Notes From The Net
Questions and Answers About Carving Gathered From Popular Carving Groups
Edited by Matt Kelley
Welcome carving friends to NFTN, version 2.0. In this ongoing series we will gather the best questions, answers and comments from the more active Facebook and mail list carving groups, such as the Woodcarver List, Woodcarving 101 — The Joy of Woodcarving, and the International Fish Carvers & Painters Association, and present them here.
Enjoy, and Carve On!
Using colored pencils on carvings
On the Woodcarver List mail group, Jim Williams posed this question:
I want to try using colored pencils to put subtle colors on a woodcarving. Does anyone out there have any experience with this method? Do I seal the wood first or seal after I use the pencils? If I want a stain for the majority of the carving can I apply a light stain and then use colored pencil for the highlights and then seal the whole thing with a poly finish? All information or suggestions are welcome.
Joe Dillett answered:
The answer to your question is to test on samples. There are three basic types of colored pencils: wax, oil and watercolor. Each will react differently. Most papers has enough tooth to get an even color distribution, however wood is quite different and difficult to get an even coat. Even watercolor pencil, which absorbs even on paper does not on wood. I have tried several different methods of using color pencils for adding a little hint of color but was never satisfied with the results. Maybe some others here have found a technique to achieve good results?
Pat Sherman commented:
If you take odorless paint thinner and dip your colored pencil in it first, you can put the color on wood pretty good. Oil pastel sticks will also work. Put the color on and then go over it with the paint thinner. Melts it like paint.
Denny Bell added:
I have used colored pencils and crayon pencils for highlighting some carvings. The pencils were applied to the raw wood and coated with a clear finish without problem. Some carvers use the colored pencils then soften the color using a wet brush to blend the penciled areas together.
Donna Menke provided this answer:
Jim, I have used oil pencils to color wood burnings and they worked very well. They are softer than regular colored pencils, although good quality artist-grade colored pencils are OK. You want the tooth of the wood to grab the pencil color, and bare sanded wood works very well. So I would seal afterwards.
Staining first would pose no problems at all. Just keep it light enough so that the pencil will show up. Finishing with poly for oil pencil is a problem since the poly will dissolve and smear the colors. I fixed this by sealing the design first with the poly and then waiting until it was dry before finishing the whole thing.
From Gene Bremmer:
A few years ago, I took a fish painting class out in New Hampshire from a fish painter/taxidermist. He mainly puts out CD’s on fish painting. One of the ways we painted larger areas of fish is to take a dry watercolor pencil and literally scrub over the side of the fish where we wanted a color. I do mean we did scribble on the fish reproduction. After that we took and wet a regular paper towel with water and wrung the water out of the paper towel. We squeezed it in all different ways until the towel was only damp. Then we went to the fish and dabbed over the color we had just scribbled on the fish. It spread the color so very nicely over the fish. If it takes the color off then you have used too much water. But, you can put the color right back on and do it over. Now this would probably not work very well in tiny, delicate areas unless using a small brush. Give it a try and I am sure you will have lots of fun with it.
That’s it for this edition of NFTN. If you see a post on one of the FB groups or Mail Listservs that you think should be preserved in NFTN, please use the form below to submit your suggestion.