Although usually pigeon-holed as a kid’s toys I thought it would be fun to include these tools in my Creative Plan. I have played around with them on occasion in the past but never seriously.
These were not so easy to find however. When you’re not interested in them they’re everywhere, but the first minute you are, not for love or money can they be found.
The ones I did end up finding were cheap ones from Daiso – a Japanese all-rounder budget chain store. Then I tracked down some Kohl-i-noor ones at Eckersley’s art store which were colour-themed – I bought a fluro and tropical one.
However, in the end I used the Daiso ones because the pencil pigment was much smoother and flowing on paper and less scratchy. The Kohl ones were also really harder on my hands due to their wider body.
The first exercise was to trial them out like any normal drawing pencil, mixing up techniques as well as surfaces. All these drawings were done with the Daiso pencils and all images were sourced from shutterstock.com.
Canson drawing paper, normal drawing style
The first drawing I usually do for each project seems to also be the “clunkiest” as I’m still familiarising myself with the medium. Drawing the ceramic pot felt a bit uncomfortable as I was trying to control the colours to create what I wanted.
Filling in the cactus was much better and felt better. Particulary the contrast between the duller cactus body and the sharp prickles. Considering I treated it like a normal drawing pencil this medium really gave my picture some depth and excitement to it.
Grid paper, expressive style
The only issue I’ve found so far with this pencil is not being able to choose what colour comes next and where it falls. What this means its harder to create shadows and highlights, for instance yellow or orange might appear when you want a darker hue.
The other drawback was I kept wanting to colour in more simply because it looked so cool. In this particular drawing it would have been better to let more of the paper come through especially in the flowers but I couldn’t stop myself!
Canson mein-tint paper, realistic style
This paper was probably not ideal for this medium…though that could be a subjective opinion. It was really hard to work with in attempting to create detail or sharp definition. The pencil, however, took to it really well and always felt really soft developing up all the layers.
Strathmore Tone Tan paper, cross-hatching
The colours really popped on this paper, a lot more than I expected and the two mediums really complemented each other.
As it was a muted background more elbow grease was put into it but I’m really happy with the results.
Cereal box cardboard, solid colouring
Again another example of a light brown surface working really well with this medium, though I did throw some white Inktense pencil in as well.
At the end of my first day I was really happy with my output and was very taken by this pencil. Its bizarre to believe that such a simple tool can turn a straightforward drawing into something quite exciting and dramatic. Its such a beautiful medium.
After being impressed with the oscillating-like nature of the multi-colour pencil I thought it only fair to see if I could use it to narrate the character or qualities specific to a subject.
Realistic drawing is not my go to style – it can be unforgiving if you make a mistake or if you shade too dark too soon it could create all sorts of headaches later.
My natural heavy-handed nature had to be kept in check when creating the delicate white petals. It was doubly difficult because as mentioned before I liked seeing all the colours come out and wanted to keep drawing despite my picture not necessarily needing more work.
For the most part I tried not to dictate where the colours would fall, but ocaisonally had to turn the pencil to get a darker hue for the shadows. Ultimately it was too hard to always direct the colour choices around, so I just let it do its thing.
I didn’t really get the waxy surface of the leaves correct but that’s more to do with my lack of skill at realism than the pencil.
This was a bit hit and miss with me. The clamp I was drawing belonged to my dad and was really rusty but my drawing makes it look shiny and new. Though it did capture the heavy, bulky weight of it.
Here we have two tactile surfaces – the stiff bristles and the wooden handle, requiring different treatments. It turned out to be the best of the three. The bristles were a lot of fun to draw though I still wanted to make sure it wasn’t just expressive linework and that it still had the structure of the brush.
This medium keeps making me want to go all tonal and figurative so it was time to go linear. Below is a mix of some drawings done at home and out on location over several days.
I started it as a continuous line drawing, although I did stop several times to sharpen my pencil. This is always a good way to start any big drawing session as it helps loosen up your arm and mind, you know, shake out all the heebie-jeebies. And for some that heebie-jeebie could be a blank page.
This type of drawing comes easier to me than most so it was important to find a subject matter that would be a little more challenging. All the wonderful curvy, curly shapes of an old-fashion telephone was a perfect compliment to the playful multicolour pencil.
This one had to be really expressive, not just to match the energy of the lion’s roar but I really wanted to go the complete opposite of everything else I’ve been doing so far.
The interesting thing about this pencil is because I couldn’t control what colour comes out next, particularly when drawing so fast, it places colours in areas I would never have consciously chosen. For instance, the yellow-green across the lion’s face is unusual but exciting.
With this drawing I used the side of the pencil, which is what a lot of people do to quickly shade in large areas. This time however it was used purely as a drawing technique.
It didn’t turn out too badly, the one setback was because I was using the side I was effectively only accessing one of the seven colours, which meant I had to keep turning it all the time so it didn’t become a two colour drawing. That’s why the head is a completely different colour to the body.
On a day out with friends at the Sydney Botanic Gardens, I focussed on one of my favourite trees, the Moreton Bay Figtree. I keep coming back to this subject whenever I can, possibly because I never feel satisfied that I’ve captured its physical attributes as well as I can. Maybe its my white whale.
The first one of the day was again a bit stiff and thus a warm-up drawing. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, only my pencil work is a little too tight for what I had in mind. The tree was also too far from where I was seated to see it well enough.
Later I found a tree where I could sit much closer to.
The multicolour pencil worked quite well, yet it was a lot of work to create tonal contrast and had to occaisonally rely on the purple section of the pencil to develop the shadows.
Wrapping up at the end of the day, I did a quickie using a continuous line style, and combining it with the blind contour technique they create a free moving uninhibited picture. This is what I was actually aiming for at the beginning of the day but the complexity of the fig trees just got to me and I forgot my original intent.
These pencils are great for this type of drawing, its lively and playful with lots of character.
On a seperate day I took them to the museum with no agenda other than just to draw with them. The results were great and using the tan paper was really complimentary.
In the back of my mind I felt that these pencils would be great for lettering. This was a really quick exercise I did on the fly. I did these up in about an hour, making up the letters as I went. Ideally this was meant to have been a better planned exploration but felt this entire project was dragging out too long.
They look really good, apologies for the terrible photos –they’re a bit blue, but again the character of this medium gives the lettering a lot of life and magic.
The only downside is you can’t go back over areas to clean up or add some detail as you end up muddying the first layer of colour, unless you’re really good and line up the pencil with the base colour.
The Creative Plan – Inktense Pencil Review