Last week, I did all of the sketches for the week on white Clairefontaine Pastelmat. This week, I used the same pencils, but all the sketches for the week of August 2 are on Stonehenge.
Here’s what I thought.
My Sketches for the Week of August 2, 2021
Koh-I-Nor Progresso Woodless Pencils
Green Desert with Koh-I-Nor
I’ve been generally dissatisfied with these pencils for every application, but I haven’t done much drawing with them. So my first sketch for this week was more like a color study than a sketch.
The scene is based on the Flint Hills in Kansas, but it’s totally imaginary.
And not as finished as I’d intended.
That was because I didn’t like the way the pencils were layering on Stonehenge. Stonehenge is super soft, and just was not a good surface for these pencils.
Tree Branch with Koh-I-Nor
So I went back to a more typical sketching style. I like this piece much better, but am still not happy with the pencils. Getting good, dark values was difficult.
However, I do like having the ability to draw broader, softer lines.
Blick Studio Colored Pencils
Elm Tree with Blick Studio
I sat on our back porch Tuesday evening with a few pieces of Stonehenge and my cup of Blick Studio pencils. My intention was to draw from life, but before I did more than choose a subject and rough it in, mosquitoes drove me back inside.
The two knots on the upper left got most of my attention while I was outside, so they became the focus. I filled in the rest after going into the house again.
Those two knots do intrigue me. I may have draw them more specifically later. After a cold snap removes the mosquitoes!
Mountain Landscape with Blick Studio
The idea of line drawing landscapes interests me enough that I decided to give it try this week. I wanted to see if I could draw a complete landscape with distance using only the darkness and thickness of the lines.
That was not only possible; it turned out pretty well.
But I had to press so hard with the Blick Studio pencil to get those dark foreground lines that I felt like I was impressing them into the paper. I don’t think I was, but I didn’t like working that way.
Prismacolor Soft Core Pencils
Mountain Landscape with Prismacolor
The next pencils I used were Prismacolors, and I started with another landscape line drawing. In fact, I redrew the previous sketch, but without looking at the previous sketch.
The Prismacolor I chose was Indigo Blue and it worked extremely well this way. I still had to use heavier pressure and repeated marking to get the dark lines in the foreground, but the overall drawing process was easier and faster.
It also felt more comfortable.
Rotted Plank with Prismacolor
For this drawing, I went back to the back porch. It was earlier in the day and more windy, so the mosquitoes weren’t much of a problem.
But I didn’t want to draw a tree again, so I looked around where I sat and finally settled on this rotted plank. I’d drawn something like it for the original plein air challenge in 2016, so thought it was time to revisit the subject.
I did a little bit of shading in the darkest values, but used mostly lines to suggest the weather-worn wood.
I’ve used Polychromos pencils for a lot of sketches since starting this sketching habit, so I did only two this week.
Flint Hills with Polychromos
Another line drawing landscape. I really enjoy sketching like this!
This sketch is drawn from an old, poor quality photo I took of the Flint Hills many years ago. I did a little more shading with this one than with the other line drawings. But I still relied on line thickness and darkness to convey the look of distance.
Tree Branch with Polychromos
Another sketch from one of my photos. This tree is near a local business and has interesting lighter patterns in the bark. Those light patches are what I wanted to capture, since they really defined the twisting and turning of each of the three large branches.
Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor
This is my Lyra Polycolor sketch for the week. It, too, is based on one of a collection of images I took a couple of years ago. I simplified the landscape quite a bit, and drew the main tree without leaves so it stood out even more from the clumps of trees in the background.
Caran d’Ache Pablo
The last sketch for the week was this tree trunk study with Caran d’Ache Pablo.
I liked the tree in the previous sketch so much that I decided to do it again with much background.
Crayola Colored Pencils
I got an opportunity to try a brand of pencils I would not be likely to ever purchase: Crayola colored pencils.
I love their crayons. The smell of Crayola crayons is one of my all-time favorite non-food scents. The colored pencils are made for the same artists for whom the crayons are made. Grade school students.
So I had no interest in purchasing them, even just to test them.
But this week, I came into possession of a large collection of them. Since a reader asked about them, I decided to do a little work with them, just to see how they measured up to my expectations.
One of my tests was a sketch on Stonehenge.
This sketch is called The Moor, and I drew it one evening while watching The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The moor shares some characteristics with the Flint Hills and I love drawing the Flint hills, so I decided to try sketching the moor.
I would have made more progress with a better pencil, but I’m still pleased with the way this turned out.
How I Rate these Pencils
I made some interesting (and surprising) discoveries this week.
As I mentioned last week, I have only one each of the Caran d’Ache Pablo and Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor pencils, but they turned out to be my favorites on Stonehenge paper. They both performed very well and I didn’t feel like I had to press very hard to get the darker values. I rate them about equal in ease of use and overall performance.
After that, my favorites, Polychromos and Prismacolor, tied for second. That’s not surprising. The really good pencils general perform well on most surfaces. And they weren’t that far behind the first two.
The Blick Studio pencils were okay with Stonehenge. I think if I had no other pencils, I could get used to them easily. But they are better suited for sanded surfaces in my opinion.
Koh-I-Nor Progresso Woodless Pencils are still at the bottom of the list, but this week they’re joined by Crayola colored pencils. I won’t be doing anymore tests with Crayola, but I’m not yet ready to give up entirely on the Koh-I-Nor Progresso pencils.
The most interesting discovery this week was the fact that Stonehenge has fallen from favor with me. It just seemed too soft and spongy after all the work I’ve done on the sanded art papers. In fact, by mid-week, I realized that my problems with the pencils were really problems with the paper.
And to think that Stonehenge was once my go-to paper!
Those are My Sketches for the Week of August 2
Another interesting sampling of different types of pencils on Stonehenge paper. I hope you enjoyed the results as much as I did.
I also hope you’ll join me in developing your own sketching habit.
And if you’ve created some sketches during the week of August 2, I invite you to share them. I’ll be happy to add them as a reader’s sketch gallery to this post!