Hello, I have a question for you all. When drawing with colored pencils how do you do your backgrounds? Do you spend hours coloring it in with colored pencils or do you use other medium for the background? Maybe like pastels, acrylics,  or markers??? Help needed for backgrounds

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I agree with Pris. Personally, I like applying the pencil first before activating it with water. Since these pencils can have very intense colour, I find that I can control the value more by starting with a light application first. If the paper is dry then you can add another layer if required.

One thing you need to be careful with: watercolour paper is not the best for use with pencils even aquarelles since they damage the surface of the paper when you use them dry. Very soft pencils gently applied can work (I have done it), but it can be a pain when you need to apply more than one layer.

The best is a heavier paper because with pencil you don't need a lot of water to activate the pigments so it does work well.

I don't know if the link will work, but here is a drawing I did on watercolour paper with soft watercolour pencils -https://theartcolony.ning.com/photo/tree-in-forest?context=user

Pris Hardy said:

It does help to have a heavier paper that can handle the water, but if your work is taped down before you brush the water on and then allowed to dry, it will help to prevent, or at least minimize, the buckling of the paper.  Watercolor pencils may be used dry and then add the water with  a brush or spray bottle, wet the paper before applying the watercolor pencils or dip the watercolor pencils into the water before applying to the paper.  Each method produces different results.


Ms. Karen Klinger said:

do you need water color paper for water color pencils?

Jamie Jonas said:

Hi, Karen--

I agree that backgrounds can be very problematic.  In my own work I've developed a two-fold solution:  Either avoid filling in the background completely, by sketching partial details and leaving the rest to the imagination, or, if I want to fill it completely, by using Prismacolor pencil and then a blender "marker" to smooth it together.  Prismacolor makes those as well.  Another option is to use the pencil first, then atop that apply a marker that's very close to the shade of the pencil's color.  That creates a very solidly filled background, if that's what you're after.

Yet another option might be a watercolor wash, if you have the type of paper that will support that paint.

Just a couple of my examples for you Karen :

This one is Prismacolor marker underpainting with colored pencils over the top. https://theartcolony.ning.com/photo/c-whitworth-sm-final-0914?conte...

And this rose is watercolor underpainting with colored pencils over the top of that. https://theartcolony.ning.com/photo/pattie-s-rose-sm?context=user

And watercolor pencils on a thinner paper with regular colored pencils over the top, NOTE, I did not happen to tape my paper down and you can see the edges are buckled. This was for a book, so a bit different style. https://theartcolony.ning.com/photo/love-can-be-magic-1?context=user

Hope that helps you a bit.




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