Category Archives: Useful Bits

Coloured Pencil Lightfastness, from Coloured Pencil Society of Canada

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

This thorough article by Manon Leclerc covers lightfastness standards, manufacturer classifications, and how to do your own tests for artist grade colored pencils.

Why do your own tests? Because sometimes it’s not clear which technical standards manufacturers use, how much their ratings differ from other brands, and depending on the type of pencils the available information may not be clear. Case in point: watercolor pencils. Often, you can’t tell if the information applies to the dry or diluted state of the pencil.

Some manufacturers like Caran d’Ache thoughtfully indicate resistance to light right on their pencils, Lyra puts it in a slip inside their pencil boxes, so if you are married to one of those brands and don’t use any others, choosing your pencils by those marks is all you have to do to insure that your work will stay vibrant for decades to come. That is, until you run into a situation where you really want to use this particular color, but its resistance to light is so low that you have to look at other manufacturers for something similar and more durable.

The next best thing a manufacturer can do after marking their pencils is to put lightfastness information into one document.

Manon did a wonderful job researching documents related to lightfastness of Derwent, Prismacolor, and seven other brands of colored pencils, gathering results in one article, and posting links for each brand.

Derwent makes charts for all their lines easy to find. The article mentiones some of them but the links changed since the article was published, so here are updated ones: Artists, Studio, Coloursoft, Drawing, Graphitint, Aquatone, Inktense, Watercolour. The full list of documents for pencils and blocks can be found here:

My dear Prismacolor only makes this information readily available for Premier Watercolor Colored Pencils, Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils and Premier Art Stix, and Premier Verithin Colored Pencils. Their web site does not offer search, and I lack time and determination to hunt down the rest of their lines. Some day. Maybe.

Referencing the charts is a little more of leg work but still convenient. These two brands are the ones I use the most, so links to their charts go here as much for my own convenience as to benefit another fellow artist.

Still, nothing beats your own testing that allows you to see real results, not some printed or online images. Manor guides you through such testing and discusses the results that can be quite surprising.

Finally, a fiber-tip pen black enough to my liking

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

I think my search for perfect travel-friendly fiber-tip pen is over. It’s been over a year since I started to look for something that could replace my trusted Rapidograph.

The dream pen that draws in pitch black is Staedtler Lumocolor permanent universal pen. The funny part is that I found it while cleaning art supplies bough at the last super sale at University Art. Somehow I never gave it a try after purchasing.

The ink is so opaque that areas of flat black look completely even, no cross-hatch effect, no distinguishable pen strokes. I am very happy.

$0.01 sale on frames and canvases at Aaron Brothers

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

Aaron Brothers is having $0.01 sale on frames. For every frame you buy for the full price you get another one for $0.01. The deal is the same on canvases (for you painting people).

Surprisingly, I didn’t receive an email about the sale, and I am on their mailing list; would miss it if a friend didn’t tell me yesterday. Got myself several black wooden Signature frames. I know what to do with two of them; the rest will stay in the closet for now.

What is even more surprising is that I found double mats for my cream watercolor paper there. No sale on the mats, but the price still beats the cost of custom matting or ordering just 2 mats online at Redimat.

Still life with Bobbie Dixon

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

Bobbie Dixon was today’s demonstrator at Campbell Artists’ Guild. It was a chamber sort of a demo – with a table easel, and everybody sitting close to it to see what Bobby was doing. She showed how to transfer a small photo to a masonite (I think) of a bigger size first. Since the same can be done with a small sketch and a bigger final image, I paid attention. My usual method of enlarging by laying a grid over the sketch and another grid over the bigger tracing paper regularly leads to a situation where I loose focus going from one square to another and draw a wrong part in a wrong place.

Bobby seems to have a solution for that: she folds the photo into halves twice horizontally, then twice vertically, then folds it again so that you only see one square at a time. I am going to try it with the next drawing. If you see only one square, there is less chance to get distracted from what is in front of you, right?

The painting turn out great – raw, unfinished, still breathing, yet with all main components already in place. And Bobby graciously raffled it for CAG members.