On days when I don’t quite feel like drawing, it’s nice to be able to sit back and contemplate the times when I do.
For a long time I had been yearning to work with color, to get out of a black-and-white rut I felt stuck in. There is certainly a place for black and white in the world of art, but I was feeling held back in projects that I knew could be vibrant and stunning in color. I’m still new to mixing color into realistic hues, and experimenting mainly with colored pencils so far, but it really feels like a whole new world has opened up for me. Also, colored pencil is a lot less messy than charcoal. (Side note: I thought that I could get away with not spraying my drawings anymore, but it turns out that I still have to worry about wax bloom.)
We see colors all day every day, and where I once was focused on light and dark and shadows and contours, now I am seeing differently. I look for colors and hues, even in white objects and seemingly black shadows. But all the work I did with black and white, besides solidifying my drawing skills, ultimately set up a foundation for achieving accurate values in color—the lights, the darks, and the in-between. Do you know how many different shades of gray there are? There are 9 in my new set of colored pencils alone!
Now that I have started to explore color, it seems almost impossible to go back. I will probably return to black and white from time to time, when I have an idea that it is suited for, or when I long for the comfortable feel of smudging charcoal around with my fingers. But for now, I have fallen in love with colored pencils and what they can do, and are doing, for my art.
Bleeding Hearts, colored pencil on mixed media paper, 2017 (11×14), my first drawing in colored pencil