Colored pencils on top of oil layers chipping problem

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  1. #1
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    Colored pencils on top of oil layers chipping problem

    I was wondering if there is a way to add finishing detail on top of dried oil paint with colored pencils. The main problem is that the pencils remove paint and under layers with the sharp point. Especially dried thin glazed layers.They get chipped easily. I tried to seal the paint with retouch varnish, but the varnish is to slick and has no tooth when I try to work on top of it. Any suggestions or techniques that you might know of that can allow me to work in the Struzan-esqe way except in oils without causing chipping?

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  3. #2
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    photoshop




    or switch to acrylics and watercolours

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    Maybe try oil pastels or an oilbar/oil paintstick? Conceivably, one could sharpen them to a point, so you'd get something similar to the colored pencil, but with a linseed oil binder and without the sharp hardness of the pencil? If you want to stick with the pencil, maybe try another manufacturer. I've found that different brands of colored pencils can vary wildly in their hardness/softness. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm unsure if this has more to do with the pigment used or the brand itself...

    Last edited by jpacer; November 25th, 2009 at 07:17 PM.
    "Contrary to the belief of the layman, the essential of art is not to imitate nature, but under the guise of imitation to stir up excitement with pure plastic elements: measurements, directions, ornaments, lights, values, colors, substances, divided and organized according to the injunctions of natural laws. While so occupied, the artist never ceases to be subservient to nature, but instead of imitating the incidents in a paltry way, he imitates the laws."-Andre Lhote

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    hmmmmm oil pastel. That seems interesting. Is Sennelier the brand to go with?

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    Just use paint.


    Tristan Elwell
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    andymania, I don't use oil pastels enough to be able to recommend a brand, but I do know that different brands of both oil and soft pastels can vary quite a bit (just like anything else, right?). If you have a decent art supply store near where you live, you can usually try them out in the store and find one that has the feel/consistency you like. Maybe even bring in an old, dry painting and try them out on that so you can see how the oil painting surface responds to being drawn on with them...

    "Contrary to the belief of the layman, the essential of art is not to imitate nature, but under the guise of imitation to stir up excitement with pure plastic elements: measurements, directions, ornaments, lights, values, colors, substances, divided and organized according to the injunctions of natural laws. While so occupied, the artist never ceases to be subservient to nature, but instead of imitating the incidents in a paltry way, he imitates the laws."-Andre Lhote

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    If you're trying to get sharp thin details from the pencils, then I would not recommend pastels or oilsticks. They'd be too bulky. Egg or casein emulsions mixed with some oil paint can make rather thin lines without being lean. Oil mediums like safflower can also help make the paint a bit easier to draw thin lines with also. Some paints are made with safflower, walnut, or poppy. I'm not a Liquin user, but you might investigate that also.

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    I have a professor that recommended using clear gesso (that stuff has an awesome tooth to it!) on top of a dried oil painting if you wanted to go on top with pencil. But keep in mind every other professor I've had said doing that would make the oil paint underneath crack, peel, the gesso layer peel and all sorts of bad stuff. I have tried it and it has worked so far but they're new paintings. Long term there may be problems so it might not be worth the risk for you.

    Probably best to listen to Elwell and just use paint.

    "This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy." -Douglas Adams

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    Nope. Just isn't really a way to use color pencils over oils. Oils don't really play well with any other mediums. Sounds like you're trying to emulate Struzan's style...try to find out what specific mediums and techniques he uses and do the same.

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    Thanks guys for the responses. I was also thinking about the transparent gesso from liquitex

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    I actually studied with Thomas Blackshear and took a couple of workshops where he taught this technique, which was all the rage in illustration for awhile. Blackshear was a master at this technique and quite a few people were using it at the time Kazuhiko Sano, Drew Struzan, David Grove,Bernie Fuchs, Rchard Amsel and Michael Dudash.
    Anyway the secret is to lightly spray kamar varnish over the top, just enough to seal the oil or acrylic wash so you can use the pencils; too much and it is too slick, not enough and the pencil picks up the wash and it ruins it. get some cheap canvas boards and practice some washes and then applications of Kamar and pencil till you get the hang of it.

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    Andy,
    Seriously, just use paint. The technique that dpaint describes uses oils (in the rare cases when they're used instead of acrylics) in very thin washes, so that you're not getting an appreciable paint layer, which is then "fixed" by the varnish layer. MyOrangeHat's suggestion (actually her instructor's suggestion, to be fair) is a terrible idea for any work were any sort of permanence is a consideration. Your time would be much better spent learning to get the paint to do what you want it to do, rather than spending the time and effort for what in the end can only be a less satisfactory solution.


    Tristan Elwell
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  16. #13
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    I was going to post some Durers and Holbeins, but thought more contemporary examples might be better:
    http://www.braldtbraldsstudio.com/paintings.html
    http://www.obrienillustration.com/stage1/ships.html
    http://www.dmbowers.com/index.html
    If those guys can get that degree of finish and fine detail using oils, there's no reason you can't.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Like everyone said, it's really not a good idea, nor is it going to give you great results.

    However...
    If you are set on the idea, I recommend using an aerosol varnish.
    Spraying will add more tooth to the surface than brushing would.
    Just use it in a very light misting manner, do not apply so much that it can settle.

    Furthermore, search for a softer brand of colored pencil.
    Ideally, you shouldn't have to press very hard to make a mark.
    Some brands are softer than others.

    When you're done, I would recommend then sealing the pencil with another coat of varnish.
    You will essential 'trap' the wax pigment between two layers of varnish, greatly increasing the painting's longevity.

    But again, even though it can be done (and I've seen a few people do it well), it seems counter-productive.
    A layer of colored pencil is really going to kill the luminosity that you get from oils.

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    Again, thanks guys for the feedback. Elwell, you're right. Its just that I always seem to ruin a painting everytime I try to go in with opaque colors over nice transparent thin layers. I just can't seem to unite opaque paint with thin transparent modelling underneath. DS thanks as well

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    You should be doing it the other way around... thin glazes over opaque paint.
    If you need to add more opacity later, lay a fresh glaze and then work your opaques into it while it's wet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    MyOrangeHat's suggestion (actually her instructor's suggestion, to be fair) is a terrible idea for any work were any sort of permanence is a consideration.
    Noted. haha

    I have a question about permanence, how quickly would you develop peeling problems or cracking or other issues? Are the issues the same if the paint used is very very thin? I just ask because that one instructor swore up and down that his paintings were fine and they are many years old. But he did paint very thinly. Does that have anything to do with it? Or has he just not waited long enough to see his paintings start peeling off the canvas?

    "This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy." -Douglas Adams

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    DS,

    Yes, my first layer was opaque with just dead local colors with light values. On top of that I did glazes for the hue/value shifts and modelling while using a kneaded eraser to lift any glaze if I need more of the underlayer to show through. Now that the glazing is done, I need to go back and tweek some lights with the opaque paint. My issue as I said before is that the scumbled areas of opaque paint blended into the halftones and dark transparent layers look really crappy. Unlike Bougereau, who's thick lights blend nicely into the transparent glazes nicely. But, I never tried working opaque paint into a wet glaze. I always would work wet into bone dry. Maybe this is the key. I will try it DS.

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    Yeah, scumbling a light color will result in a really dead, chalky look.
    Definitely lay down a glaze first, and try to keep the edges of the glaze a little more saturated.
    That way, when the opacity thins out at the edges, the extra saturation keeps it from looking chalky.

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  24. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by andymania View Post
    But, I never tried working opaque paint into a wet glaze. I always would work wet into bone dry. Maybe this is the key. I will try it DS.
    In the 19th century this was called "painting into the soup," and it's one of the keys to doing high-finish work. I almost never paint onto a dry surface, whether that means a unifying glaze/scumble or simply a thin, lubricating coat of medium.


    Tristan Elwell
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