Art Tip #13    From Carol Worthey

What Do I Carol Use and Recommend?

Carol Worthey

Here are some recommendations of products, suggestions to make your trip to the Art Store easier:

My favorite sketchpad is: Canson® Drawing Pad, 18 x 24 (inches) in Classic Cream (80 lb. weight paper) $13.70. Also good: Strathmore® Sketch Pads

Whatever brand you choose, pads are available in:

Once you get going: Fancy Papers of all kinds, Tracing Paper, etc.

Drawing Board: With a pad which has a very thick cardboard back, you may not need this when you are first starting to draw. However, a drawing board is a great help This can be a plain old wooden board (watch for splinters) of about half an inch depth, upon which you tape your drawing paper sheet with masking tape or special sticky-back tape used by watercolor artists (ask for it at the Art Store).

I highly recommend buying a large clipboard/easel drawing board made out of fiberboard --- it wasn't expensive (about $12) and has a large clip for my 18x24 Canson pad and a hole for my hand to carry it. I take it on "drawing walks" or on trips.

Pencils for Black and White Sketching: Soft lead pencils are best to start with, though you will want one hard lead pencil for outlines or fine details. A good medium-soft sketch pencil is 2B (noted on the side of the pencil). 6H is the hardest pencil, 6B is the softest. I use a pencil called "HB" for regular writing and music notation -- it's in the middle of the hard-soft range. Peel-off China Markers made by Sanford® are useful -- the paper around them peels off as you wear the tip down. They come in many colors, but start with Black, Brown and White.

Felt-tip pens are fun once you develop your drawing skills and have confidence. Be sure the kind you choose won't bleed through to the pages on either side of your drawing. Choose from wide to fine tip and try to find these in non-toxic formulas or ventilate your drawing area well.

Later, you can see if you like charcoal, available in pencil or "twig" form and in various thickness. Charcoal is great for drawings once you know how to handle shadows and shading. Messy 'though.

Erasers: Kneaded Rubber (Design® brand) is the very best. A 2 x 2 inch square costs $1.12. This also works in stain removal on clothes (for some stains such as light ink -- don't press too hard.) Knead it as you incorporate the pencil markings into the "clay" substance of the eraser as you go. One of these can last for YEARS. Tip: If you use a pencil with an eraser, always test the eraser first on a blank sheet of scrap paper to make sure it is clean and it works. Some cheap pencils have tough, hard erasers that don't erase and rip paper.

For Drawings in Color: Crayons are the Bargain of the Century. You still can't beat a large box of 96 colors. Be a kid again! Here’s a fun effect: Try drawing in vertical blocks of various bright colors, then re-drawing in black crayon to cover over all the colors and then use a pen tip or such to scratch out a pattern which will reveal the colors in fascinating ways. Save some of the black as "background space."

Colored Pencils: The greatest invention since the wheel. These can be very inexpensive. If you enjoy drawing with these, a worthwhile expense is to buy a good set of watercolor pencils (which you can wet for painted effects or use dry as is). One of the most successful and beloved artists in the world, Mary Engelbreit, does most of her work in colored pencils.

The very best set of Watercolor Pencils (about $25-30 and worth every penny) is:

Caran d'Ache Artist Colours " Supracolor" Soft Aquarelle (coloring pencils in a great red flat tin carrying case to protect them) 30 colors. This is heaven in a box! "Aquarelle" is the French name for "watercolor."

Guitar Oil Pastels (also known as "Cray-Pas"): These combine the soft effects you can create with "pastels" (the name for a super-soft type pencil or stick in colors, designed to be smudged or used for wispy effects) and regular waxy-type crayons. A 9 x 5 box called "E. No. 155) has 48 colors. One of my favorite art materials!

Other Tools (optional):

A good scissors, a see-through ruler, a T-square or Triangle, a pencil sharpener (I have an electric Panasonic® sharpener --- it's invaluable), colored inks and pens or even brushes if you wish (for a totally different style of drawing than you get with pencils). I believe that after you "get into" color, an essential help-tool is the "Artist's Color Wheel" (a circular cardboard visual aid) available at all art stores.

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