Friday, March 26, 2021

Tonal Garlic

3/24/21 graphite on Yupo; colored pencil on Stonehenge Aqua Black and Fawn

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my pandemic hand series, it’s how to have fun with toned paper. My initial intentions with using brightly colored papers were simply to keep myself entertained and to give each sketch a visual spark. It didn’t take long, though, to remember how handy (ha) colored paper can be for studying values. Using any color as the mid-tone, applying white and a dark color for two other values is expeditious. I like the way the colored pages trick me into thinking I’ve found a convenient shortcut when, in fact, I am learning more about values.

I’m still playing with Legion Stonehenge papers for reviews I’m writing, and the sample set includes a lovely Fawn color (slightly warmer and lighter than Stillman & Birn’s beige) that I am enjoying. This subtle tone also offers the additional challenge of transparent colored pencils interacting with a warm undertone.

As for black, you already know how much I love working with that brain-busting challenge. I’m not sure I like the strong texture of this Stonehenge cold press, at least with colored pencil, but I bet the paper’s heavy weight would be nice with gouache.

(Visit the Well-Appointed Desk for my full reviews of these paper samples.)


  1. I like using the toned paper too. For some things it really makes a big difference. All three of these look great!

    1. I like the way you use toned papers, too! It does change the way colors and values are planned.


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