The Art of Pencil Crayon Painting 4

Pencil Crayon Painting

No, you don’t just use a black pencil crayon. Oh wait! Actually you do, but not alone. Bear with me.

Black is a very flat colour and if you use a plain black crayon or as one artist proposed in a book (using India ink), you will get stunningly limp, flat and uninteresting black areas in your picture that hurt the eyes.

I like black, dark backgrounds that make the central figures in the picture come forward into the light. Also called a chiaroscuro technique. When creating a dark background, you can also add vibrancy to the figures by imbedding complementary colours at the edges. If you have a yellow flower petal against the background, you will have a more vibrant yellow if you introduce indigo or dark violet into the background.

So, in the areas that I have planned to make background, I lay a fairly even shading of black, that is a dark grey. In a tonal range it would be about halfway between black and white. Then I take another dark colour (violet, indigo, browns, reds, greens or whatever) and lay in lots of colour. This will blend the underlying black and add rich colours to make the black more vibrant. If you do not make all parts of the black under layer dark, you may have areas that show the dark greens, reds or blues you have added. This is where the complementary colours come in and make the eye feel pleasantly excited. As this technique involves laying down intense layers of colour, you will get a waxy bloom (especially with Prismacolor), but you can gently polish this away with a soft cloth or Q-tip if the area is small or near a lighter colour edge. The bloom should not re-occur.

You can also use a colourless burnisher to mix the blacks if they seem to need more blending.

Black backgrounds made in this way, have a transparency to them that makes it seem as if you are looking into deep shadows or dark waters. There may seem to be objects that are just out of sight, hidden in the depths of the picture.