Sunday, April 13, 2014

Value Sketch at the Park

4/13/14 Koh-I-Noor Tri-Tone colored pencils, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
We seem to be skipping over spring and going straight to summer! The temperature was up to the mid-60s this afternoon, and wherever I looked at Maple Leaf Park, people were dressed in shorts and flip-flops. (Although I wasn’t quite ready for shorts, I regretted the socks I was wearing.)

As I settled down on a bench and pulled out my usual pen and watercolors, something about the playground scene reminded me that I still hadn’t done a sketch for this week’s Urban Sketchers Flickr group theme, Value Drawing – “Don’t draw lines, only tones.” And then I remembered that I had done a monochrome ink sketch of the same scene about a year ago. The busy-ness of the playground and the two trees and their shadows must lend themselves to tonal sketching.

When I’m using watercolors, I feel compelled to create hues that match reality as much as possible. I know I don’t have to, but I can’t seem to help myself. When I’m focusing on value, though, I feel liberated to use any color. And so it was today when I pulled out the only two pencils in my bag: Koh-I-Noor Tri-Tone colored pencils, one with shades of green and a second with an odd mix of reds and pale blue. The fact that they were both somewhat unsharp also saved me from the temptation to draw in details. I don’t use graphite pencils much, but these multi-hued pencils are a fun kick in the pants!


  1. This really works with the tonal sketch!!! I like how you use the multihued pencils.

  2. I see that Koh I Noir has discontinued them but they are still "findable." We are on a really tight budget now and I am straying to figure out how much I will regret not trying them. Any advice?

    1. Hi Hope,

      I like these pencils for quick sketches because I can get complex colors without using multiple pencils. If you can find the Koh-i-Noor pencils open stock, you can try just one and see if you like it. Do you live in the U.S.?


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