Which art medium is best for what?

Which art medium is best for what?

My post today over at Ellen Hutson is a rather epic one – it was created for people who don’t color at all, but have an inkling they might like to try – the supplies for each are different, and choosing which one and knowing what to get can be overwhelming!

I thought I would create a “partner” post for it here, for more advanced folks who may already have a few of those art supplies, and are wondering which kinds of projects are best suited for which medium.

This video is also the first of a series that I’m creating for a class coming up – some of the videos will be public ones on YouTube, others will be inside the class all about art supplies. I’ve always wanted one place to put alllll the info about my favorite supplies, maintenance and care of them, tricks to fix broken things, lots of tiny tips that get lost on a giant YouTube channel like mine. I get so many questions about which direction is best to store X brand of whatever, or what’s my favorite thing for X, and this class will be epic. And free.

Which art medium is best for what?

Sometimes it’s obvious. Sometimes you just feel like using a medium. But sometimes…it might help to think through what medium is best for a particular subject matter, or a certain kind of stamp. This video includes snippets of lots of videos that I thought showcase the best uses for the mediums, and sometimes point out the challenges!

Watch the video below or click HERE to view on YouTube.

Tutorials included in the above video, in order:

Note: Supplies are linked in the supply list at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used  – that means if you make a purchase using my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support of my work on this blog!  Read more.

What are Copic markers best for?

While an artist can always use *whatever* medium when does it make the most sense to reach for Copics?

Smooth blending is the workspace of Copic markers (I’ve tried other brands and haven’t found others that compare favorably). Once techniques are mastered, it’s easy to create art with smooth transitions between colors that are different, depth created by blending a dark into a medium and a light.

Images with thicker outlines are easier for newer colorists to use with Copics, since the nib on a Copic isn’t pencil-thin; stamps with thin outlines can sometimes beckon the ink to bleed outside the line.

Color range is a boon for Copics, if you’re an artist with a wide collection – for someone like me who has them all, I know exactly what I can do with the colors I have. There are very subtle differences between some that are helpful in creating realism and minute color shifts.

Studio/craft room work is most typical for Copics; they can be packed up in cases/boxes/baskets for travel, but the size of the collection can cause problems for those wanting to haul supplies! I never use Copics when I go outdoors to sketch for this reason, though I may do a black and white sketch and come back to the studio to add color.

Foundations (color theory) and technique are taught in Copic Jumpstart – a class that has been loved by both crafters and artists of all levels of experience.

What is watercolor best for?

Choose the medium that suits your mood at the moment! Don’t think with your head. Close your eyes and picture yourself in your artistic happy place. What will make your heart happy at that moment?

When feeling loose and washy, get out the paints! I get in different moods, and that often points me to my watercolors. Paint outside the lines, let the color flow, and let yourself lose a little control. Start with some scraps, even just a corner of paper to play with, and get yourself inspired.

Playing with color is an area that watercolor excels. The mixing of color is limitless, literally – the amount of pigment vs water used affects the color mix produced. You can mix in a palette or on paper. Glaze one color over another. If you know none of your Copics will have the color you need – your watercolors can create it.

Stamps with heavier lines work a bit better for those who are worried about going outside the lines – brush control takes practice. Stamps with thinner lines can be used for loose techniques breaking out of lines.

Flat washes (large areas where color floods are needed) are easiest with watercolor, though the art of the flat wash does require practice. Use gravity to your benefit!

Water management is the hardest learning curve in watercolor, in my opinion – the Watercolor Jumpstart Class provides teaching on that topic and many others that’ll help you wrangle your paints!

What are colored pencils best for?

If your project – or your mood – requires control, colored pencil is by far the way to go.

Tiny detail requires tiny nibs/points on pencils, pens and brushes – and pencils can be sharpened to a very very fine point. That makes them perfect for very detailed work, or for adding that detail onto a piece created with a different medium. Yes, you can combine them!

Color stays put for the most part, with colored pencil; it’s a dry medium, and won’t bleed when it touches another color next to it. It will, however, smoodge if you lay your hand across it, so be aware of that and place a protective piece of paper below your hand to protect your work.

The best controlled color mixing happens with colored pencils; adding light layers of color one over another can create not only new colors, but depth and resonance of color not achievable by any other medium!

Creating textures are fabulous with pencil, given the number of techniques that exist for blending. See the Colored Pencil Jumpstart class to learn a number of them.

What are watercolor pencils best for?

Some mediums lend themselves to being a hybrid of control and loose application of color – and watercolor pencil is one that checks a lot of boxes.

Control with options – watercolor pencils are applied in the same controlled fashion as colored pencils, but with the opportunity to add some looseness as well when adding water.

Thin stamped lines lend themselves to coloring carefully up to the line with the pencil, then carefully using a brush and water to break up the pigment. But watercolor pencils can handle any stamp lines well.

Enhancing watercolor can be achieved with watercolor pencils, as well – if reaching a point in a painting that particular detail needs to be added with more control, reach for a watercolor pencil. Signs on a building, patterns on fabric on a figure—address the small details that are hard to achieve with a brush.

Sketching is great with watercolor pencils; create a sketched scene in watercolor pencil that is planned to be done in watercolor, and the outlines will melt away. If some lines need to remain, sketch those in a regular pencil so they don’t disappear.

Coming soon: a Watercolor Pencil Jumpstart class. Sign up for the newsletter (in the menu bar over at Art-Classes.com) and you’ll be first to know!

  • Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencil Tin Set of 120, Faber-Castell —- Ellen Hutson —- Blick
  • Supracolor Aquarelle Pencils, Set of 120 —- Blick
  • Derwent Inktense Pencils – Blick
  • Brushes for crafting:
    Silver Black Velvet 8 Round – Ellen HutsonBlick
    Silver Black Velvet 12 Round – Ellen HutsonBlick
  • Brushes for fine art, larger works:
    Da Vinci Maestro Kolinsky Sable Round 14 – Blick
    Winsor Newton Kolinsky Sable Series 7 Round 10 brush – Blick
  • Arches Cold Press Paper pad – Ellen Hutson —- Blick

Also, the video for beginners: Go to Ellen’s blog post with LOTS of info HERE. Click HERE to see it on YouTube.

A few heads-up!

It’s new-class day! I’ve been working on these for a month or two and cramming lately – for some reason it was really hard getting to the final editing and class-building stage. Maybe it’s the weather? It’s been so warm I’ve just been movin’ slow! lol.

Autumn Leaves Advanced Colored Pencil Class

This one has one image, about 8 x 10, and has all the leaves in it; that’s because giant images with larrrrrge floods of color are, like, super hard. LOL. So you’re welcome. Smaller leaves will be easier! I’ve labeled this “advanced” however – it’s probably halfway between intermediate and advanced. I’m thinking of starting a numerical system rather than just 3 levels to help people figure out where they place. See the sneak peek video below, and find this class here:

Watch the video below or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube.

Autumn Leaves Advanced Copic Class

This one was so much fun to work on! Nice big juicy leaves to get the blending going on! I added little touches with some colored pencil, so you might have those handy for tiny details that are too small for a Copic nib. See the sneak peek video below, and find this class here:

Watch the video below or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube.

Coupon code!

As always, there’s a deep discount on the two new classes right now – there always is during the first week of any launch. But…since I didn’t want the other classes to cry over not getting attention….you can use coupon code school for 15% off all the other adult classes! The sale is on from now through September 8th.

For students who have taken the Underwater Scenes Copic class – I just added a bonus lesson, just log in and it should be at the end of class. You’re welcome!

Crazy adventure begins…

Today also starts another venture – I’m doing a crazy thing over on the Bible journaling side….I’m joining in the 30 Days of Bible Lettering challenge, and I plan to create a big art piece with all 30 scriptures on it! I’m not at all sure how it’ll come out, but here’s the first one – and you can check every day on my Bible Journaling Instagram for verse videos, then on Sundays on YouTube for a recap.

Trying out Stonehenge Kraft (Back to school card)

Trying out Stonehenge Kraft (Back to school card)

Don’t you just love/hate when a shopping site sends you that link that says “People who bought what you bought also like this….”??? Ha! Well I love Stonehenge White paper enough for my colored pencils that they recommended I try out Kraft Paper. I don’t know if it’s “new” – but it wasn’t there last time I looked, so I threw some in the cart! In today’s video I tested it out with Prismacolor pencils by coloring….pencils!

Note: Supplies are linked in the supply list at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used  – that means if you make a purchase using my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support of my work on this blog!  Read more.

Watch the video below or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

To finish off my cards, I layered up the panels, then stamped the Thank You on the same paper, punched a circle around it, then added it with dimensional adhesive.

These are the colors used – I kept each trio for the pencils really close to each other (and had to add a little of the dark yellow to the medium to lessen the jump a bit!)

See an IGTV video with the apple stamp in this set here.

Color a realistic bunny (Polychromos pencils)

Color a realistic bunny (Polychromos pencils)

I love little storybook images….and I love pretending I’m in a Beatrix Potter book with sweet little critters! I used a bunny I saw recently in a park as my inspiration to use browns and greys together, and provide some colored pencil tips along the way.

Note: Supplies are linked in the supply list at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used  – that means if you make a purchase using my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support of my work on this blog!  Read more.

Watch the video below or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube.

I kept the design out of the center of the card…the rabbit is about in the middle but her scene is off-center both horizontally and vertically. The bow helps pull the eye that direction too, and all that white space provides rest for the eyes.

Colors used….all Polychromos:

I used the same pencils on the inside, but left the mouse more brown in the fur, and used the purple for the dress and yellow instead for the flowers. Writing a sweet little “thanks for being a patron!” note right beside her will be perfect!

5 Dogs in a Boat: Friendship Card

5 Dogs in a Boat: Friendship Card

How could I RESIST a stamp with 5 dogs in a boat?! With encouraging sentiments!?!? I just had to have it! And color it up. There might be a few more colorings coming in the future, this is a fun little stamp from Penny Black!

I tried something the other day, I posted a link to this stamp set on social media while there was a flash sale on at Ellen Hutson. I didn’t expect it to sell out completely in just hours!? It’s also out of stock elsewhere – only 3 were left at Amazon when I checked. I guess it’s popular! You can click the “notify me” button in Ellen’s shop and once it’s restocked you’ll get an email.

Since stamps often fly off the shelf within just hours of my videos going live, I’ll occasionally start posting secret peeks like that on Instagram and Facebook, just to give social media followers a chance at first “dibs,” not just the early YouTube watchers who always get there first. I hope this makes things a little more fair for everyone to have access to the stuff I’m using.

And on that note – I have a bloghop video coming tomorrow, and then on Monday – I’ll be using THIS set. Just to give blog-only-readers first dibs on something too!

Note: Supplies are linked in the supply list at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used  – that means if you make a purchase using my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support of my work on this blog!  Read more.

Okay enough of all that mumbo jumbo. Let’s get to the coloring! Watch the video below or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube.

I used Polychromos pencils – but you can of course use any brand you’ve got at hand. Here are the colors:

As always I love coloring dogs to look like mine…so V and G are of course going for a boat ride!

The reflection in the water can be SUPER simple…I see lots of folks figuring out mirror stamping, but it’s a heck of a lot easier to have just a little color reflect below the boat and call it done, isn’t it? LOL!

By request: more Underwater Mini Classes!

By request: more Underwater Mini Classes!

I’ve been asked again and again if I’d ever put together Underwater Scenes in Colored Pencil or Watercolor….and I finally made time to get both assembled! They’re the mini classes, and intermediate level – it’s recommended to take the Jumpstart class for that medium, but if you have equivalent experience, rock on!

Watch the trailer below or click HERE to see it on YouTube:

To get to the classes, click HERE for all three….or individually on their photos below!

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