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General Tips on Using Graphite and Colored Pencils


Garry Pound
"Figure Study"
Graphite on Claybord

Both graphite and colored pencils work well with Claybord. The softer the lead and the higher the pigment content, the better. Claybord rigidity, soft tooth finish, avenues for manipulation, and archival qualities makes it a fresh alternative for pencil work. If you need more texture on your panel, try Aquabord which can be used as is or sanded to the tooth desired.

 

Maggie Toole
Colored Pencils on Claybord

Using Claybord with Graphite or Colored Pencils
Claybord's non-yellowing, rigid pH-neutral support will take your pencil work to a whole new level. For the first time, see your pencil drawings framed without glass! Claybord surface coating is lightly sanded smooth. The surface texture and clay coating reduces smudging and smearing and provides an excellent new avenue for highly detailed pencil work. Lint residue or tearing will no longer be a problem like when using paper or mat boards. Since Claybord is very rigid and durable, repeated erasure and manipulation of the pencils won't harm the surface. If you need a little more texture to work on, try using Aquabord.

You can use the surface as is or sand to the texture you desire. There are many ways to work these surfaces with pencil. Here are a few to get you started. To erase or vary the tonal values of your pencil, use a soft abrasive such as fine sandpaper or 0000 grade steel wool. Erase using a circular motion. Or, use a soft white eraser for complete clean up and removal. For more loose painterly effects and to soften edges, use colorless marker blenders. Sharp white lines and textures can be created using scratchboard knives or etching tools by cutting directly into the panel. Maggie Toole's piece shown above is done entirely with circles in a style she refers to as "circulism" on Claybord. This is quite an extraordinary example of what you can do with colored pencils and Claybord. Maggie recommends coating the panel first with a thin acrylic wash. She says the pencil "grabs" the surface more easily than with no treatment. Colored pencils and graphite should be sealed with spray fixative like Krylon® UV Resistant Clear Coating #1309 (Matte) or #1305 (Gloss) when finished. Finally, view your artwork without that annoying glass reflection!