Colored Pencil Painting Bible, by Alyona Nickelsen – a book review

Alyona Nickelsen is one awesome artist, her talents bedazzled me when I first saw her work.  She is best known for her realist colored pencil drawings that take on the look of paintings.  When I started drawing 2 1/2 years ago I didn’t even know that colored pencils were a form of medium – lol, that’s how green I was.

By chance I saw Alyona’s book on Amazon, the reviews were off the chart and when I went through a sneak peek, I became mesmerized by the information she shared on techniques for using the medium and the quality of her work.

Through Alyona’s book I became very interested in using colored pencil as a medium, but I wasn’t quite ready to take on a new medium.  I think the reason I never pursued it, is because I had my hands filled with learning the basics of painting and how to paint with oil pastels.  I wasn’t ready to tackle another medium – doesn’t mean I won’t in the future.  Here are the top three things that I learned from reading this book:

  • Chapter 3 is all about Mastering Essential Techniques, and not just the basics of making pencil strokes but using tools to fuse colors, burnishing, lightening values, smoothing out pencil strokes and creating highlights.  And, if that wasn’t enough roughening the paper, negative painting and powder brushing.  This chapter opened my eyes to the wonderful world of colored pencil and how versatile the medium was.  Oh, did I mention these are only some of the techniques Alyona explains.
  • My favorite chapter (#4) is all about Creating Textures and Surfaces – love it!  She gets into color and values, clouds, greenery, leaves, ferns, flowers, rendering water and fire, and surfaces.  This only names a few of the subject areas illustrated.  Are you interested in silver, glass, pearls, fabrics, and fruits and vegetables?  They are covered as well and of course all with a demonstration.
  • And finally, there is a chapter that provides 12 detailed exercises that allow you to follow along with Alyona as she draws a variety of subjects – she holds nothing back so that you gain an understanding of her techniques.

If you are interested in the techniques of drawing with colored pencils, I can’t think of a better reference book for you.  You won’t be disappointed – it can be purchased on Amazon.  Best wishes for continued creativity!

About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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10 Responses to Colored Pencil Painting Bible, by Alyona Nickelsen – a book review

  1. Nice! Thanks for sharing, Mary! 🙂
    By the way I just nominated you for the ABC award!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Cha, thank you so much for commenting. And a big thank you for the ABC Award – I really appreciate your gesture and will pass it along. Thank you so much!

  2. That’s a lovely review.. And I understand about sticking with a medium you have started on; but you are quite the master in oil pastels from what I see of your work now… I am sure you will be making great works in colored pencils soon enough. 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thanks very much for your kind comments – I do love oil pastels and discover something new every I paint with this medium. I think colored pencils will be something for me to play around with when I want to change things up a bit, but not intending to abandon OPs – they’re too much fun. Thank you!!

  3. artscottnet says:

    Thank you for this information, Mary. It looks a wonderful book which I plan to get!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Scott, glad you liked the information – it’s a great resource. No doubt you’ll find a lot of good information to incorporate into your colored pencil quest.

  4. Francesca says:

    I agree with you, Mary. I like to focus on whatever I’m into until I master it before passing on to a different thing.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Francesca, thanks very much. I’m glad I made the decision to stay with oil pastels – it’s been a great medium to learn and grow as an artist. Thanks!!

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