Today Caroline presented a selection of mediums: Pencils, both lead and coloured, charcoal, watercolours, acrylics and pastels, along with her personal recommendations as to brands.
Caroline favours 8B for drawing, as it is possible to get a really dark tone with it. HB she finds too hard and light, but these can be used for watercolour sketch-ins. Recommended brands are Faber Castel and Staedtler.
The cheaper ones need more pressure. Caroline suggests that we press hard and add layers before adding water and blending. Best quality are Derwent, followed by Faber Castel and Caran d’ache.
Avoid Coates. There are different sizes in Winsor and Newton’s range. Some is reconstituted. Derwent charcoal pencils are good for fine lines. Can produce a very dark line too.
The Russian brand – White Knight are very sticky, but have lots of pigment. They are now available from Jackson Art, and can be bought individually.
Daler Rowney need a lot of rubbing. A good indicator is that if the paper shows through, the paint is cheap, as with Pelican, which has very feeble colours.
Golden and Liquitex are the recommended brands as System 3 student quality has some poor colours, particularly the yellows. Winsor & Newton Galleria come under the same banner.
Gel mediums can be used with acrylics: mix with acrylic to bulk up paint, but be aware that this will dilute the pigment. Also available are crackle textures. You can make your own gesso with talcum powder +PVA+water.
WH Smith have a good colour range. Schmincke are very soft, for those who like this effect.. Pan pastels can be used with a sponge for smudge work. Sennelier are a favoured make. Faber Castel makes a range of pencil pastels.
Caroline said that it is best to start with a hard pastel for draughting, and then go over with a round soft pastel.
Oil pastels from Sennelier and Farrel Gold. Oil bars from Winsor & Newton and Stabilo can be blended with white spirit. A really useful gold wax by Pablio can be used to great effect.
As a final comment on all makes of any medium, Caroline stressed that “You get what you pay for!”