginations of their millions of followers. Social media proves that people do want to see coloured pencil artwork; it is just more difficult to find. For one reason or another, it is still not seen as respectable as the ever-present oil on canvas.
So what can we do?
I display my artwork on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook because it is a quick, fun and easy way of sharing my pieces but coloured pencil art should not be banished to social media.
I will be sharing tips on how to get the most out of both coloured and graphite pencils and hopefully this website will show you that coloured pencils deserve to be more mainstream.
Please feel free to leave questions/comments on this topic below. Are you a fellow coloured pencil user? I want to know what you think!
PS: My sincere apologies that this is not a real ode.