It’s May and for some it might be time to start thinking about Summer vacations! With all the planning and ramping up for both leisure and excitement it’s more important than ever to take breaks and focus on you. Relaxing and decompressing from a day of meticulous planning with some art is how we here at Curry’s love to unwind.

This month’s box contains some of the classic:
A Canson side coil sketch book perfect for on-the-go or sit-down artists. The Canson XL is a line that combines performance with value and is designed specifically with students in mind. Draw & respect the environment at the same time with this drawing pad from Canson, made from 30% post-consumer content. This recycled fold over pad contains 100 sheets of medium tooth 74gsm/50lbs paper, and is ideal for use with pencil, charcoal, pastel, conte, pens and gouache. 100% cellulose, alkaline buffered and acid-free.

A set of Conte, made from the best pigments and raw materials, Mungyo Conte Sticks are firmer than soft pastels but still velvety smooth and highly blendable in application. These drawing pastel conte sticks are consistent in their texture, excellent for sketching and drawing.

Several colored pencils by Polycolor; This brand uses professional grade line of pencils that use Koh-I-Noor's unique blend of oils and premium pigments in every color core. These oils along with other binders allow the Polycolor pencil to create dense, even strokes without the use of heavy pressure. The 3.8mm lead diameter allows for shading with a broad edge, or fine sharpening for detail work. The end result is a water-resistant, non-toxic pencil that layers and blends beautifully without a waxy buildup.

That’s just a little bit of what’s in store, we’ve packed a few other great products to better enhance your drawing experience!

Explore, have fun, and be amazed by the creativity within you!

Please SHARE YOUR CREATIONS with us! Check out our social media channels, give us a follow and post what you create this month (and every month) using Hashtag: #CurrysArtWellness in your comments. We'd love to see what you make!

Remember - our customer service team is here to help with any questions, or creative suggestion with this month's box or any other ideas you have that are waiting to be explored!


Video transcript:

Hi and welcome to Curry’s creativity wellness box inspirational video! This video will focus on coloring and sketching. So we’re going to work with the solo set, here’s everything you get. We get a sketchbook, some conte pastels, some graphite blocks, two sharpie fineliners, a posca paint pen and an array of polycolor koh-i-noor pencil crayons.

So, I always like to start off with experimenting with the mediums that I get in the box. So I’m just going to make some swatches of everything by just making some different lines and just prepare for any art that I’m going to make. If you haven't used a Posca paint pen before, to get these activated, you press down on the nib on a scrap piece of paper to activate it. Next I’m going to try out my conte. These are great because you can use the whole side like this or you can use the tip to sort of get a finer line. They are smudgeable, erasable and really fun to do life drawing or figure drawing with. Same with your graphite blocks.

So there’s a few different ways you can blend pencil crayons. Firstly, you can jus go the pressure route. Making even layers, building up your pressure and adjusting when necessary and then there are different routes like using burnishers, blenders, stomps, solvents and some people even use baby oil! I’m going to experiment a little bit with that. So it does blend it nicely, but you do get a bit of an oil ring once it dries. My go-to method is burnishing/blending with a Q-tip. So when blending it out, it is actually flattening the tooth of the paper and blending the pencil crayon into that. So that is my favorite method, but have fun experimenting with it.

So, my first piece, I’m going to start off by sketching it out with a pencil I already have. I think the biggest thing about using pencil crayons is layering in a really even fashion and building your color up gradually. If you go straight in, it's really hard to subtract- they do erase a bit but we want to work in nice even layers, so that’s what I’m doing here. I’m coloring in a lemon so I really want to look at the undertones of that lemon and build those up naturally. I’m starting with brown and building a light later up of shadows, or just little bits of the lemon that are bumpy or will show you a bit of texture. Now, I’m going in with my yellow and building that up slowly as well. As I’m shading, I really like to go with the shape of whatever I’m drawing so I can help it look a little less 2D and a little more 3D. So again, here I’m going back and forth between my colours and building it up with a really soft pressure. If you go in a little too hard with your colour, you will get a little bit of a wax build up which will kind of resist more colour going on top, so that’s why it’s really important to just be patient and enjoy the process.
I’m adding a little bit of green and then I'm going back in to do some soft blending with the side of my pencil. A trick to blending is you can use a Q-tip. This is something I like to do, it just sort of presses down the colour you put down and flatten the tooth of the paper so it will blending a bit, it’s not a huge difference but it does blending the edges.
I’m taking the same approaches with my leaves. Just understanding where they are folding and where shadows are going to lay and really paying attention to where I’m going to layer more and where to layer less. I’m really utilizing the brown for the shadows in this piece, it just helps that shadow stand out but not be too hard with a black. I’m going back in with my Q-tip to do a bit of blending. And again, taking a look at a reference photo or reference object, really look at the undertones to see what colours are poking through and what colours are mixing to make a whole new colour.
Using pencil crayons  is a really nice meditative practice for making art. I find doing the layering is really therapeutic and you have to be really patient to build that colour up to what you want the final look to be, and there’s something really satisfying about it when you get that look you were going for. So I'm just going back and forth between colours, really blending that out and here is the final piece. A lot of patience went into this and it looks great. An alternate background I did; I added some blue just to see what that would look like.

My second one is going to be for the conte. I love conte for figure drawing, life drawing, anything like that. I’m going to do a quick little study of my hand, so I am going to mark that out with shapes first and then go in with a darker finer line. I like marking it out really lightly before so then my final marks can really stand out and the light marks where you're studying before really add I think to the finished composition. I also like to break these sticks in half so I can get a shorter mark when I'm using the whole side of it, like I’m doing here around the hand. You can also go in and do the same sort of techniques with the graphite, and it just adds a little more definition to your drawing.

Here’s another example of that, I’m going to do a quick side profile, using the side of my conte and just really mapping in my darks. I’m going for a really sketchy look which I think conte is great for. I’m going back in with my Q-tip and smudging that out, you could use your finger, a blending stomp. This is a really great medium to use if you ever take a still life or figure drawing class, it's really just forgiving and the gestural marks you can make with it can be really exciting. You can get a lot of movement with this medium.

So the last piece I’m going to do, I’m going to treat it more like it’s a colouring page. So I've drawn a design and I’m going to trace that with my sharpie fineliner, and then colour it in just like you would with a regular colouring page.
Now that it’s all outlined, I’m going to fill in with my pencil crayons. So again, just building up the colours and doing a little more line work with the other colours like this green to really try and showcase the petal. If you were a part of our last wellness box, you would have gotten some Copic markers! Now Copic works beautifully with pencil crayons, they really help blend them out and you can get sort of a marker pencil crayon hybrid look, so I really enjoy using them together because they blend so nicely together. A lot of pencil colour artists love using them as a tool.
You could go ahead and use the colourless blender but I wanted to use this yellow here to really help accentuate the colour that I was already laying down. I’m also going to use this pink as it’ll kind of create an orangey, peachy look and I just want to add a few more little colour stories within the petals.
So I’m going to do the same thing with the stem and the leaves. I'm layering up my colour and then again, I’m going in with my green copic which is going to blend this nicely and help me lay down the shadows as I can get a darker colour with this.
I’m going to use the side of my graphite block to just do a little bit of a shadow off to the side, and there’s our final piece!

Thank-you so much for watching, I hope you have so much fun experimenting with all of these sketching tools. Please, if you have any questions, send us an email or give us a call. Don’t forget to share your creations using the hashtag #CurrysArtWellness. Thanks again! Bye!

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