Thursday, March 02, 2006

Coloured Pencils: Using Zest-It solvent

My great friend and fellow artist Kathy Ellis has produced a step by step lesson on how to use solvent - specifically Zest-it - with coloured pencils. It's just been published in the new March edition of Ann Kullberg's e-zine "From My Perspective" which can be accessed on subscription via Ann's website - see below.

Solvent basically makes getting good coloured pencil coverage on paper much quicker and easier than the endless layering technique which a lot of people do with coloured pencils. Why spend hours and hours doing 20 layers to get a nice solid colour when you can do a few and then use solvent to spread the wax or oil based pencils around the page in much the same way as watercolour. Or so the reasoning goes.

On the subject of layering - I'm just not that methodical and I've personally never worked out how many layers I do as I don't work in a section by section way. I work all over at the same time and pick up and put down pencils as I go............

Anyway, knowing about the impact of solvent and knowing how to do this are, of course, two completely different things. Kathy has been using Zest-It as a solvent for some time now but this is the first time I've seen exactly what she does - with pictures for all the different stages. The great advantage of Zest-It is that it is a natural citrus based solvent which is completely non-toxic. And the smell of oranges is great too! I have my bottle of Zest-It at the ready - and I'm ready to go!

A link to Ann's Kullberg's website which provides the access to her e-zine is now located in the coloured pencil resources section of side column. Besides the e-zine it also provides great advice and other resources for those interested in drawing and painting using coloured pencil. It also includes galleries of work done by artists using coloured pencils.

The Zest-it site also provides a link to the article which Ann Swan did for the UKCPS - in which she also explains how she uses Zest-It for her very precise and beautiful botanical drawings. I've also added a link into Ann Swan's website in the artists section of the side column.

You can see Kathy's work at - she does absolutely amazing dog portrait paintings as well as simply stunning still life paintings with coloured pencil. One to watch in more than ways than one - especially if you live in New England!

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