Art Materials

My office with unfinished drawing on the slab - and reference photo beside it.

My office with unfinished drawing on the slab – and reference photo beside it.

Choosing art materials is as personal as choosing friends.  What works for me might not work for you.  However, here is a page showing you the art materials I use.  It is not a page which compares all brands of coloured pencils.  When I come across new products which I like, I add the information to the page.

image

My favourite paper is Arches Aquarelle hot-pressed watercolour paper 300 and 356 gsm. This is a wonderfully strong paper which suits coloured pencils very well.   “A Reflective Moment” is drawn on Arches Aquarelle.

"A Reflective Moment" coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle 356 gsm hot-pressed paper.

“A Reflective Moment” coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle 356 gsm hot-pressed paper.

As well as single sheets, Arches Aquarelle also comes in blocks of 20 sheets.  Below is the largest size block (18 x 24 inches).   Parkers Sydney Fine Arts Supplies Pty Ltd stocks it.  parkersartsupplies.com  They post Australia-wide.

Arches Aquarelle

“Evensong” coloured pencils used over a layer of Caran d’Ache Neopastels.

“Evensong” was drawn on a page from the Arches Aquarelle block.  I now have blocks in several sizes, purchased from Parkers Sydney Fine Arts Supplies Pty Ltd.

In 2013 I joined CPSA (Colored Pencil Society of America).  One of the main reasons I joined was to gain access to their “Lightfastness Test Result Workbook”.  CPSA has independently tested many brands of pencils to see how resistant they are to fading.  Within each brand, some pencils are very lightfast and some are extremely prone to fading – or they even change colour over time (known as fugitive).   Learn which colours are safe to use and which colours to absolutely avoid by joining CPSA and accessing their test results.  The information within the book is copyrighted so I am not allowed to share it with you.  [January 2017:  CPSA have just released their 8th version of this workbook.]   All I can do is to urge you, if you are serious about being a coloured pencil artist, to join CPSA.  http://www.cpsa.org

Only one brand of pencils has the highest lightfast rating throughout its whole colour range.  This is Luminance 6901 made by Caran d’Ache, a Swiss company.  You can happily pick out any pencil in the set and use it with impunity.   Other brands I use are Holbein Artists Pencils (not easy to get outside Japan), Derwent Drawing and Caran d’Ache Pablos.   Apart from Luminance pencils which are all lightfast, I am careful to only use other brands’ colours which are proven by CPSA (or by myself – see Holbein test below) to be light-resistant.

Caran d'Ache Luminance and Pablo coloured pencils.

Caran d’Ache Luminance and Pablo coloured pencils.

Colored Pencil Association of America hasn’t tested Holbein pencils because they are not easily purchased outside of Japan.  So I did my own lightfast test.  I only use the colours that stood up to five months of full Australian summer sunlight (in a north-facing window).

Holbein coloured pencil set – from Japan.

My Holbein lightfast test sheets. Approximately half the colours passed.  If you click on this to enlarge it you can see which colours show some fading.  On each of the three rows, the lower panels were kept inside a dark drawer while the upper panels were taped onto a sun-facing window from September until March.

I use a Faber Castell Art Eraser which is kneadable.  The sharpener I use is a plastic one by Faber Castell which I simply replace when it gets blunt.  I don’t bother with electric pencil sharpeners though many colour pencil artists wouldn’t be without theirs.  My plastic sharpener is fine for me.

Two tools I use with my pencils are 1: a pencil extender.  I use this to lengthen my pencil so that I can use it in a painterly loose way.  (See photo below to see how I am holding it.) The best pencil extender in my opinion is made by Generals.  I bought my supply on-line from Dick Blick in USA.  Generals ‘The Miser’ Pencil Extender

2: A blender stick made of oils and wax, without any pigment in.  It is made by Caran d’Ache.  The idea is that it blends layers of colour together and burnishes them.  It even provides protection against ultraviolet light.  (Derwent also make blenders and burnishers, both of which I like and use.)

Holding the pencil extender this way, one achieves a very light loose stroke.

Holding the pencil extender this way, one achieves a very light loose stroke.

This image illustrates the result of using a Derwent Burnisher pencil. Same happens when you use a Caran d'Ache Blender. You can see the enriched colour on the lower part of the wood where I have used the Burnisher.

This image illustrates the result of using a Derwent Burnisher pencil. Same happens when you use a Caran d’Ache Blender. You can see the enriched colour on the lower part of the wood where I have used the Burnisher.

Front and rear of the packet which the Caran d'Ache blender comes in.

Front and rear of the packet which the Caran d’Ache blender comes in.

Sometimes my drawings are not straight coloured pencils but also a mix of Neocolor II wax pastels and Neopastels both from Caran d’Ache.  These work beautifully in tandem with pencils.

“Stepping Out” is drawn with coloured pencils, Neopastels and Neocolor.

Caran d'Ache Neocolor II Watersoluble wax pastels and Neopastel sets.

Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Watersoluble wax pastels and Neopastel sets.

(A suggestion:  If you have to do a large area of one colour – such as the sky in “Surveillance” – it is very tedious to do with coloured pencils alone.  Before you put any pencils on, put a light layer of Neocolor I or II on the paper.   Once you have covered the area with Neocolor, you can layer over with your pencils.  This gives the pencils something to grab on to.  It saves time and creates a nice even area of a colour.)

“Surveillance”. The first layer of my blue sky is Neocolor II.

“Step by Step”(below) is drawn with a mix of coloured pencils and Caran d’Ache Neocolor II and Neopastels.

Step by Step small size

This image shows the complete range of 120 Sennelier oil pastels.

I have recently discovered Sennelier oil pastels.  These are smooth and creamy.  I used them as an undercoat in the drawing “Sideshow Alley”.  I worked coloured pencils over the top of them.  Together, pastels and pencils gave me deep rich colours.  I will be using them a lot more from now on.  You can buy boxed sets and open stock of Sennelier oil pastels within Australia either from art shops or on-line.

“Sideshow Alley”
May 2017 – drawn with Sennelier oil pastels and coloured pencils.

Here are the three sizes the pastels come in (shown next to a pencil to give you an idea). The biggest one only comes in black and white.

This image shows the undercoat of part of a drawing entirely put on with Sennelier pastels – with a brush. (Pencils will be worked over the top.)

“Once Upon a Wall”
Luminance pencils over Sennelier oil pastels.  The finished result.
380 x 540 mm. June 2017

“Entrance” is a drawing of Katsutomo which is 100% coloured pencils (no oil pastels). June 2017.

If you happen to be in Kyoto, there is a great art shop where you can buy open stock of many coloured pencil ranges, including – of course –  the Japanese pencil Holbein.  The shop is called Gwasendo Art Supplies.  The address is 5 Kawaramachi dori.  It doesn’t look like an art shop from the outside so here is a photo of it.  It is opposite “Rich Hotel”  (a good landmark).  Inside, the shop is huge and filled with wonderful things for artists!

Gwasendo Art Supplies, Kyoto

Gwasendo Art Supplies, Kyoto

Update: August 2014.   A lovely pencil range is the Derwent Drawing Pencil which comes in 24 colours.  On the lightfast scale of 1 to 8 (8 being most lightfast) every pencil in the range is an 8 except for ink blue which is a 7.  NB: anything over 6 is considered lightfast in the Derwent testing lab.  The pencils are all quite earthy in colour ie muted greys/blues/browns plus black and white.  They are so rich and thick that they cover the paper very quickly.

Derwent Drawing Pencils - tin of 24 lightfast colours

Derwent Drawing Pencils – tin of 24 lightfast colours

Update:  March 2016:  While in Sydney recently I came upon Kadmium Art + Design supplies, a very well-stocked shop which sells OPEN STOCK of all of my favourite Caran d’Ache products; Luminance, Museum Aquarelle, Neocolor 1 and 2, Supracolor Soft, Pablos, Neopastels and more.  They also sell open stock of Sennelier oil pastels.    They ship Australia-wide.  Here are their details: 80b Bay Street, BROADWAY  NSW 2007.  website Kadmium.com.au  or phone:  +61 (0)2 9212 2669

Kadmium Art + Design

Kadmium Art + Design Supplies

Here are more drawings on Arches Aquarelle hot-pressed watercolour paper.

Oh! You Pretty Things March 2016

Oh! You Pretty Things
March 2016

Winter Light Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle paper. December 2015

Winter Light
December 2015

Fantastic Voyage April 2016

Fantastic Voyage
April 2016

Websites:-

Derwent: www.pencils.co.uk – British coloured pencils

Caran d’Ache:  www.carandache.com – Swiss coloured pencils

Holbein: www.holbein-works.co.jp – Japanese coloured pencils

Sennelier:  http://www.sennelier-colors.com/en/Oil-pastels_4.html

Faber Castellhttp://www.faber-castell.com/ German coloured pencils

Arches Aquarelle paper  – Arches Aquarelle is my favourite paper for coloured pencil work

Dick Blick Art Materials  Dick Blick supply artists world-wide.

Kadmium.com.au   Kadmium Art + Design supplies in Sydney.  They sell open stock and boxed sets of Caran d’Ache products and ship Australia-wide.

Melbourne Etching Supplies  www.mes.net.au A Melbourne stockist of art papers.  They ship Australia-wide.

artsupplies.co.uk  Ken Bromley Art Stockists in the United Kingdom ship world-wide.

parkersartsupplies   Parkers Sydney Fine Arts Supplies in Sydney – A treasure-trove of a shop where I buy my Arches Aquarelle blocks, plus Sennelier and Holbein oil pastels.

 

"On the Road" January 2017

“On the Road”
January 2017

You might like to check out my post Caran d’Ache Open Stock Available in Australia  

“In Town Tonight”
April 2017 (Neocolor/Neopastel/Luminance and Holbein coloured pencils)

Thanks for looking at my Art Materials page.  If you would like to peruse my other blog posts about coloured pencils, photography and art, please take a look at the Contents of Posts Index

 

 

49 Responses to Art Materials

  1. Sabrina says:

    Thank you Julie for giving us so many details. It makes me understand your art better and how hard you work to obtain the best results 🙂

  2. Malcolm says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to see behind the process and for the trouble of writing the blog. I am very new to coloured pencils – in fact so new that I have the pencils but havent really started yet. My initial inspiration to have a go came as a result of visiting one of your exhibitions.

    best wishes

    Malcolm

    • Hi Malcolm, that’s exciting. What pencils have you bought? There is nothing as nice as a brand new unused box of pencils! If you find that you want to try the Holbeins from Japan at any stage, I can let you know how to get them in Australia. I’ve found the source!

      • Malcolm says:

        Hi Julie It was at your Kingfisher Gallery exhibition that I got inspired. Given how long ago that was you can see that inspiration takes some time to percolate through me into action. I agree about new boxes of coloured pencils, in fact I need to watch that buying them doesn’t become an end in itself. I find colour stimulating and can simply enjoy opening the box to look. However as working with coloured pencils is meant to be my retirement learning curve I am going to need to go somewhat further. Thanks for the generous offer to answer questions.

        best wishes

        Malcolm

  3. Brigitte Shaw says:

    I loved Malcolm’s comment about enjoying opening the box of new pencils just to look at. I did the same many times before I actually started a drawing. In fact I ended up leaving the box open on my table for ages and unused just so I could look at the 120 delicious colours each time I glanced that way. Now I have seriously started and can understand what you meant, Julie, when you wrote that from beginning to the finishing of the first layer can take a few weeks. It is very time-consuming work but at the same time so relaxing. Can you please detail for me how you go about tracing? I know this should be simple. Do you use velum? Do you spread a layer of 6B pencil on the back of the velum once it has been traced off the original? I have done this and wondered if there was a better way.
    Thank you,
    Brigitte from Dromana

  4. Woohoo – a question! Hi Brigitte. Regarding tracing, velum might be a better way than my way. I don’t know as I have never tried your way. I make a photocopy as I said somewhere on this blog. For the big drawings I have to make a couple (sometimes even four) photocopies of the different parts of the picture and then carefully match them up and sellotape them together – as most of my works are bigger than an A3 sheet of paper (the biggest sheet my photocopier can take).
    Once I have the photocopy, I outline the main lines and tonal differences on it with a black Faber Castell Polychromos pencil. This can be a slow process, depending on the size and complexity of what is on the photocopy. I have to be able to see the lines through my heavy Pescia paper.
    Hence I am doing all the trace lines twice – first on the photocopy – and then on the paper FROM the photocopy. I sellotape the photocopy to the back of the paper and then using a lightbox, make my tracing.
    My lightbox consists of a bench with a rectangular hole cut into the top of it – and a thick sheet of perspex covering that hole. In the space under the perspex I have a neon light.
    Does this explanation make sense?

  5. Brigitte says:

    Ah ha – the secret for your method is a lightbox. Thank you, Julie, for your clear explanation – a very good method but in the absence of a lightbox I will have to continue with my way for the time being.
    Brigitte

    • Well Brigitte, it is what I have NOW. However before I had one I used to tape the paper to a window. The sun was my light box. Standing at a horizontal surface to trace is more comfortable for me than a vertical one though.

      • Brigitte says:

        What an absolutely fabulous idea Julie. I will try that out – simply because I like trying out different ideas! (And I’m not sure I really like my method anyway.) I have noticed that my method can leave a film of lead on my pristine white paper where my right hand has been resting, which I’m not even sure completely disappears when I blow it off.
        Brigitte

  6. OK, Brigitte. You’ll need to have a strong dark line on the photocopy (or whatever you are tracing from) as the window light isn’t quite as strong as that from a neon light in a lightbox. And I think you need a reasonably bright sunny day.
    Regarding your hand resting on your drawing, have you tried putting a piece of white paper between your hand and the drawing? This is always what I do; just normal white photocopy paper, which I change when it gets a bit grubby.

  7. Brenda says:

    Hi Julie, Enjoyed reading your site and thanks for sharing your ideas, materials etc. I also have been experimenting with coloured pencils ( and graphite ). Trying watercolours also but dont seem to be able to control them very well. I really enjoy drawing botanicals and bugs etc but still a lot to learn.. I have purchased a couple of books and every one seems to have there prefered way. Do you purchase your Magnani Pescia paper locally. I also live in Perth and find materials sometimes difficult to purchase. Keep up the lovely work and look forward to seeing your next finished painting. Happy colouring Brenda

    • Hi Brenda, Thanks for the question. I buy my pescia paper through Jacksons Art Supplies in Fremantle. They have to specially get it in for me from Magnani who have an office in Melbourne. I get 100 sheets a time which costs me several hundred dollars. It is possible that they have some in stock, I don’t know because it is months since I bought my last pack of paper.
      As you are in Perth I would be happy to give you a sheet to try out – to see if you like it. I live in the South Fremantle area. If you would like to visit me, go to my website http://www.juliepodstolski.com If you go into ‘contact’ send me an email. We can arrange a meeting.
      Or if you’d rather not do that, I suggest you try phoning Jacksons or contact Magnani’s office in Melbourne via internet.

      • Brenda says:

        Hi Julie, Thank you that is very kind. I live up in the Hills but will keep in touch and next in your area will try and catch up/will also try Jacksons. Brenda

  8. Julie, Thanks for sharing this info. I will try the Holbein colour pencils too. The paper sounds really tough. Twice recently I have damaged or torn paper supports recently, through pencil pressure, so a tough stock is a useful piece of info.

    • Hi Nicholas, I don’t know if you’ll be able to get Holbein pencils in the UK shops as they don’t seem to export anywhere as far as I can see. However I have a website for you http://www.japaninabox.jp A very nice guy named Hironao Tanaka owns this company which can send you the pencils from Japan. His email is japaninabox.info@gmail.com The price will depend on the current exchange rates. He sent me the biggest box (150 pencils) to Australia; it got here very quickly and he packaged it extremely carefully so the pencils were not traumatized en route. It should be easier for you to find the paper in UK though. If you get in touch with him, say hi from me.

  9. Very happy to have found you. Have been painting for years, but always preferred drawing. Who would have thought coloured pencils could work so beautifully? Not me.

  10. Malcolm says:

    Good morning Julie, Trawling through the internet I came across the Mitsubishi range of colored pencils. Like the Holbein they are only available in Japan although they can be accessed through Amazon.com. The point that interested me however is that they, like Holbein, have, in their bigger sets, a large number of pastel colours. I am wondering whether this reflects some very Japanese preference. Do you have any thoughts on this ?

    best wishes

    Malcolm

    ps How’s the jet lag ?

  11. Hi Malcolm, I have seen the Mistubishi range in the shops in Japan. I didn’t feel tempted to buy them because I had my mind set on Holbein, having already an idea of their quality. (Besides, I’d rather buy pencils with an artist’s name than a car’s name!) Maybe the huge pastel range IS a Japanese thing. In any case, I love the pastel colours (in the Holbein set) so am happy that I own them. When I look at the colours and designs in kimono, I think to myself that Japanese REALLY know about colours and quality. My next drawing will have kimono in it (an aside).
    Ha – jet lag fine, thanks. It’s just that I’m not quite back on Perth time yet!

  12. Malcolm says:

    Hi Julie As you suggested Japan In a Box provides an excellent service. After seeing boxes of 50 Holbein pencils advertised on E Bay (a system I prefer to avoid) I contact japan in a box and asked if they could access those sets. The answer was of course ‘yes’ and they let me know as soon as they had been able to get them onto their website. I have now ordered a set. The box of 50 is within a price range I could stretch to ($US179) and includes an interesting range of colours. I have also purchased some sheets of Pescia from Melbourne.

    I must say however that after reading your blog on “Art Rage” I am wondering whether it wouldn’t be a better idea for an a beginner like me to frame the box of pencils rather than try to do anything with them. A friend did suggest at one time that I should do this with all my pencils sets as they rarely get used although are valued. Perhaps such a piece could be could “full of potential”.

    best wishes

    Malcolm

    ps. Hope the Art Rage has passed.

    • Hi Malcolm,
      Well – good old Japan-in-a-box! I’m so pleased that you have used this service. Believe me, the pencils are so beautifully packed that there is no way they will sustain damage in transit. Oh – I’m quite excited that you will be trying Holbein pencils.
      As to my ‘art hell’, thank you for asking, it passed almost straight after I had written that piece. It was something I wanted to get out of my system and writing it down helped to clear the block. The next morning (yesterday) I began a new piece. Plus, I decided that the drawing I wasn’t sure of, had worked after all.
      Judging by the replies on the blog and on facebook, so many people know this state of mind intimately. That is why these things are so good to share.
      Please don’t frame your pencils and please do use them.
      Keep me updated on the ARRIVAL and what you think of them.
      How are you going with your colour theory exercises?

  13. Malcolm says:

    HI Julie, In your last reply you asked how I was going with my colour theory exercises. Well there’s not much of an answer to that….very little (somethings, but not much). I would like to be able to say that I have been so pushed for time that it hasn’t been possible, but that would be an untruth. My wife does keep asking “are you EVER going to start?”. In part its the fact that just working my way through reading Itten and others isn’t something I have found easy, that is if I want to feel that I fully understand what is being said. It is also (to some extent true) that I have been putting time into working on an enamelled cloisonne wall plaque for my little grandy. Enamelling is a great interest of mine.

    Your art rage blog particularly interested me because has always been in the back of my mind a question about “doing art” as a “hobby”. Can it really be “art” ? Is there not some defining elements that determine whether what a person is doing is “art” or “not art”. If there are no such elements then to me the term “art” seems to have no meaning. Perhaps art is for those who have been born with a predominantly visual way of experiencing and expressing life and the rest of us should stick to those modalities we are best at. “Doin’ a what comes naturally” as Betty Hutton once suggested. How’s that for showing my age

    I hadn’t occurred to me that there could be the “blood sweat and tears” part of doing art that your blog on art rage implies. I guess I did have this romantic notion of the artist working at the easel or bench and everything just flowing from some innate special place.

    Having now written what sounds like my own “art rage” blog I will continue to “puddle” and to ask a question. The Pescia paper I have bought, is there a preferred side for working on ? I will continue to collect pencils, and am certain that things will move along (its just the pace that’s in doubt). And in any case. at my age, there is always the increasing possibility that nature will resolve the issue for me.

    best wishes

    Malcolm

    ps. I do have a question for other “would be’s” like me. I have often found it interesting when going to an exhibition or looking at the work of highly competent professional artists, jewellers, enamelllers or whoever, that some of those that I might be with have been incredibly inspired and keen “to get on with it”, I tend to feel the opposite “What’s the point ?” is a question that often comes to mind at such times. I wonder if this happens to others ?

    • Good evening Malcolm,

      Your comment has so many parts to it that I have a feeling that I’m about to write a long reply to you.

      The only easy question to answer (all the rest are difficult) is about Pescia paper having a front and a back side. The answer to that one is YES. The front side is the side WITHOUT the watermark on it. That side with the watermark also has a surface that looks like a million tiny craters if you look at it closely. Do you see what I mean? I used to clearly be able to see those craters with the naked eye. But these days my sight has deteriorated so I have to wear my reading glasses and put the piece of paper into strong light and only then can I sort out which is the front side and the back side.
      So, the side with the tiny craters and the watermark is the side NOT to use.

      OK, in truth I also find books on colour theory confusing. At least – I have to concentrate hard and even then some of it flies over my head. I didn’t read Itten’s whole book – I found the first part the most interesting and least confusing. I didn’t read every one of his ‘famous paintings’ colour analyses. I was fortunate that when I took the topic of art at high school a lot of this was drummed into me when I still had a fresh and malleable mind. So that it has become second nature to some extent. Then it was drummed in a second time at art school. Maybe – don’t try for the moon. Just do the most basic of the exercises … if you want to do any at all.

      As far as hobbies vs professionalism, may I use the analogy of horse riding. I dabbled in riding as a teenager and then for many years as an adult. I didn’t have natural talent but I got something out of doing it anyway and took immense pleasure from doing it. So could I call myself a ‘rider’ or not? Compared to someone who had never been on a horse or someone who had hardly ridden, I was certainly a rider. Compared to a serious rider, no, I was just a person who rode for a hobby. I loved it nevertheless.

      As an artist, I am aware of my limitations. Every artist has his or her own set of limitations and works within them whilst trying to extend boundaries. I don’t know any artists (and I know a few) who don’t experience the blood, sweat and tears sometimes. I’m happy to dispel your romantic notion of everything just flowing seamlessly. I think the saying is 5% talent, 95% hard work – something like that.

      Anybody can say they are an artist. I have been irked at times by people who have just picked up art materials for a short time then called themselves artists…(a very common occurrence). Conversely I question how much of an ‘artist’ I am. Sometimes I feel like an imposter and I know some other artists who have had these imposter thoughts about themselves too. Any discipline where excellence is strived for is harrowing at times…even tortuous.

      So ‘why bother?’ you ask? Heaven knows I ask myself the same question from time to time. Each one of us must come up with our own individual answers. I bother because nothing else I do gives me more satisfaction… in fact life is unbearable to me if art isn’t in it. As to horse riding, though, I decided that I could easily live without it so I entirely gave it up about 20 years ago. I still love horses and enjoy watching dressage and showjumping but I am quite content without having to ride myself.

      I chuckle at your statement about nature resolving the issue for you at your age! You have a dry sense of humour!!! (Please don’t go to the better world for a while yet!!!)

      I am glad that you enjoy enamelling. Tell your wife that MY husband has all this fabulous equipment for working with stained glass. It sits untouched year after year.

      all the best,
      Julie

  14. Malcolm says:

    Good morning Julie and a tremendous thank you for putting so much time and thought into your reply, it is truly helpful. Fortunately I can still the little craters in the paper when I look close.

    Particularly encouraging for me was your final comment about your husband and his stained glass. Perhaps procrastination is an art form in itself, in which case both he and I can take comfort in our achievements.

    It’s encouraging to know that even for artists at your level there are times of question and doubt. One thing that comes through to me very clearly both from things you say and things said by enamelling artists I know is passion. Passion for “something” about life and the world they live in and a need to express it, and to express it visually. It seems to me that underpinning this desire is an inherent ability to see and think visually (in contrast to the writer who does the same thing using words).

    Once again many thanks and best wishes

    Malcolm

    • Good morning Malcolm,

      I forgot to say last night that when I visited Claude Monet’s house and garden in Giverny last April, our guide told us that Monet had a Cezanne hanging in his bedroom (there was a copy of that painting hanging there still). The painting was facing us but our guide said that when Monet had the real one in his house, he had it facing the wall! Why? Because he was intimidated by it. He would never be able to paint like the master, Cezanne. So there you are. Artists of all levels feel doubts, limitations and intimidation by others’ art.

      Certainly, I believe what you say is true about the passion and the need to express it visually. Underlying it (for me, anyway) is a love of life. That love is what feeds the art.

      Believe me, I procrastinate too – just that in my case it is about things in my life other than drawing.

      I read recently that people who create (in whatever way) need a sense of doubt as without it they are insufferable! ie egos get too huge and ghastly. Doubt balances them.

      And now … time to draw.

      I DO enjoy our discussions.
      Julie

  15. hafandeg says:

    I do both. I’m a painter, and a novelist. The need to create setting and character are virtually the same….

  16. Malcolm says:

    Hi Julie and thanks for the additional comments. I was interested in the response from hafandeg and was wondering whether he/she would be prepared to expand a little more on the notion that the work of the painter and the novelist are virtually the same in respect to creating setting and character.

    regards

    Malcolm

  17. Malcolm says:

    Hi Julie, thought I would let you know that my Holbein pencils arrived the other day. Although it is box of 50 only, the colours are great with a number of pastels I’ve not seen in other collections. I have used my Faber Castel sharpener to put a sharper point on a few but in doing so have found one colour that must have breaks along the length of the lead.

    Hiranao apparently lived in Perth for a year some time ago and was keen to find where my suburb was, even to the point of going onto Google Earth. Seems a very pleasant chap and keen to provide good service

    Really enjoyed looking at the paintings you are putting into the auction. As much as I am amazed at all your work it is those involving lanterns that have enormous appeal to me. Its something to do with the level of realism and a sense of mystery that seems to surround these pieces. Perhaps the starkness of the light, often against a blurry background, is what does it for me ….I don’t really know, but please keep doing it.

    best wishes

    Malcolm

    • Hi Malcolm, I’m sorry about your broken lead. I hope it is only one. It must have been dropped at some stage. I find that if I drop a pencil (which unfortunately I often do) it shatters the lead.
      Thanks for your lantern feedback. I love drawing lanterns and also find them mysterious as light-giving bodies. I will keep drawing lanterns every so often as I get so much pleasure from them. I only feel that I can give up “Illuminating Dusk” because of drawing “Here Comes the Night” this year which is quite similar.
      Would you consider coming on Saturday so that we can actually meet…and talk in real life as opposed to on the blog? (Incidently you needn’t feel pressured to buy anything. There will be a big crowd and many of them won’t bid.) …though hopefully some will. If you come I can introduce you to Matthew (he who procrastinates with the stained glass).

  18. Malcolm says:

    Hi Julie Unfortunately Saturday night is not an option for me but thanks anyway. Of course I have the advantage of having a very clear recollection of you when we spoke at one of your exhibitions. Perhaps it’s better this way anyhow. You know what it can be like when you develop an image of someone you listen to on radio… and then you get to see them. It can be very disappointing and I would hate to disappoint you.

    best wishes

    Malcolm

  19. Very understandable, Malcolm. Gee – I hope I was polite when I met you!

  20. Malcolm says:

    Good morning Julie. Of course you were polite, couldn’t imagine you being anything else. You may remember me mentioning that when my Holbein pencils arrived a couple had broken leads (although at the time of last writing I think I had only found one) however I think I have fixed the problem. In a coloured pencil DVD I had seen the artist suggested that when this happened to just wrap the pencils in some paper towelling and zap them in the microwave for 10 or so seconds. Apparently the lead will soften and rebond. I did this (although for 20 seconds), let them cool, and then sharpened them no trouble. I guess it remains to be seen whether the lead has mended along the whole length of the pencil, but the signs are good.

    best wishes

    Malcolm

    • Hi Malcolm,

      Well I never! Next time I find that I have a pencil with shattered lead ie next time I drop one on my hard floor, I will most certainly try this trick with the microwave. Thanks so much for passing on this gem of information.
      All the best, Julie

  21. Nettie says:

    Hi Julie – I came across your blog when I googled: ” where can I buy caran d’ache full blender in australia” -and have enjoyed reading the discussion between you and Malcolm 🙂
    I am in Victoria – did you buy the full blender online and have you played with it yet and what do you think?…I want to try with the Caran d’ache Neocolor 11 pastels which are my favourite drawing medium – just love the density of colour that can be achieved…thanks in advance Nettie

    • Hi Nettie, I bought the blenders from Ken Bromley Art Supplies in the United Kingdom (on-line). I had bought my Luminance pencils from this art supplier in 2009. I just happened to be browsing their on-line catalogue recently when I saw these blenders so decided to give them a try. I haven’t used my blender very much (as the package only arrived a few days ago) but when I did use it, it gave added opacity and richness to the colour. I found I could layer more coloured pencil over the top of it to give rich colour. Caran d’Ache is certainly a beautiful art material – yes – including the Neocolors. It is a pity that they aren’t more readily available in Australian shops.

  22. Nettie says:

    thanks for your prompt reply Julie!
    I have found a great source of Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Aquarelle Artists’ Crayons online from http://www.artshedbrisbane.com.au
    and you can buy single ones for $2.50…joy of joys…
    happy drawing 🙂

    • Well, I just had a look at the site, Nettie. Couldn’t see the Luminance pencils though – unfortunately. That’s great that you can buy open stock (singles) of the Neocolor II. I can also get open stock of my pencils from Ken Bromley. Actually I’m going to be in London in December, so I plan to stock up big while I’m over there.

  23. Dina K. says:

    Lightfastness aside, which of the pencil sets mentioned above is your favorite for feel, blendability, and laydown? I have the Polychromos and I’ve just learned about the Holbein pencils. Thank you…

    • Thank you for asking the question, Dina. My favourite pencil is still the Holbein from Japan. While I like the Polychromos, the Holbein pencils are richer in every way including feel, blendability and laydown.

    • Hi Dina, do you mean you bought Holbein pencils? Wow, that’s amazing. Where did you buy them from? Please tell me more…..

      • Dina K. says:

        I bought the biggest set from a Japanese seller on Amazon (MK Japan). The price was just slightly less than the company you linked above, and they included a sharpener (T’Gaal Multisharpener – has a dial for different point lengths – interesting) and a small bottle of their Meltz solvent. They’re dreamy, and you’re right – SUCH a difference from what I have been using. Excellent range of color, beautiful coverage, so creamy and smooth.

      • Dina, I’m delighted. Welcome to the small ‘club’ of people outside Japan who use these dreamy creamy pencils.

  24. Martha says:

    Hi, could you PLEASE tell me which 77 Holbein colored pencils from your lightfast test that made the cut! I can’t tell which ones rocked just from the photo you posted. I would really appreciate it! I am a student and I can’t afford to join the CPSA to get the workbook they offer. I have a full set of Prismacolor artist grade colored pencils. They have ratings on them, I am just not sure how true those ratings are. Anyhow, I would like to know if you would buy the Caran d’Ache Luminace colored pencils and mix in other brands as well. Thanks so much.
    Martha

  25. nick shiroma says:

    I am a new to colored pencils although I’ve drawn in graphite all my life. I love the story you told of Monet. The first time I saw your work, I wanted to just break the my pencils in half and not even try. Now I use you as inspiration, thank you for being real.

  26. KateRichardson says:

    Hello juliepodstolski, I found your blog by chance and thought I would ask a question which make of coloured pencils do you recommend I should buy, I am a real fan of Faber-Castell Polychromos Coloured Pencils, I have the lovely tin of 120.

    • Hi Kate, thanks for your question. I recommend Luminace pencils by Caran d’Ache because these are the most lightfast pencils in the world. They would make a terrific companion to your Polychromos as they work well together. I have several brands of pencils but I use more Luminance in each drawing than anything else.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s