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Firstly, I have to say that I`m a bit of a fanboy when it comes to Alyona, as the ideas and advice she offers in her first book had such a massive positive impact on my art work that I`ve not looked back since. Not only did Alyona`s "Colored Pencil Painting Bible" open my eyes as to what could be achieved with coloured pencils and different effects, it gave me the confidence that the medium itself was one that deserves respect, and I discovered that there is a whole community of amazingly talented artists using them; not just Alyona, but Lisa Clough (Lachri Fine Art) too and many others. Also, the artists themselves are so helpful, friendly and supportive. There is no sense that they want to keep their skills and knowledge to themselves, which is wonderful.
The difference between this book and her bible is that whereas the majority of the work in the first book promoted the use of layering, blenders and odourless mineral spirits in order to get a luminant and smooth, pencil stroke-free finishes to your work - and focused mainly on still life - this is about portraits and the tools you need. The effects are totally different and the subject is different so there is a need for some serious commitment on the part of the reader to buy into Alyona`s new techniques - and they are revolutionary for this field.
Different paper is needed, tools normally used for pastels too, in addition to Alyona`s own creations - further info. you can find on her Brush and Pencil website and available in the UK - texture fixative, final fixative, touch-up texture, titanium white powder and the amazing miracle that is the powder blender. I spent many hours watching different artists using these on Youtube before I even bought the paper I would need. (I opted for Uart 500 sanded paper to start with. I thought that would be much easier than using acrylic gessos). The key to understanding and enjoying all of this book is that you need paper with teeth! Using the powder blender first on your paper and applying very soft layers of coloured pencil, you can move the pigment around with pastel tools, creating an incredibly smooth blend of colour, and using the texture fixative you can add layer after layer, adding previously unthinkable depth and value to your image.
Alyona understands an amazing amount about colour theory and art history, but also about the science behind the application of pencil to paper, and all the products she uses are Brush and Pencil brand because a) she invented them! and b) there are no alternatives! As I work through this book, I cannot believe the art I`m able to produce... but it is very important that you understand that it is almost like learning water colour when you`ve only worked in oil; it isn`t that the knowledge you have isn`t helpful, but you`ll need to learn a new technique - from scratch. If you read the book, and understand the science, you`ll be amazed. But don`t think you can get these results without the understanding first, commitment second, and thirdly, prepare for some damage to your bank balance as you`ll definitely need to make some purchases.
I was critical of this author's other book “Coloured Pencil Painting Bible” and this follow-up volume hasn't changed my opinion by much. To be very clear from the outset – this is not in my opinion a beginner's book and I found some of it heavy stuff to digest. There's a lot of information in the book, a great deal of it technical, analytical and process-based; she clearly knows a great deal about her medium and it's all here, should one wish to avail one's self of it. However, Nickelsen`s idea of realism is very photographic – as in working from photographs; now, if that's what suits go ahead, but although I have no problem with Photorealist or Hyperrealist art, those processes often uncover abstract and more considered aspects of depiction – the methods laid out here seem to be very subservient to the primacy of the photographic image – even involving tracing. Realism means a lot of things to different artists, so I don`t wish to get into a disagreement with this artist's particular approach – suffice it to say that it is not mine, nor is it one I would advocate to my own students unless it was appropriate to an individual's requirements. The “Look inside” option above gives a fairly accurate impression of the contents – one must decide for one's self if that is of value, but I found it ponderously technical and not at all useful to my own drawing/painting/teaching practice.
This is an amazing book. I read the reviews before I bought it and they all said "not for beginners". Well I am a beginner but I read a lot. Up until now I have mainly drawn animals in coloured pencil but my technique is terrible. Try as I might I cannot get my colour to look anything like the photographs in the instruction books I am following. Now I have an idea how to remedy the situation. This is a marvellous book and her explanations are second to non.
The first half of the book is about colour theory and art history, it’s heavy going, overly analytical and at times downright boring. The second half which deals with the techniques and use of blending products is closer to what I hoped for when I bought the book. The author is a fabulous artist and I have been impressed enough to buy her products but I didn’t enjoy the book.
This is a very interesting read with a lot of information about painting with oil paint and colour pencil, contrasting the techniques in each medium to get similar results. There is a lot of fascinating information about materials, color theory and other aspects of painting. The second part of the book takes you through the techniques of portrait painting using techniques and new products from the Brush and Pencil co which can give paintings using colour pencil which look like oils. Whatever stage you are at with colour pencil this book is relevant and it is an interesting read and well illustrated.
This book shows you how to achieve the slick professional look of an oil painting with the convenience of coloured pencils.
I've tried everything from acrylics to oil paints but never found anything that gives me the smooth professional look of oils without the mess and fuss. The advantage of coloured pencils is their convenience. You can pick them up for half an hour, then shove everything back into a draw without waiting for things to dry.
It's rather waffly in places, and probably could be edited down to half its length, but still worthy of five stars. My very first attempt at following this technique is now framed and on my wall.
An astonishing rendition of Alyona Nickelsen's portraits, drawn with coloured pencils ( mostly, but not exclusively ). The print quality is outstanding. As a tutorial, this book is found a bit wanting; you have to take some information from "between the lines" in order to find out how she achieves the results. Still, it is amazing to learn what an artist can achieve with "ordinary" coloured pencils.
An excellent book for coloured pencil artists - I have used the techniques and products described in this book and they do produce amaxzing results. Probably not a book for beginners - but a must if you are serious about working with coloured pencils and want to expand your techniques.
This a beautiful book with good information and advice about materials and some techniques to achieve best results. It is not a step-by-step book for beginners who could find the techniques suggested difficult to understand, One of them is achieving a bright hue over a darker underpainting.The author does not explain it enough and assumes that the readers know how to do it. The illustrations are excellent and very inspiring.