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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Hi Karen,

I like to use pastels, and then use rubbing alcohol to blend. It's a lot faster to fill in the background, without destroying the tooth of your paper.

Berni

background pencils

no background

yeah, ive never worked with alcohol but maybe i should check it out..   Ill have to check out your works as well. thanks for responding.

Bernadette Buyse said:

Hi Karen,

I like to use pastels, and then use rubbing alcohol to blend. It's a lot faster to fill in the background, without destroying the tooth of your paper.

Berni

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.

Hi Karen,

I have done backgrounds with coloured pencil, but only when the background is only a small part of the drawing. For bigger areas aquarelle pencils work well too, and I have also used pastels. I spray the pastel area to protect it (taking care to cover the main drawing). Since you can always add more pastel later if you want to adjust the value, it is also something to consider.

Hi Karen,

As tedious as it can be when using colored pencils, I generally use colored pencils for my backgrounds, but I also know of many artists who use pan pastels, markers, watercolor, watercolor pencils or even oil pastels as an under-layer.

I would recommend that you avoid using a marker over the top of the pencil layers because the wax binder in the pencils can cause the marker to stop working. It would be better to use the markers first and then top it with the colored pencils. 

There are colorless blenders in pencil form and marker form or you could use a variety of other items such as rubbing alcohol, odorless mineral spirits or Gamsol.  These last items dissolve the wax binder and allows the pigment to sink down into the tooth of the paper creating a paint effect that once dry, you can add more layers of colored pencil over the top.

Enjoy your colored pencils!

Pris

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.

I have never used water color pencils but is an interesting idea. How do they work? Do you dip them in water? And do you need to use water color paper for them?



Lizette de Vries-Venter said:

Hi Karen,

I have done backgrounds with coloured pencil, but only when the background is only a small part of the drawing. For bigger areas aquarelle pencils work well too, and I have also used pastels. I spray the pastel area to protect it (taking care to cover the main drawing). Since you can always add more pastel later if you want to adjust the value, it is also something to consider.

All great ideas thanks

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.

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.

Pris

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.

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