About Colored Pencil Paintings

The following is displayed here with permission from the author, Vera Curnow, who is the founder of the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA.) It was originally published in To The Point, Summer 1997.

Q. Since colored pencils are drawing tools, how would you rank in order, according to importance, the following, regarding a completed colored pencil drawing: color, coloring technique, actual drawing and composition?

A. First, I view colored pencils as an "art" tool (or medium) that is capable of creating drawings and paintings. Once again, let me say that just as you can draw with a brush, you can paint with a pencil. It is not "the tool" (or degree of wetness) that defines the technique—it is "the process" of how the tool is applied. Here's how I see the difference>

PAINTING: When you define form predominantly with tonal masses, rather than with the use of lines, you! are! painting! Paintings rely on modeling (to create volume, depth and form) with the juxtaposition of colors and values. DRAWINGS are constructed primarily with lines—colored or not, wet or dry and regardless of the instrument used.

As for the "order of importance"—was this a trick question? Because I can't do it—unless I can give each a "one" rating. To establish an order of importance to the criteria given above, I would first have to determine which of these elements could be eliminated with out sacrificing the quality, mood, and movement of the painting.

I can think of any good work that doesn't depend on all of these elements. (Look at your own work and try to omit one.) Each element contributes to the synergism of the whole. And no artwork is sustained by its strongest attribute; instead, it is judged by its weakest. You may quote me.

I'd like to add two extremely important elements that most new artists overlook. Content and Creativity! I have seen average (in technique) artworkd be accepted into shows because these two criteria were so overwhelmingly powerful. There should be "intent" in your work.

Drawing vs. Painting

Awaiting permission to use example images by Vera Curnow.

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