Happy Friday! I thought l would like to share with you today my second completed piece using Schpirerrfarben pencils. Two reasons l wanted to do an update one being that l wanted to see how they worked when layered with other brands that l use and the second being that l have read reviews on the net and there are a few things l would like to add.
This piece was completed using over 90% Schpirerrfarben pencils, l used just a few of my Holbeins, Luminance, Pablos and Faber Castell simply because l wanted to see if they layered and blended well with other brands that l use. They did, l had no problems at all. They really are lovely pencils to use.
The second no reason for the update was l have a few thoughts after reading reviews, the biggest concern brought up in reviews is lightfastness and my previous blog post discusses that so l won't repeat it here. But one thing l noticed in a couple of reviews was people saying they had a bloom appear like a wax bloom. I really want to say that l layer in the extreme (and l have used no blenders in either of the Schpirerrfarben pieces l have completed) and l have seen no sign of any bloom whatsoever. They layer to a beautiful burnished sheen so l don't know if these people have just been unlucky, but l have certainly had no problems with bloom. And they blend more easily than some of my more expensive brands.
A number of reviews mention colors, not enough of certain colors. Now of course l would like more colors, who wouldn't? But l have out on my art desk over 600 colors and l never have the exact color l want! That aside, l never really think it is fair to take a set of pencils and say there aren't enough of this or that color because it really depends what you draw. And these pencils blend beautifully so you should be able to mix most colors you could want.
And yes, it would be nice to have names as well as numbers and for the paint on the barrel to match the core, but l also think we need to remember the price of these pencils. Ultimately they are incredibly affordable and comparing them with brands that cost up to ten times more is a little bit unfair. What l really want from a pencil is for it to perform well, and these pencils with their tiny price tag perform as nicely as some far more expensive pencils. If a number rather than a name helps to keep them affordable and means that many people who could otherwise not afford a set of pencils can experience the difference that working with a nice quality pencil makes, that to me is worth the hassle of making a color chart or remembering a number.
If you have a set of these l would love to hear your thoughts. Have a wonderful weekend and create some beautiful art.
Well here l am again talking about Schpirerrfarben pencils. I wanted to do this for two reasons. The first is that l want to talk about lightfastness and the second is that l want to update on their use.
l really want to say again how much l love these pencils, they layer well, they blend well, they sharpen beautifully and hold their point well. The piece you see below is at least 90% worked with Schpirerrfarben pencils. I used just a few from my other brands because l wanted to test how they work in conjunction with different brands, but l will discuss that in my next post.
In this blog l am going to concentrate on lightfastness and the reason l am doing this is because it is the one thing everyone (including me) mentions in their reviews. I just wanted to put this into perspective. I would love these pencils to be tested and rated, but ... l also own full sets of Caran D’ache Luminance and Pablo’s, Holbeins, Faber Castell Polychromos and Prismacolor Premieres and here is my point... if l wanted to draw this fish with only pencils with the best lightfastness rating ... l couldn’t! I would never draw a pink fish. The only range with a top rated pink is Caran D’ache Luminance (all of that range are top rated) but l would struggle to get the colors l want using only Luminance. With Pablos, Polychromos and Holbeins the pinks and lilacs have one or two star ratings out of 3. With Prismacolors who knows? They are tested for lightfastnesss but a third are not lightfast and they don’t show the ratings on the pencils so you never really know if the one you are using is or isn’t lightfast.
So my point is that you have to make a personal decision . These are my thoughts (and questions?):
Personally l love color. I want to draw anything l want to draw. If l want to draw a pink fish l want to draw a pink fish. I don’t want to limit the colors l use. I want to use them all. I love color. So while l am conscious of the lightfast ratings and will choose a lightfast pencil where l can, l will always go for color first.
My other thoughts are that even with a top lightfast rating where a picture is hung, how it is mounted and framed, the paper used, the environment all produce variables. And the test itself cannot cover all the variables in a piece of work, how does the amount of layers l use affect lightfastness, does using many brands in one piece change anything? Do the oils from my skin affect it? Does using blenders affect it? Are they tested as if they were kept in museum conditions? Are they tested as if they were hung directly in the bright Californian sunlight?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but l do know that a lightfast rating is no more than a guide and that some particular colors (such as pink) are not as lightfast as other colors.
My conclusion is that l could get far too hung up on ratings. So, no, this brand doesn’t have a lightfast rating but l think in fairness you have to consider the price. Under $30 for 72 pencils. Or $300 to buy a similar sized set of Luminance? These are such good value and making a big issue about lightfastness would be to me like complaining that your Toyota Prius won’t do 0-60mph in under 4 seconds like a Ferrari.
For me it is really exciting to be able to say to people that for under $30 you can try colored pencil as a medium and get great results. I hope more people try them and see what beautiful results can be had and how much fun colored pencil art is. These could be the start of a new addiction for so many people.
lf you are reading this in the week it is published Schpirerrfarben are giving away three lovely sets of these to three lucky people so head over to Instagram and check out my page from tomorrow for how to enter.
Happy Friday! Nearly the weekend! Yay! Have you ever had a drawing take on a life of its own? Meet Elvis the Robin! I am not sure at what point he began to look like Elvis, but all of a sudden he did and he has been jiggling his hips and singing blue suede shoes to me ever since! This is disappointing as l have wanted to draw a Robin for a long time, but there is something disconcerting about a Robin singing blue suede shoes.
I had to adjust his head feathers a bit at the end to try and stop it, but even with the adjustments he looks like Elvis to me!
I am not even sure if l can show the finished picture on Instagram as l have lost confidence in it. I deliberately worked on grey paper as l wanted a wintery feel. The colors are unusual for me and my OH returned home from work and said, 'what a boring bird!'. Then he added thoughtfully, ,'I don't like it as much as an American Robin and l don't care much for those truthfully,'. This cheered me up no end!
So, l summoned up my motivation and went back to work adding a beautiful snow covered branch. I was determined to finish him, even if my blue suede shoes ear worms lasted for the whole piece (and why blue suede shoes was the only song Elvis would sing l don't know!). Finally l finished and my OH's comment was that it was, 'a drab bird on an equally drab branch!'. So you see, l am very unsure about this piece.
I did relearn my lesson though that l learned a long time ago and that is that l don't like working with too many browns and greys. I thought there would be enough color in this piece to keep me happy, but there wasn't. This is a purely psychological thing for me, it quite literally affects my mood. The reason my artwork is so bright and colourful is not because l especially like bright and colourful animals (in fact my favourite garden birds are quail and sparrows, neither of which are very colourful), nor because l like to look at colourful art, but simply that working with color makes me feel happy. Working with dull colours makes me feel down.
That is the story of Elvis the Robin. He may or may not make Instagram! The next piece will be extra colourful to make up for it!!
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