Thursday, June 1, 2017

Onward, Urban Couches! (Plus White Writing Trick)

5/29/17 ink, water-soluble colored pencils
The Memorial Day holiday weekend is historically a popular time for moving in and out of rentals, so I was on the hunt . . . and I bagged one in the Wedgwood neighborhood! My urban couches series resumes! The first one of the season is always so satisfying.

Bonus: I think I’ve inadvertently come up with a trick for getting better results when using a white gel pen with colored pencils. Although opaque gel pens work well on dark colored paper, results are spotty when mixed with other water-soluble media. The gel pens themselves are water soluble, so I often get a muddy mess when I try to write over water-soluble colored pencils, and the white writing no longer shows. (I had the same problem in the past when I used gel pens with watercolors.)

Detail of street sign written with white gel pen
For this street sign, I tried writing with a white gel pen on the sign first, and my intention was to carefully pencil around the writing with colored pencil afterwards, hopefully keeping the writing untouched. But what happened was that I had pressed hard enough with the gel pen that it inscribed the paper, so when I colored over it with the colored pencil, the letters stayed white – not because of the gel ink but because of the inscribing. (This trick would work with any sharp instrument, like a dead ballpoint pen. It’s a known colored pencil and graphite pencil technique, but I’ve never had opportunity to use it in urban sketching, and I wasn’t consciously thinking about it for this sketch.) Even when I activated the colored pencil, the letters stayed relatively clean. Although I didn’t do the lettering as neatly as I wish I had, I like the results better than I usually do when trying to make white lettering show up. Cool trick, huh?


  1. omg "urban couches series"??? As a fellow citizen living in a college town in the PNW, I love this.

    1. Send me the GPS coordinates if you spot one -- I'll be right over! ;-)

      - Tina


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...