Testing Polychromos on Stonehenge Paper

Testing Polychromos on Stonehenge Paper

Today’s post details my results from testing Faber-Castell Polychromos on Stonehenge paper. The tests not scientific by any means, but I hope you’ll gain insight from my little experiments.

Testing Polychromos on Stonehenge Paper

Test #1

My intention with this test was to see how many layers of Polychromos pencils I could apply without damaging Stonehenge paper. I used light pressure for each layer, and the same basic stroke to apply each color. I also kept my pencils sharp, since Stonehenge is a smooth paper.

Step 1

The first color was May Green. I used a back-and-forth stroke to lay down three or four layers.

Testing Polychromos on Stonehenge Paper

The next color was Chrome Oxide Green, which I applied in the same way.

After adding three or four layers of that, I went back over the swatch with two or three more layers of May Green, followed by a couple of more layers of Chrome Oxide Green.

The paper was still taking color quite well even with the light pressure I was using. As you can see, I wasn’t anywhere near filling the tooth of the paper, but that’s okay. It’s typical for me to have paper showing through a drawing for quite a while because I use light pressure as long as possible.

Step 2

The next step was a blending layer, for which I used Light Cadmium Yellow. For these layers, I used a sharp pencil and increased the pressure slightly to medium-light.

The color blended very nicely. I did not notice any scuffing of the paper.

Step 3

After the first blending layer, I continued layering color, working through the same three colors until I had solid color.

This time, I layered each color in a different direction in order to get the smoothest possible color. When I did more than one layer of a color, I also changed direction. Some layers were applied horizontally, and others diagonally in hatching and crosshatching strokes.

This is the result. Nice, even color and no scuffing.

Testing Polychromos on Stonehenge Paper

This was a satisfactory test. It showed me that I could do finished artwork on Stonehenge paper using Polychromos pencils. I was surprised, but pleased, to discover this, since I usually use the much softer Prismacolor pencils on Stonehenge.

Test #2

For the second test, I did something radical (for me.) I used the same colors, but applied a couple of layers of each using pressure so heavy that my hand hurt before I finished. In addition, I worked through each of the three colors at least twice with the goal of absolutely smooth color with no paper showing through. The colors were May Green, Chrome Oxide Green, and Chromium Green Opaque.

I succeeded in that, as you can see here.

I did not succeed in scuffing the paper. Stonehenge from the pad held up beautifully under heavy pressure.

To me, Stonehenge from the pad seems to have a “harder” finish than Stonehenge in the full sheet. Legion, the manufacturer, has said that they use the same materials and processes for both types, so they should be the same. But I’m not fully convinced.

Since the first two tests were on Stonehenge from a pad, I wondered if I could I get the results above working on a piece of Stonehenge cut from a full sheet. There was only one way to find out.

Test #3

I found a scrap of Fawn colored Stonehenge cut from a full sheet. Using the same Polychromos colors (May Green, Chrome Oxide Green, and Chromium Green Opaque), I laid down two layers of each color with heavy pressure. I layered two or three layers of each color horizontally, then added two or three more layers of each color vertically. My pencils were sharp and I used very heavy pressure for every layer.

The paper performed beautifully. There was no scuffing or other damage and the resulting color sample was as saturated and free of paper holes as the sample on Stonehenge from the pad. In these illustrations, the color looks a little softer to me with this test than in the previous test, but there was no noticeable difference in real life.

Test #4

For the final test, I went back to layering with light to medium-light pressure. But this time, I applied short, directional strokes. Since my colors were all green, I decided to draw grass.

I didn’t have to do more than three or four layers to make a significant discovery.

The pencils felt scratchy as they moved across the paper, even with such short strokes. I checked the paper by rubbing my finger lightly across it. The paper wasn’t scuffed or damaged in any way, but it felt like it was being damaged. No harm was being done.

Testing Polychromos on Stonehenge Paper

This test was the most interesting because of the way the pencils felt as I layered color. I didn’t notice the scratchy feel in any of the other tests, but my stroking was more confident. Even though I used light pressure, I was making marks on the paper with a “stronger” hand. My personal opinion is that there simply wasn’t time to feel the scratchiness, if there was actually any scratchiness.

Testing Polychromos on Stonehenge Paper

All in all, I was very satisfied with the results of testing Polychromos on Stonehenge. Whether color was applied with light or heavy pressure, it laid down smoothly and was easy to blend.

The most interesting thing was the sensation of drawing directional strokes rather than layering smooth color. I think the difference is due to the fact that Polychromos pencils are oil-based. I’ve never noticed a difference with wax-based Prismacolor pencils.

Whether you use Polychromos and Stonehenge together or not, it’s worth noting that there is a subtle difference between the feel of an oil-based pencil and a wax-based pencil. In my experience, the smoother the paper, the more likely you are to notice a difference.

I also suggest that if you use directional strokes, it might be worth while to lay down a layer of lightly applied base color first to avoid that scratchy feeling.

Just a thought.

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  1. Angeles Glick

    very good advice on how to use polychromo pencils on Stonehenge paper. I will try them on my next piece.

    I tend to gravitate toward my prismacolor or Holbeins pencils.

  2. Patricia E Wilson

    What an interesting test and now we don’t have to try it because you already went above and beyond to let us know your thoughts. I like this as still learning to use my colored pencils. Thanks so much.

  3. Gail Jones

    I will look forward to trying Polychromos on Stonehenge. In the past only used Prismas. Glad to know this is another good option. Thank you for the article, Carrie.

  4. Ace Robst Jr.

    Hi, Thank you for this great article. I love Stonehenge paper, and this information will help me a lot. I have a question. You mentioned the word “scuffing”. I know what the word means, but I don’t know what it means when it comes to colored pencils. Could you please tell me what it means?

    1. Ace,

      Thank you for reading and for your very kind comments.

      When I talk about scuffing, I mean scuffing the surface of the paper. That can happen with especially soft papers like Stonehenge. It’s merely disturbing the surface of the paper.

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