Thursday, June 26, 2014

My other love...colored pencil

What be this bee?
Read all the way to the bottom to find out about two giveaways.
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And welcome to Colored Pencil Magazine Readers, if you have landed here by way of the "Paper or Plastic" article in the latest issue. Here's how the article came about and why I decided on the project I chose...

A few weeks ago I received an email from Sally Ford at Colored Pencil Magazine asking me if I would be interested in contributing an article about using colored pencil on polymer clay. She had seen a few of my photos on flickr and my blog and thought her readers would be interested in learning more about the process.

So, of course, I jumped at the opportunity to share the love of clay with a whole new gang! I knew that colored pencil users wouldn't necessarily want to start making beads or sculptures or jewelry the way most of us clay folks do. But, they could replace their paper with clay for a different surface that has interesting qualities paper doesn't have.

I also wanted to introduce clay in a way that would complement pencil art and not require anyone to buy a bunch of tools to get started. I opted to feature Ultralight instead of "regular" clay for two reasons:
1) No pasta machine is required
2) The matte Ultralight surface works really well with soft colored pencils (Prismacolors, for example).

The digital copy of the magazine is available for subscribers today and the print copy comes out next week. It was a fun experience and I hope some of the readers give it a shot!
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If you're on Facebook, I would like to mention that I have an Artybecca Facebook page. Go on and Like my page if you want to follow along on my clay, and now, clay and colored pencil adventures. (There might also be an occasional appearance of pencil on Shrinky-Dink plastic and balsa wood shapes!)
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I came up with an easy project with instructions for the readers to try.
Here are photos of the pieces I made, before and after coloring:

I used an organza bag before curing to texturize the surface of this one. It looks nice but I found the colored pencils works best on a completely smooth surface. Before I tried it, I didn't think that would be the case, but it was.
The dark outlines on this one were made with liquid polymer, added after the first curing. I think it left a very slight residue on the surface that also caused the pencil to not lay down as dark as I wanted.

I couldn't leave out a turtleneck fish, could I? We'll call this one a flounder because he only has one side! I used acrylic paint to fill the lines on the fishie. I added it after the first curing and waited until it was totally dry to add the colored pencil. I sprayed the fish and the flower pieces with PYM II to protect the pencil.

No texturing on this surface, just a smooth, unsanded finish.
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I included links to Ginger Allman Davis's The Blue Bottle Tree blog where she has great information. I thought her posts about curing and finishing would make the readers feel more confident about trying the project.

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Colored Pencil Magazine is sold as a digital download or hard copy by mail subscription.
You can subscribe to it here.
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To celebrate, I'll do a giveaway of two cute little bees I made using this technique. One is a fridge magnet, one is a lapel pin. Put a comment on the blog and you'll be entered in a drawing for one or the other. Please include if a pin, a magnet, is your first choice.
Here's one of the little bee dudes!

And wait...there's more! 


  1. I love your work. Polymer and colored pencil looks amazing I cant wait to try it. Thank you for all your amazing inspiration and I love the bees they are adorable. The bee pin would be my first choice but I would be thrilled with either. Congratulations on the publication. Very well deserved. I cant wait to subscribe. I love to color. I color all the time to relax. Hugs.

  2. I am so excited my issue is on the way I received an email :).. Cant wait to read it and try. I want to purchase some good colored pencils. Is there a brand you recommend for clay? I cant wait to see who wins the bumble bee they are adorable. Thank you and hope to see you at IPCA in OHIO. Kim

  3. Love your work! Thanks for the info with using colored pencils. I have tried but didn't try on a flat enough surface. That is the trick I am sure. Coloring with chalk dust has been lots of fun too.

  4. Just received the magazine. Love it. The article is filled with ideas and inspiration. Thank you Becca for opening our eyes to a whole new way of polymer fun. Again congrats on the publication. :) Love it.

  5. I'm so glad that you wrote about this. I have used colored pencil on clay a few times and figured that it has a lot of promise. I agree that the color lays down best on smooth clay, but coloring on textured clay gives an interesting rugged look, too. There's lots to explore here, and it's great that you've got the wheels turning. Thank you for including links to my website. I'm happy to help any colored pencil converts get their feet wet in polymer clay.

  6. I’ve done portraits in prismacolor and written tutorials on using mineral spirits to blend the pencil to make more like watercolors...this is my next experiment on clay



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