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September 2013



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Keeping busy...and colored pencils...

Class is over for now, and I'm playing catchup.  My new husband is coming for a week's visit today, and I always try to do SOMETHING towards cleaning the house a little...

But I'm also exploring colored pencils and black paper again, interested in dramatic lighting and pushing colors...and have run into an interesting problem.

It doesn't show too badly here, but I wanted to darken or modify and define some of the shadow areas, so used black and then indigo Prismacolor.  It looked OK in person, but in the scan or a photo, the black was much darker and sort of shiny, and the indigo really showed up almost electric blue.  Not the effect I was going for--it's quite subtle in person!  Even the blue-gray fur in the shadow area by the leg on the right shows much more here than it does in reality.

Anyone familiar enough with CP to tell me if I need to use a matte spray or just learn what colors to use to avoid the screaming blues?



It's amazingly lovely, Miss Kate! Just gorgeous, those oranges and ochres and the soft,warm grays. Why don't you ask Katherine Tyrell? She's an expert on colored pencils.
Oh, good idea, thank you, sweetie! I'll wait a bit, she's got an illness in the family and isn't planning to be online that much for a bit, I think.

Funny, I've used colored pencils for years, but never noticed this particular anomaly!



Nope, I don´t have the answer to your question, and although I can see what you mean, the effect isn´t that bad here, as you say. It looks more than ok from where I´m standing. :)
What I really wanted to say is that I just love the way the wood colour is reflected on the cat´s fur - you have such an exquisite way of capturing light playing on the objects (or cats) that you draw. I am deeply impressed. Again. :)
/nina j
Thank you Nina! I love reflected light and color, so I'm always aware of watching for it...and pushing it, though I didn't mean quite this much!
Thanks for the suggestions! I did tone it down after some experiments, and also found that setting the saturation back on the scan improved the effect...
I was going to suggest that it is the scanner settings and that you could tone it down in photoshop (or similar) but I was beaten to the punch!
Yep, I knew it was mostly the scanner, but it bothered me since that's how I share my art!
Okay, I'm no Ann Kullburg (and it's been a few years since I've picked up the pencils) but it looks like you put indigo on over white? I used to do that on purpose to make that bright blue. I think I remember sepia and indigo making a rich dark, so maybe then you'd get a brown.

You could consult with the really nice and super-talented folks at the ScribbleTalk.com forums, too.
No, I didn't put the indigo over white, weird eh? Thanks for the suggestion about Scribbletalk, I'll have to check that out...



Well, I wouldn't worry about it, Kate, if in real life it doesn't look wrong. In the small scanned version you can't really tell, and in the large you can see the brighter blue, but it also almost looks like it was meant to be like that, sort of an emphasis of the shadow. So maybe you can leave it alone, or maybe there is some setting on your scanner that needs to change, or try scanning it on a friend's scanner to see if it turns out differently.
Marvelous drawing, btw!!
Cheers, Kathleen York

Re: Shadows

Hi Kathleen, and thank you...toning back the saturation on the scanned image helped a lot...


Love this!!

Problem with dark shadows or not, I just love these drawings on the black paper! This one is no exception....the drama is great here. My laptop at work subdues color so I will have to look again when I get home. I love the way the orange is reflected against Merlin. HOPE YOU HAVE A GREAT WEEK!


Re: Love this!!

Thank you, Sue! And yes, we're having a wonderful week and it's going much too quickly.


Response from Katherine

Hi! I'm just here to say thanks for the supportive message, it was much appreciated.

On the CP question, the simple fact of the matter is certain blues for some reason do really weird things when you expose them to the scanner. The blue violets seem to be the worst. I don't think I've ever had indigo blue do that to me but I've certainly experienced it with others. I'm afraid it's a 'suck it and see'. I've never had a black pencil go funny on me though.
You're welcome! Sounds like things are much less up in the air now...

And thank you for letting me know you've had odd results with the blues, too! I tried photographing it too, and it still looked a bit odd...it may have been a combination of the black pencil and the Artagain paper, which was the only black I had on hand just now.


Screaming blues

Because my boyfriend is a computer scientist and a geek I asked him, what the problem might be with the screaming blues. After looking at your image he told me the following: A digital camera as well as the scanner software in auto-adjust mode will try to compensate for the dark background and therefore push the exposure of the image. This leads to the blacks turning grayish and the saturation of the colors going way up. Your solution in both cases might be to manually adjust the brightness settings on your camera or the exposure settings of your scanner software. I hope this helps. Then the colors even on a black background should look much more natural. If you have any more questions, please do contact me.

Re: Screaming blues

Thank you! (I don't have an address for you, so I can't contact you, unfortunately, but I did tweak the image both in person and in Photoshop and it's much better now...I'll post that soon.)


Wow, this is beautiful! Just love all those subtle colors. And you really caught the delicate ears perfectly.--Sherie
Thank you, Sherie!