landscapes | Art Bits & Pieces - Yelena Shabrova's blog - Part 2
About me: Yelena Shabrova, an artist and web designer who lives and works in Silicon Valley, Ca. See more of my art at shabrova.com or visit duskowl.com for everything that has to do with graphic design and web development.
Here is my newest tiny digital canvas. I haven’t done any for a few months and completely forgot my past experience with colored pencil on this kind of surface. It is a bit slippery and does not allow to build up really dark darks unless you carefully plan for them from the beginning and use very sharp pencils all the time. Unlike with paper or traditional linen canvas it is not possible to start with lighter colors everywhere and then go darker in as many layers as necessary. Darker colors on a digital canvas start to chip off relatively quickly if you are not careful.
So with a refreshed memory, I am now going to use digital canvas with soft graphite pencils only and leave colors to linen ones. Or maybe it’s worth trying to gesso a digital canvas and see if it becomes more tolerant to dark colored pencils.
This is my latest miniature partly inspired by a very cold and snowy winter of 2011-2012 and partly made because right now here in California it’s overly warm and sunny even by local standards. In the process of bringing winter closer to me I found out that a digital canvas can take a fair amount of scraping with x-acto knife which is pretty convenient for putting snow over heavily darkened areas.
This is another piece in the “small landscapes” series that was started long time ago, survived a two year interruption, and is finally getting done. It’s always difficult to pick the pencils again when you almost don’t remember what you had in mind in the beginning. But as a nice exception to the rule, this little drawing was finished relatively easily. It was almost all about playing with colors and almost no struggling through the process.
I have so many pieces in progress that each one seems to be a never ending drawing journey. It’s good to switch gears between subjects and media all the time, but at the same time I would really love to finish at least something already. So, a something finally got finished:
Looking back at all my attempts to make colored pencils play nice with the digital canvas, I have to admit that they certainly prefer a traditional linen one. So the blank digital canvases that I still have will be used for other media. For example, a graphite pencil:
Miniature – graphite pencil on canvas, 3.5″ x 2.5″
Things learned with this one:
– only soft graphite works, harder grades scrape the priming off the canvas without leaving noticeable marks
– for blending, small sponge makeup applicators and bristle brushes work best
– common erasers are of little help when you need a highlight or to scrape off a mistake, but kneaded eraser works wonderfully (I am using a Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth eraser that comes with its own case and like it better than other brands I had before)
– an x-acto knife can be good for small bright highlights, but using it requires care because it easily gets deep into priming and scrapes it off
– areas treates with a x-acto knife are still good for blending tools, but pencil marks behave unpredictably, so better be avoided
My other canvas experiment that is yet to be finished is a mix of the black India ink and graphite. I am not sure how I like the result so far, but we’ll see.