Thursday, August 03, 2006

Colored Pencils for Cloth Doll Faces

Have you ever wondered which colored pencils to use for your cloth doll faces?

Living overseas, I don't have easy access to specific brands of art materials commonly used in the States. I know I've been confused about this on several occasions. Colored pencils is definitely "one of those things."

Usually when I tell art shop keepers that I'm a doll artist and I need colored pencils for fabric dolls, they don't know what I'm talking about! The brands that I hear a lot about in America (Prismacolor and Derwent) aren't available here in Israel. We've got Swiss, German, and other European brands. They are probably all comparable, but let's face it- they're still all different! I've had the opportunity to do a lot of trial-and-error experimenting, which put me on a learning curve.

In Israel, I use a brand called LYRA Aquarelle Artist Pencils by Rembrandt. These pencils don't color on paper, but they are smooth as silk when coloring on a wet palette (like a cloth doll face). These are watercolor pencils. They blend beautifully, and have been my favorite so far.

I've found another brand called Koh-I-Noor. These are wax-based pencils. They are much harder than the Lyra pencils, but they don't seem to blend as well.
Something has been telling me, I should try expanding my colored pencil horizons.

Recently, I heard Cody Goodin comment about colored pencils (the ones available in the US) and what he said made a lot of sense to me. He gave me permission to quote him, and this is what he says:

"There are three main differences that you can find between the various brands:

1. Color palette
2. Softness
3. Lightfastness.

This refers to standard wax based pencils, not watercolor.

Prismacolor is considered to be a relatively soft pencil that is easy to blend. They have one of the most extensive color palettes available. They are actually introducing 12 new colors again this year which will bring the total to 132. They offer 24 lightfast colors that are great for art that needs to be very permanent. Not all colored pencils are, by the way.

Derwent pencils come in three basic types. The artist pencils which are like the prismacolor ones in softness are called Studio version. These are slightly harder than the the watercolor ones. Derwent's color palette tends to be more traditional like a painters palette of colors. They are not all lightfast, so they will fade eventually.

There are at least ten more other brands and types out there. My advise is to go to your favorite art store and take some fabric or good paper scraps with you and test them out for yourself."

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for explaining the differences. I actually went to college for art and while Prisma colors were on our supply list, they never explained WHY. (Im one of those people who NEED the WHY. : ) You made things snap into place for me. :)


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