This medium is an enigma. With all the exercises I’ve undertaken you would assume I’ve developed an understanding about how it works, yet it is a complete mystery. When I think I have it sussed it collapses on me, when I give it no prospect it comes up trumps. It does my head in. I’ve not gotten any definitive answers or results to my exercises only more questions.
To give myself clarity and whether to include Liquid Pencils as part of my usual art-making tool kit I had to break it down into the pros and cons. For anyone else reading this wanting a straight-to-the-point review hopefully this will help.
Intially I found them quite underwhelming but they began to grow on me, finding the muted “industrial” like colours quite unique. Though labelling them as “Red” “Blue” or “Yellow” are glaring misnomers.
This was probaby the most exciting aspect for me. I loved the residual layer left behind when removing the rewettable paint with water. It has a lovely fine grainy texture that would work well as a base. I plan on scanning a few in to use in Photoshop at a later date.
I enjoyed the gutsy brushstrokes that the permanent paints created when applied dry. It has potential for some fun. I can see it working well for fashion illustrations, though you would have to work big.
…are definitely permanent, they dont even smudge like a pencil drawing would. The downside is they dry like acrylic paint and can stick to your palette if not washed immediately after use.
The rewettables felt just like watercolours but without the tonal range you would get from the latter as well as the ability to blend two colours together. They also had the same finish as watercolours which begs the question why would I choose this as an alternative to the aforementioned?
I was happy that you could work over it with other mediums, but it wasn’t consistent across the entire range. So if you’re planning on using charcoal or pencil over it, do a test run beforehand.
Paints and inks usually have a tendency to dry up over time or even seperate. My set was a mix of both and although a friend pointed out that it could’ve been an old set, another friend had some older than mine and they were fine! So I’m at a lost as to why they were like that.
However, before being informed of their unusual state it didn’t really bother me, I took it as being it’s nature and worked with that, but it obviously influenced some outcomes.
Funnily enough I preferred the degraded permanent paints over the rewettables because at least they felt and looked different from any other kind of paint I’m familiar with! Though if I bought another set in the future I may not get the same texture…
From what I can gather, Liquid Pencil is supposed to have a pencil-like finish similar to a drawing with the main difference that it’s applied as paint with a brush for instance. I’m unconvinced of the graphite pencil finish that it’s suppose to have. You can see from all of my work there’s nothing that suggests graphite pencil. The only graphite characteristic was a shiny residual surface which I wasn’t particularly fond of.
At the end of the day…
Liquid Pencils have some unique qualities that I like, that being the colours and texture. Unfortunately those two components aren’t enough for me to view it as a stand alone medium. It’s not complete. They’re also too inconsistent to rely on them as a stand alone medium.
They could definitely add contrast when used with another medium like watercolour. I can see their potential as an expressive medium and if I were to use it again, and I will, despite what I’ve learnt I would still have to make test samples before attempting the main piece so I know what to expect.
I should also conclude that others have used it successfully in their own unique way. Anna Warren has used it with other mediums in some remarkable work she calls blot drawing on yupo – which is another material I will add to the list to try out.
Maybe the best thing to do is not be led by the name of the product and just treat them as specialised paints with certain characteristics. Otherwise it creates far too great an expectation.
The Creative Plan – Day 1 Colour Pencil
The Creative Plan – Day 5 Liquid Pencil