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Perks of working in different mediums - My Journey

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

A graphite portrait of Ben Ebrell of the YouTube channel Sorted Food - Made in 2016

There was a time when I used to draw pencil portraits, and I would say, "I just don't understand colour. I'm never going to work in colour". It seems immature and funny that I would say that when I hadn't even learned to draw properly.

In order to sound more professional, I started saying "I work only in graphite". Oh, it's not pencil. It's graphite. How fancy! It was fun, relaxing and enjoyable, but every time I made a pencil portraint, I learnt nothing new. I had gotten as good as I ever would using a pencil, and I started getting bored.

Then, I discovered watercolour. And the immense possibilities that it brought. It didn't matter anymore that I didn't "understand" colour. I was just experimenting. Of course it also allowed me to buy so many new things - brushes, palettes, travel kits, watercolour sketchbooks... mmm the most delicious shopping! Mind you, I was terrible at it. I didn't know the techniques, I didn't know that you had to work from light to dark, and I was not having fun. That's because it was as different from graphite as it could be. It wasn't forgiving, it wasn't detailed, it was quick and loose. It scared me! And so, after a little bit of experimenting, I went back to my comfort zone, my old sweetheart - graphite.

Seascape Triptych (Acrylic on Canvas, 8"x10" each) - Made in 2018

Years later, I discovered acrylics. It opened a whole new world of the coveted thing that only professional artists use - CANVASES! Which meant more shopping! Yay! The thing about acrylics is that you don't realise how easy they are to work with until you actually start using them. They're the most forgiving medium ever. Make a mess, and then get your teacher to clean it up for you, and turn your scribbles into a stunning portrait.

Flamingos in Ink - Made in 2019

Some other mediums that I've tried in the recent times and thoroughly enjoyed are - Coloured Pencils, and Inktense blocks. They are both so different from anything I had ever tried, and produce results that are incredibly gorgeous!

Coloured Pencil Portrait - Made in 2017

The biggest perk of working in different mediums is that I don't get bored. Whenever I work on a coloured pencil or graphite portrait, I work so intensely on the details, which is really meditative and fun, but I always need a big and loose acrylic painting after that to refresh my brain, eyes and muscles. Similarly, whenever I do watercolors, they require so much attention and concentration, that it leaves me mentally exhausted and I refresh myself with a quick pencil drawing. There's always something new to do, requiring completely different skills so I don't get bored.

The other perk is that I get to shop! I love having so many different supplies in my studio. I also LOVE talking about my different supplies. I love being surrounded by ten different types of paper and paints of all brands and types (Yes, I have a problem). When I think about it, there's something uniquely magical about each medium that I work in. They’re supremely different from each other, not just in the way they look, but also in the way you lay them down, they way they blend, how quick they are, and how involved you need to be when working with them.

Talking about my two favourite mediums, graphite and acrylics, I have realised that I like acrylics more because, with acrylics, I love the feeling of creating, while with graphite, I loved the feeling of having created. So, acrylics are my no. 1 - At least for now :)

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