Book Reviews

Creative Colored Pencil Workshop
By Carlynne Hershberger & Kelli Money Huff

Ok, this book is awesome – especially for those who love to play with their art & supplies as much as they like to take it all very seriously.  This book is not only an excellent springboard for brand new, mixed media ideas to start jumping into your mind exceptionally fast, but it is excellent for getting those ideas to materialize into something fabulous!
All of the basic skills for working in colored pencil.  It starts out with the properties of colored pencils & includes a very nice chart so you can easily compare the characteristics & each brand’s applicability with colored pencil techniques.  This is incredibly helpful given that every artist has their own style & looks for different qualities.  Five brands are discussed: Sanford Prismacolor, Caran D’Ache Pablo, Faber-Castell Polychromos, Derwent Signature, & Lyra Rembrandt Polycolor. 

Following basics on the pencils themselves, the authors explain & demystify the various tools colored pencil artists need to aid in success & avoid frustration.  One of the most helpful parts in this section is that the authors are both honest regarding their preferred brands.  This means a lot given that they each have extensive experience with colored pencils. This book tells you what is preferred & why! 

On to the actual artwork, the authors not only explain each technique that colored pencils are known & loved for, but they give you a detailed, in depth, step-by-step demonstration for each technique alone!  Included in every step-by-step demonstration in this entire book you are provided with a detailed supply list & you’ll learn the technique & end up with a piece of art you can be proud of! 

Techniques you will learn & artwork you will create include:
·       Tonal layering to paint a Magnolia bloom
·       Burnishing to paint a Magnolia bud
·       Using various pencil strokes to paint a Caladium Plant
·       Using solvents to paint weathered brick
·       Blending methods to paint a section of an old fort

What you can, & will, achieve by mastering these skills will give you a serious confidence boost, & your addiction (brand new or existing) is now going to start taking contol…

Chapter 2: Basic Skills for Other Mediums
      In this chapter, the authors provide basic skills for other mediums including: watecolor, gouache, acrylic, ink, graphite, oil pastel, metal leaf, Rub ‘n Buff, & monotype!  Now, there are entire books regarding each of these mediums alone, so know that you are only getting a very basic rundown.  Like Chapter 1, this chapter provides step-by-steps for using each medium, which is awesome!

Skills you will acquire & artwork you will create include:
·       Learning a graded wash to paint a rocky beach
·       Masking to paint a creek
·       Wet-into-wet to paint fall leaves
·Layering and lifting to paint a feather resting on river rocks
·       Washes and glazes to paint desert rock
·       Ink washes to paint a yellow flower
·       Layering and lifting to paint a Gerbera Daisy
Oil Pastel
·       Layering and blending to paint calm river scene
Metal Leaf
·       Learn to apply metal leaf to create a gold & red design
·       Create texture by painting a mountain scene
Rub ‘n Buff
·       Learn tips for using this wax-based metallic paste!

Chapter 3: Surfaces
This chapter is a godsend.  Better than any other book on the subject of colored pencils are the wide-variety of available surfaces described & demonstrated for their interaction with colored pencil & wet media.  You are given the rundown on 29 different surfaces.  YES – twenty-nine.  This might be the best part of the book.  I go back to this book for reference every time I start a new piece.  It is invaluable information for those who love to try new things, but don’t have a money tree in the backyard to supply their endless curiosities!  It gets even better, each of the 29 surfaces discussed includes a picture of what colored pencil looks once applied to it.  It’s the closest thing to actually testing it out yourself!

Chapter 4: Decision Time
This chapter is where the Workshop starts to come in.  This chapter discusses choosing which materials, techniques, & mediums to combine with colored pencil.  The coolest part about it is that both authors give a step-by-step based on the same reference photo on a yellow Orchid.  It is incredibly informative & fun to see the end result of two works created from the same reference.  This chapter exemplifies the differences that can be achieved with different combinations.

Chapter 5: Painting Projects
Now that the authors have taught us how to select & combine mediums & surfaces, even more step-by-steps are provided for the book’s Workshop Projects! 

               Here is what you’ll get to paint by combining colored pencil with….
·       Watercolor to paint a canoe by a lake
·       Watercolor & gouache to paint autumn leaves fallen on rocks
·       Watercolor to paint frog in shallow water
·       Fluid acrylics to paint a stone bridge overlooking the sea
·       Ink to paint a pink & yellow rose
·       Oil pastel to paint a sunny day in the trees
·       Silver leaf to paint an interesting stone tile
·       Monotype technique to paint an bright orange, autumn scene

You will LOVE this book.  It is full of excellent information & technique to get even more out of your beloved colored pencils than ever before.  It is fun, clearly written, aesthetically set-up, straightforward, & incredibly helpful.  Enjoy!  I would love to hear what you think, so feel free to add comments based on your thoughts of this book that fulfills all of its promises!Creative Colored Pencil Workshop: Exercises for Combining Colored Pencils with Your Favorite Mediums

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