Sunday, June 8, 2014

#TipsForUSTArkiFreshies Part 2: Guide To Mediums

Continuing my Arki series with a quick guide on all the mediums you will encounter on your first year! So I'm basically going to share my experience with using them and again, I'm going to tell you now that I'm not exactly great when it comes to rendering. Haha!

Firstly, if you're like me and you grew up not used to coloring or rendering any of your random drawings then you will probably feel a bit more challenged in Visual Techniques. You're going to be surprised at how good some of your blockmates will be. Some of them will almost seem like they've been doing it professionally for some time now, it's really crazy!

Don't get me wrong, with enough practice, you can always improve. Don't ever feel pressured to be as great as some of your batchmates. That's a road you don't want to go down. Just try your best always and have fun! :)

1. Pencils - Other than for drafting, you use it for, of course, pencil shading! I'm sure you've tried this at least once in your life. This is probably the most basic of the mediums. Using them in rendering is fairly easy for anyone. For your first class in VT, you will be doing the different strokes when it comes to pencil shading and you can base your techniques from there! I guess if you have the time now, you can practice smudging your pencil shading to eliminate the appearance of strokes and just create a smooth streak of gray which you'll be doing a lot of. As for the smudger, I've yet to use it. It looks like this fat crayon-shaped eraser of sorts and you can ask any art store about it if you're interested.

When it comes to pencils, the numbers and letters on the top end of the pencil are now incredibly important. With H, as the numbers rise, the lead it carries becomes harder, and in turn, makes it give lighter and lighter strokes. I use this a lot for drafting so you keep your strokes light and only visible to you and not your prof. With B, it's the exact opposite. The higher the number, the softer the lead, the darker the strokes. I use this for rendering and smudging because of the soft lead it's easy to smear so use it to your advantage!

2. Technical Pens - When you do something in ink, it means you have to use your Tech Pens. Using this is a little tricky because it's permanent and not erasable. Also, unlike pencils, you will get black from it no matter what. This is where the line values come in; when rendering with Tech Pens, you have to constantly keep your point in mind. For smaller details, you use the thinnest point you have while you use your thickest point for outlines. If your prof is good, you'll probably learn about it early on in your first semester, but if you're like me, then you will learn on your summer semester. Anyways, inking your work gives it a very professional look but it is seriously one of the trickiest mediums ever and the examples on google may look simple and easy, but it's actually really challenging.

Then again, just practice as needed! :D

3. Colored Pencils - I'm sure you've tried this medium at least once in your life, and this is the medium that needs the least explaining. Haha! When it comes to handling colored pencils, it's quite similar to doing plain old pencil shading. You can also smudge when you need to, but if I'm not mistaken, art stores sell a blender for colored pencils which also eliminate streak marks and make your rendering look smooth. Almost like paint! You'll be using this during your summer semester. It goes hand in hand with watercolor when the time comes that you have to do some mixed media. Personally, my absolute favorite is combining color pencil with watercolor mainly because they complement each other so well! My halfway decent colored pencil skills compensate for my awful watercoloring! Haha!

4. Markers - This is the medium you've been hearing so much about because just by looking at it, it feels so cool and professional. Haha! That's how I always felt. LOL on your summer semester you will be introduced to using markers and they're really simple to use because looks aside, they are still markers! The only tip with markers is to always use it accompanied with tissues because it looks bad when your strokes overlap and the point where it intersects leaves a significantly darker streak of color, and you definitely don't want that. As you can see, most markers are double-ended, and with Kurecolor, there's a fine tip and broad tip. If you choose Tria, you actually have three ways to use it! There's a synthetic brush end instead of a fine tip, a broad tip, and a cool super fine tip which is like a 0.5mm pen tip. If you feel like making the extra investment, go for Tria, and I don't think you will be disappointed. I actually really wish I had a Tria set but I was bought the complete collection of Kurecolor, which is fine too. There's just a lot more advantages to using Tria so you have to keep that in mind. You can purchase Kurecolor in all the art stores, but Tria is a bit more exclusive. You can buy it in sets at select Fully Booked stores.

5. Acrylic Paint - On your second semester, you're going to start experimenting with paint in VT. Acrylics are incredibly pigmented and thick. You can mix it with water to make it easier to handle or if you want to achieve a consistency almost like watercolor! Acrylics are relatively versatile and you can use it to create texture by using it thick to create little blobs that harden and look almost like oil paintings. You can buy it in little tubes like this one from Pebeo, but I suggest you also buy the ones in larger cans like the ones in the photo. It's good to buy a black and white in a big can, because with acrylics, you'll be doing a lot of mixing. Also, the bigger cans are actually cheaper. Just remember these are only available in Joli's. If you want you can also buy the wooden palette that artists on TV use. Haha! When you're done using it, just flatten the paint blobs and just let it dry until your next use! The result is a really artsy fartsy looking palette! Haha!

6. Watercolor - This is the dominant medium you'll be using in your entire second semester. They'll start you out with watercolor exercises like doing gradients and color wheels but after that, it gets very tricky. Personally, watercolor is the hardest medium for me. If you're a total beginner, it doesn't hurt to try it out as soon as you can because profs can be merciless to beginners. Better to know a little than none at all. I guess the only tip for watercolor is to not overthink your actions. When using watercolor, it's okay for the colors to look a bit pale and you use the white spots of your paper to your advantage. And also don't outline with black. Ever. Also, have tissues ready when using watercolor to blot out excess water as well as excess paint to avoid the paint overlaps like in markers!

When it comes to buying your watercolor, the Prang watercolor set of 16 is already really really easy to use as well as great quality of paint. Even famous artists use it. You can also detach the cover and turn it into a palette! I feel that this is definitely better than using tubed watercolor because when you squeeze the tube, there's almost always too much paint coming out and there's no way to put it back. That's what I really regret with my Pebeo watercolor set. It's great, but the amount you waste with every squeeze is so saddening. :(

Definitely, it goes without saying that you have to have great brushes when you learn how to paint. As far as brushes go, there's no noticeable difference between synthetic and animal hair. If you can get your hands on sable brushes that you can afford, by all means, buy them! But if you find them too expensive, you don't have to feel pressured to invest in them quite yet. The art stores along P. Noval sell a bunch of different brushes but I think Joli's has the most affordable and the largest variety.

The main two types of brushes are the flat and round brush. The three on top at the photo are all flat brushes and the rest in the photo are round. You definitely have to have a diverse range of brush sizes. You have to have really big ones for covering large areas, medium ones for normally sized areas, small ones for tight spots, and REALLY small ones for details and even smaller spots.

I suggest you buy a really big round brush so doing skies and other large areas won't take too much time. Then a medium sized brush like the blue one in the photo, which is my favorite! It's from Windsor & Newton but I'm not sure how much it costs because it was a gift.

Moving on, I can't stress enough how important the small brushes are. Invest in a 1, 0, and 00. If you're a nervous painter like me, these will be your saviors from making huge mistakes with bigger brushes. The 1 brush is the fourth from the bottom and it's from Berkeley which is available almost everywhere while the 00 is the one at the bottom (Also from Windsor & Newton and also a gift). The brush with the transparent body has a 0/5 which I'm not really sure what it means. It's available at Joli's.

To be honest, the brushes I only really use nowadays is the four at the bottom because they're super easy to use. And the need for a flat brush is actually almost non-existent. It's definitely better to invest in round brushes than flat ones because of the versatility of round brushes. If you're looking for really fantastic round brushes, National Bookstore carries Sakura brushes which are said to be great but expensive. Depending on the size, their brushes start at about 100+ pesos and it gets more expensive as you choose a larger brush size. As for cheaper brushes, Berkeley isn't particularly expensive so you can try them as well. Jomar's has a lot of Berkeley brushes so you can check them out there. :)

And that's pretty much it for the mediums! I have another tutorial in mind so you guys can watch out for that! If you have any questions or tutorial requests just leave them in the comment box below and I'll see what I can do! Good luck! :)


  1. Actually, all these are my favorites along with my computer. In fact, when I was young, I wished for these items inside my school bag.

  2. This can serve as a guide for students who aspire to become architects in the future. - Wanderer Juan

  3. I think the smaller brushes are really important especially to finish of those tiny corners. Same goes to pens, you'll always need the finer point.

  4. I love those photos for two reasons, first is I like how you make those photos tell a story just by looking at the pictures second was I love them because I am an artist too, painting and sketching. Thank you for sharing .

  5. I am not that artistic but i have tried drawing during school days. I used water color and colored pencil and of course crayola back then.

  6. Are those pictures above also indicative of the brands you recommend? For example, Faber Castell for colored pencils?

    1. Most of them, yeah! :) But for color pencil, Faber Castell is a great choice but from what I've seen, Prismacolor produces incredible rendering quality but it's super duper expensive. For markers, I think Tria markers are the better choice. :D

  7. I'm proud to say, I am very familiar with these..
    I completed my high school from a Vocational School, drawing and drafting is a subject that we have to take in all years, with more units than any other subject.
    What's more, if you have Architects and Engineers as your teacher, they can only expect you to produced professional results. After all, we were expected to be able to do an Architects dirty job before we even graduate.
    Technical pens were a thing of raise eyebrows for us (pandadaya), we use Speedball Dip Pens, the ones that you need to dip in an ink before you write draw a line, curve or circle in a drawing paper.
    T-squares and art tubes are our regular school accesory.
    We learned the hard way, that when time for us to go to college, architecture and drafting schools were very easy.

  8. I mm an ECE by profession and have 2 deals with tech pens during my drawing days. And I tell you It took me months bago ko magamayan how to use rightly this tech pen. Mahirap na madali pala. ha,ha,ha...

  9. I remembered using a watercolor back when I was a kid and it was a mess! Now I know the uses of the watercolor, acrylic paint. About the shades of pencils, I had no idea what does the number in the pencil means. Thanks for this post! :D

  10. Awesome! Your such a great artist! I'm using Faber-Castell too way back in college. The outcome of works are definitely good.

  11. Wow thanks for this, I will' share this to my friends

  12. I only saw your series now. KUDOS to you for coming up with a fantastic series where you can impart your knowledge and share what you know. I'm impressed with people who share share and share. That's the attitude!! You've been there before, you know what works and what doesn't so why not share it with people who are just getting into it, right?

  13. My younger sister will be surely thrilled to be reading these tips! Sending her the link right now. :)