Sandrine's Gallery

Original art by Sandrine Curtiss

Blog posts : "Colored Pencil Magazine Challenge"

New technique and CPM challenge

Another  Colored Pencils Magazine challenge, another opportunity to try something new. This is my second attempt at using sanded paper, this time it's the Uart 600 grade, and I didn't use the Powder Blender. I did my first layer with the Supracolor pencils. I've been wanting to try using water soluble pencils as a base for my colored pencil drawings for a long time, so that's what I did. The Supracolor II pencils are very buttery and diluting them with water was a dream. No pencil marks left. Also, using the sanded paper allowed me to only use a few layers and still have a lot of pigments on the paper. Once my base layer was dry, I started using the Prismacolor pencils, but I found them too soft for the sanded paper ( I probably need to give them another good try to get a definite opinion, as wells as use different grade sanded papers) and had a hard time with details. So I quickly switched to my Pablo pencils which worked like a charm. I'd seen someone use a bristle paint bursh over their pencil layers on sanded paper to blend them, so I tried, but I didn't get the result I expected so I didn't do it much.
What I liked about the sanded paper: No need to add many layers. Colors blend fairly well. You can add lighter colors on top of darker ones. No need to use a white gel pen for your highlights!
What I didn't like: Some colors are harder than others so it's harder to get a soft result, I occasionally had to use mineral spirit to soften the look. Using colored pencils on sanded paper creates a LOT of dust which gets the paper (and everything else around you) dirty, even when covering the part you're not working on. I had a lot of cleaning up to do.
In conclusion, it's not the end of my relationship with sanded paper yet, and I will use water soluble colored pencils again, it's soooo much fun!

A big thank you to photographer Sally Robertson for the reference photo.

I'm happy to report that this piece won the December 2016 1st place in the advanced category. Such an honor!
It's currently in a show until the end of February, and will be for sale as soon as I get it back, so stay on the look out if you're interested.


Gumballs - 11x14" - Colored pencils on sanded paper - FOR SALE


Here's the "making of" video:

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Colored Pencil Challenge

Here's another entry for the Colored Pencil Magazine challenge.


1929 Cord - 9x14" - Colored pencils - SOLD


And here's the video of how I did it:


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Monthly challenge

I hadn't planned on doing this month's Colored Pencils Magazine challenge as I'm busy preparing for my art show next week. But once again, I couldn't resist Sally Roberton's beautiful photo. So I gave it a shot, and decided I will include this drawing in my show.
I used the Caran d'Ache Pablo pencils, which are oil based and similar to the Polychromos. It's the first time I do a piece entirely with them. They have a nice variety of colors, keep a sharp tip for a long time, and blend very well. I like them a lot; it was a real pleasure to work with them.


Birds - 8x12" - Colored pencils - SOLD




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December challenge

This month, I really liked the photo, but, for some reason, the motivation wasn't there. Maybe it was the holiday stress, who knows? But I got more and more into it as I kept working on it, and I'm pleased with the result.

I recently found out that Stonehenge makes 120 lb paper. I had to give it a try. It's pretty nice, but closer to watercolor cold press paper, so not as smooth as the regular 90 lb. I had to use mineral spirit with the first layer to cover the paper better. I don't think I'll use this paper again with colored pencils, but I'll have to try it with watercolor.

So this is it; one full year of CPM challenges! I told myself I had to do it, and I did.
It's been fun, and, I must say, I learned a lot. Being used to use mostly black paper, I had to get out of my comfort zone, but I ended up trying many different pencils and papers.

Thank you Colored Pencils Magazine for helping me grow, and thank you Sally for your beautiful photos.
I don't know if I'll be able to participate in all the challenges in 2016 because I have to prepare for a show. But you never know...

Happy 2016 everyone!






Toys - 8x12" - Colored pencils - FOR SALE



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Monthly challenge WIP 4 and final work

I can't believe I haven't posted the last photos yet. Argh!!!

So here are the final images of my Nymph.


"Nymph" - 9x12" - Colored Pencils - SOLD



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Monthly challenge

This is my entry for the September Colored Pencil Magazine challenge. I had a real blast with this one, the next one will be even more fun, and there will be only two left before the end of the year. Time flies!!


Teapot - 9x12" - Colored Pencils - FOR SALE




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Monthly challenge and product review

This is my entry for the August Colored Pencil Magazine challenge.

This month, my extra challenge was to use a brand new box of Derwent Drawing Pencils. The catch is, there are only 24 colors, and they are very muted. The fun part is that they are VERY creamy, but it was also a challenge since it's impossible to keep a sharp tip. So I had to forget about details and sharp contrasts. I was able to make it work, giving my drawing a more painterly look, but I was also very frustrated that I wasn't able to use more colors. The pencils blend very well together, even when you don't want them to, and using odorless mineral spirit made them look a bit chalky and lifeless. So I gave up with the OMS, and did what I could with just the pencils. In the end, I cheated a tiny bit, and ended up using one extra pencil not in the box, a white Stabilo Woody pencil, which helped me add just a few extra white touches. Earlier on I had considered adding some Prismacolor, but it was impossible to add to the layer of the Derwent Drawing. I think they work better when you add the Drawing to the Prismacolor instead.
All in all it was a new colored pencil experience for me. I really like the Derwent Drawing pencils, but I think next time I'll mix them with the Coloursoft for a broader choice of colors (the textures are similar). There is definitely a learning curve when you're used to harder pencils. I look forward to using them again.


Donkeys - 8x8" - Colored Pencils - FOR SALE

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I'm back!

I hadn't fallen off the face of the Earth, I simply took an extended Summer break, which I enjoyed immensely.

It doesn't mean I stayed away from drawing and painting entirely. In fact, I was quite busy.


Here are the Colored Pencil Magazine challenges for the months of June and July.

I had to stop working on my bigger drawing for lack of time, and ended up doing this little one in my sketchbook instead. I'll finish the other one (a closer crop) later. I was a bit overwhelmed by all the seeds. But I'm pretty happy with the result. It was great practice, I'll be able to finish my bigger drawing with more confidence.
Great subject this month, another fun challenge. Thank you Sally Robertson for the photo

"Stawberry" - 5x7" or so - Colored Pencils


Double challenge for me this time as I was on vacation with limited art supplies. I learned that I don't really enjoy using cold press watercolor paper with colored pencils, it's too grainy for me, and I can't add details as well as with smoother papers. Also, I missed my beloved scanner, and had a hard time taking a good photo. Yet, I enjoyed the challenge anyway because it made me grow a little more.
Another great photo provided by Sally Robertson.

"Popsicles" - 5x8.5" - Inktense colored pencils


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April Challenge

This drawing took me a lot longer than anticipated. I used many layers, and many colors too. I wish you could see it in person, the colors are much more vibrant.
I ended up finishing it about fifteen minutes before the deadline for the April Colored Pencils Magazine Challenge, I was starting to panic a bit. I still had to take a photo (too big to fit in my scanner) and post it on Flicker. So the photo I posted for the challenge is a bit too saturated, but I made it on time, with one minute to spare!
Phew, this one is done and I loved drawing it!

Daisies - 9x12" - Colored Pencils - SOLD



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Latest challenges

I'm still working on the Colored Pencil Magazine challenges every month. I didn't think I would last this long. But it's actually fun to get out of my comfort zone and draw something I normally wouldn't if I were to choose my own reference picture. I love it!
Here are the month of March, and the month of May. I'm still working on April. But since the May challenge fit into my Peacock Series below, I decided to do that one first.


Chain - 5x7" - Colored Pencils - FOR SALE


Peacock 3 - 5x7" - Colored Pencils - FOR SALE

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New Challenge

I had a blast with the new Colored Pencil Magazine monthly challenge.
8x8" on 9x12" sheet.
Prismacolor and Polychromos pencils on Strathmore toned tan paper.

A big thank you to Sally Ford for sharing her photo.

This month's challenge was a lot of fun. Thank you for such a cute photo.
I didn't have much time, so I knew I had to do some major cropping. But I didn't want to loose the adorable bunny. So I rearranged things around a little.
It's the first time that I worked on the Strathmore toned tan paper. I usually like to use Stonehenge paper with my pencils, which is much thicker, and has a little more tooth. So I was a bit worried. But I must say I was happily surprised to find out that the Strathmore paper was able to hold quite a few layers, and feels pretty sturdy. The erasing was very easy too.
I shall use it again!

All Ears - 9x12" - Colored Pencils - FOR SALE



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New Challenge

And now,  more fun.

I started working on the January Colored Pencil Magazine Challenge a while ago. It's a portrait this time. I decided to take my time, and do the best I can. It was just a bit intimidating!

I used Prismacolor and Lyra pencils on Stonehenge Kraft paper, 9x12"
I also used some mineral spirit for the black because it didn't stand out on the Kraft colored paper as I had hoped.

What a challenge! I had to pry the pencils out of my hands and force myself to stop so I wouldn't ruin everything. I added so many layers that the paper doesn't have a tooth left, it's smooth as a baby's botton, and probably twice as heavy as the original paper weight!

A big thank you to Sally Ford for sharing her beautiful photo.


You can see a few more work in progress images here.

Snow Baby - 9x12" - Colored Pencils - SOLD


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Colored Pencil Magazine Monthly Challenges

Here are a couple more projects I've been working on. Last month, once the holiday madness was finally over, I decided to enter the Colored Pencil Magazine challenge. Each month they share a photo that anyone can draw to enter their competition. The only rule is that it needs to be done mostly with colored pencils. It was very challenging, but a lot of fun, and most of all, a great way to improve my skills. So I decided to enter every month, if I can. Here are my first two entries, they both are 5x7".

A big thank you to photographer Sally Ford for sharing her beautiful photos.



"Berries" - 5x7" - Colored Pencils - SOLD


 Bows - 5x7" - Colored Pencils - SOLD

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