I have used this product for many years to help seal my graphite and coloured pencil drawings as well as my pastel portraits too. I have tried some other fixatives, but I personally like this one due to the fact that it also includes a UV filter, which offers extra protection. Some fixative nozzles can become blocked which is when spitting happens and this can leave marks on your drawing, particularly noticeable if you use it for your pastel paintings. I have never had that problem with the Loxley one.
USING IT ON MY OWN DRAWINGS
When working on my coloured pencil portraits, I sometimes apply a fixative between the layers which helps to extend the working surface and minimise saturation if I have applied a large amount of layers to a particular piece. As the fixative secures previous layers, ensure you have finished blending as you may not be able to do this after sealing it with fixative. In the video above, you can see the Loxley fixative appear in the video showing you where I apply a spray of fixative. There are around 8 or 9 layers on this area alone and as I need to apply highlights to the dark fur, the fixative allows me to do this without muddying the colours. I can then continue with more layers. Once the portrait is complete, I treat it with two layers over the whole of the portrait to minimise smudging and to offer extra protection to the framed portrait, particularly as many people do not choose a UV or museum glass when framing.
USING IT ON PASTEL ART
If you work with pastels, you may wonder if you should use a fixative on your drawings. Take a look at the comparison photos below and see what may happen if you do. The one on the left is before applying fixative and the one on the right is after. See how the fixative has darkened the colours, creating a more translucent finish. The fixative has dampened the pastel application, causing the darkening of the pastels. This may depend on the pastels you use though as higher quality pastels may not react in the same way as cheaper brand ones due to their being more pigment in them. Many papers, particularly textured ones, do not require a fixative as they hold the pastel well with minimal pastel drop. At the end of the day, the final decision is yours alone.
DIRECTIONS FOR USE:
When spraying, hold the can about 12" away from your upright drawing and spray evenly from top to bottom. It has also been suggested to me that you can turn your drawing 45 degrees and respray, so you are applying a balanced amount over the whole of your drawing. Spray too close and you may create speckling from the aerosol.
WHAT ABOUT USING HAIRSPRAY AS A CHEAP ALTERNATIVE TO FIXATIVE?
Never use hairspray as a fixative. Manufacturers of hairspray make this product for use on hair, not artwork. As hairspray is not acid-free, should you spray it over your artwork, it could cause it to yellow over time. The acid in the hairspray can cause discolouration of the pigment and may also make the paper brittle too. If you have ever used hairspray, you'll note that some can leave a tacky residue behind, not good for your work. It really is better to buy a fixative made for art, which will help protect your work properly for many years.
If you wish to see the final portrait of the Boxer dog being created in the video above, click this link
As a coloured pencil artist that likes to use tonal papers, I was recommended the Bockingford tinted paper over on Twitter the other day by Ken Bromley Art, the online art store. It was such a good price that I thought I would try it out and share my findings with you.
This paper is generally used for watercolour art but can be used with pencils, pastels and acrylics too. This article covers coloured pencils on the paper.
Only available in sheets 300gsm - Size 76cm x 56cm (30" x 22") Acid free and Archival
Suitable for: Watercolour, Acrylic, Gouache, Pastel, Pen & Ink, Pencil and Charcoal
The paper is the NOT surface, which has a slight texture, which offers both positives and negatives. A paper with a tooth grabs the pigment better, but it means the tooth can always been seen, so for those who prefer a smooth finish, such as skin tones, this might not make the paper suitable.
LAYERING & BLENDING
The first thing I noticed was how well the paper grabs the pigment. I used Caran d'Ache Luminance and Derwent drawing for the portrait below and hardly needed to touch the paper for excellent colour transfer. When it came to blending, this is one paper where you can blend exceptionally well with little effort. I first applied the colours which made up the skin tones and used the Derwent Drawing white to blend. Big mistake! The pigment grabs too well (as already mentioned) so the Chinese white saturated previous colour tones due to it being so opaque. I had never had this issue before with any pencil range, usually it becomes harder to layer the more colours you add, but this paper seems to accept the layers much easier. I erased the white pencil (which was easy to do) and used a different tone to blend.
This paper accepts numerous layers, allowing you to apply both soft pencils for base layers and backgrounds, and hard pencils for the fine details. There is usually a level of saturation, where the pigment starts to slip off the paper, but this paper allows for extensive layering and with ease. I haven't used a paper that allows many layers with continuing ease. Usually it becomes harder to layer the more colours you add, but this paper allows for numerous layers because heavier applications are not needed due to the pigment grab.
The Bockingford (NOT) paper is an excellent surface for mixing Zest-it pencil blend and coloured pencils together. As the paper grabs the pigment so well, blending with the Zest-it solvent creates a smoother finish, making it much easier to cover larger areas and create soft, tonal backgrounds such as the one above.
I recommend that you soak and stretch the paper before applying a solvent such as Zest-it to avoid the paper cockling (buckling).
If you would like to purchase some of this paper, you can purchase via the Ken Bromley online store, click the link below
(Ken Bromley ship worldwide)
For anyone who uses the Caran d'Ache Luminance pencils, the company has released 24 new colours! You can buy individual pencils or purchase 20 of the colours in a box set called the 'Portrait assortment'
These pencils have been available to 'pre-order' for a while, but online stores, are now receiving stock and getting them sent out to everyone. My set appeared on Saturday morning (18.07.20) and I have to admit to being very excited upon opening the box.
For me, the Luminance pencils are THE best pencils I have used and I really appreciate that Caran d'Ache have extended the colour palette from 76 to 100. I suspect this was a reaction to Derwent releasing their first, fully lightfast pencil range last summer, which had 100 colours. For anyone interested, I have both ranges. The Luminance pencils are my regular 'go to' pencils as they are a little firmer than the Derwent Lightfast, and I am able to create finer details with them, but both ranges offer different colour palettes and having a larger choice is always a bonus.
The two darker tones, Indanthrone Blue and Dark Indigo will make a more natural replacement for the black pencil, but as the majority of my own work includes pets and portraits, having additional browns and pinks added to the palette is excellent. My current favourite colours are Burnt Ochre 10% and Burnt Sienna 10%, which I use on almost every portrait, so the introduction of the Herculanum Red, Violet Pink and Dark Flesh 40% are most welcome!
Above are the four new colours not included in the Portrait set. Personally, I think that Caran Dache should have created the Portrait set and include all 24 colours as they are just as important as all the other colours. I also wish they had included an extra grey for the 'eye colour selection', but as I use the greys more than most other colours, I could never have enough choice!
Have you got yours yet? Do let me know what your favourite, or most used colours are, and which new colours you are most excited about!
You can view our Luminance article by clicking the link below.
Unfortunately, I have had to cancel my final art workshop of the year.
The two day, coloured pencil workshop that was booked to run over the weekend of 15th and the 16th of August has now been rolled over to next year.
The Coronavirus has turned many lives and businesses upside down this year, and although we are all trying to get back to normal, it's going to take some time adapting to the new normal. Government regulations offer advice for all businesses and event planners to follow so they can provide a service as safely as possible. For many, this is possible, for others, it isn't. This workshop comes under the latter, and unfortunately there are too many hurdles that I, as the art tutor, am unable to fulfil.
The room where the workshop is held, is simply too small for social distancing. The raison d'etre of my workshops is providing demonstrations and one to one help, any social distancing means the whole point of the workshop is lost. Other guidelines, understandably, cover strict sanitation and it would be almost impossible to follow all the requirements.
As many are still concerned about gathering in groups, the interest in this workshop has been low, meaning people are simply not booking and the workshop is not viable.
I have decided to roll all my 2020 art workshops over to 2021 whilst adding in a Coronavirus caveat which may affect a workshop depending on the situation at that time. Anyone who wanted to attend the workshops this year, can still attend next year if they are able. You can click on any of the images below to find out more information on each workshop. I will open up bookings in the new year.
I want to send out a big thank you to everyone who booked one of my art workshops this year. For those who have attended previous events, I have missed seeing you again and for those who booked for the first time, I will look forward to meeting you in the future.
Stay safe everyone,
Artist & art tutor of Step by Step Art
2020 Art Workshops
I am currently in the process of organising this years art workshops and will be included in the winter newsletter which will be Emailed out to subscribers hopefully by the end of this month. All details will be posted on the step by step art CHESTERFIELD WORKSHOP page once available and added to social media pages for this site & my KMB social media pages too, ensuring a larger audience reach.
Every year I choose 3 or 4 subjects for the Coloured pencil & Graphite pencil workshops which include varying techniques and surfaces to previous years, ensuring each workshop is different to another. Coloured pencil workshops using textured paper are somewhat easier for a complete beginner than the workshops working on smooth paper, however every workshop available can be attended by any artist regardless of their calibre, even if they have NEVER drawn anything since their time at school!
To find out more about our workshops, click any one of the following links to visit the page of interest:
Reviews & Tutorials
Here are the latest articles and mini tutorials that can be found on the Step by step art website. Included are a selection of independent reviews on multiple mediums and art products as well as the very latest tutorials - click on any of the images below to visit the page of interest. You can also find lots more reviews on art products on our 'ARTICLES' page with new ones added every 3 - 4 months.
Latest product reviews
New Mini Tutorials
You can always request a specific article or mini tutorial and if I am able to provide that information, it could be included in a future article. Please get in touch with your idea at: email@example.com
Finally, you can always SUBSCRIBE to our quarterly newsletter, ensuring you receive the very latest articles, delivered straight to your E-mail.
New to coloured pencils? Why not view our 'Starting out with coloured pencils' article with some great hints and tips on where to begin, with what to buy and how to use them to their best ability.
If you are a newbie to soft pastels, this simple step by step tutorial explains how to create a tonal sky with the smoothest transitions and may offer you some great pointers to get you started.
Looking for some top quality soft pastels and have your eye on the Unison range but want to know more about them before splashing out? This article may offer you some great information.
Would you like to give oils a try and unsure what you need to get going? This article written by Welsh oil painter Chris Chalk and gives some simple advice to those new to oils.
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Karen M Berisford
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