Sometimes we avoid things without knowing why. Or you might know why, but don’t give it a second thought. Have you ever done that with art? I have an entire drawer of art supplies I avoid because I dislike the mess it leaves behind: Graphite and Charcoals. Though I now have a way to deal with the mess of storing charcoal pieces, I still avoid them. Pencils have a similar mess issue where you put the picture away then later find the shading has smudged to other areas. I often avoid just doing pencil drawing because I wouldn’t be able to store them. Let’s concur some mess fears in this blogpost.
Welcome to my seventh blogpost! I go by Artsy Bat Brooke on all my art social medias and you can find me on Instagram at @artsy.bat.brooke and on YouTube at ArtsyBatBrooke. Through art classes and trying out many subscription boxes, I have delved into the realm of facing art fears/avoidances on a few occasions. I have completely given up on a few, but I have made it my goal over the last year and a half to tackle and learn from new mediums. The reason I have continued is because I experimented with new mediums and applied what I learned to watercolors. Sculpting may help you if you struggle visualizing in 3-D. Acrylic Markers helped me roll with certain mistakes in linework and just incorporate it. My art experience has been a journey of continuous learning.
To tackle the mess of smudging pencils, I will be using SmilingHippo Watercolors. It is important to test your paints first as if you have too opaque of a paint, the details of your drawing will be lost. Another thing to consider is how does flash or light react to the color. Does it just make it all glow or does it reflect so much light that you cannot see what is underneath the watercolors? I gathered a few of the colors I thought would be good and tested them all out on a paper with some graphite scribbled on it. Immediately, I could see that there were some colors that wouldn’t work. Once I saw the preliminary results, I took a few of them to do a second test. In the end, I chose a beautiful yellow with some glitter in it.
Watercolors can make the paper crinkle, especially if you are not using watercolor paper. To avoid this, you can tape down the paper. I was using my mix media sketchbook I use for daily paintings and drawings. If you are worried that the paper is still going to distort and it is in a sketchbook, you can tape the paper down where the tape hangs over the edge of the paper and press it down so that it is then taped to the pages behind it.
For the watercolors, make sure that you use a lot of water to activate the paints. The reason that I am suggesting more water is so that you can go over with a thinner layer of paint first then go over with more paint if you want it to be more colored. If you chose a paint with unique glitter inside that you wish to highlight, you will need less water so the binder in the watercolor makes the glitter still sticks. You need to find a balance that works for your piece. The graphite will not smudge with a thin layer. I wanted the glitter to be incorporated, so I added more paint in mine. Once the glitter in on the page, you can use your brush to move it around. I moved one of the glitters onto the flower to highlight it.
If you were ever bothered by pencil drawings smudging, now you have a tool to improve them and make them shine. I hope you enjoyed the blogpost and you are inspired to try it out.