One of the things I love about Color Pencil Drawing is the portability of this medium. Not only are color pencils easy to take with you because they take up as little or as much space as you are willing to give them, they can also be used in just about any environment without making any mess at all. It’s the perfect medium for travelers for just that reason.
Here’s a real life example:
Recently, I had to squeeze into an economy seat on a Condor flight from Seattle to Frankfurt, Germany. In case you haven’t sat in one of those seats for a 10 solid hour stretch of time before: it is not fun! I am 5’3″ about 115 lbs, which I consider an economy sized human frame. When sitting on a plane nowadays, my knees almost touch the back of the seat in front of me. What I am trying to say is that there is not a whole lot of space on a plane.
However, if you are a color pencil artist, there’s no need to fret. I brought these items on board with me:
- Several white color pencils. One Faber-Castell Polychromos, for detail work (hard oil based pencil); one Prismacolor for thicker coverage (soft wax-based pencil) and one Derwent, just because I like the creamy delivery.
- One pencil sharpener (Dahle, about $25)
- One eraser by Mono (fine point)
- Several pieces of black mat board
- One printed-out image of my husband’s face in black & white with heightened contrast (done on my computer and printer at home)
- One small clip (office supplies)
I clipped the print-out to the top of a couple of the black mats, which stabilized the picture, then set it on the little fold-out table propped against the seat back of the seat in front of me and went to work on the other black mat. I was off to artist-land. Before I knew it, hours had passed while drawing, melting away as they tend to do. A trip to the bathroom, a second meal and a nice chat with my seat neighbor about my drawing, and then it was time for a quick nap before landing in Frankfurt.
I have worked with fiber for years. You cannot hand quilt on a plane. I’ve tried. You can knit, but some countries will not let you take knitting or crochet needles on a plane. Oil or acrylic paint are not going to work for obvious reasons, and neither is messy pastel or charcoal. Color pencil drawing and perhaps cross stitch are the only productive artsy/craftsy things I have found useful while locked into a severely cramped space.
I will say this for long overseas flights: When I know I will be in this same square footage for ten hours I suddenly develop something my husband claims I don’t have: patience! I don’t feel the need to rush. There’s nothing else a have to or even could do. Consequently, I approached the drawing of my husband’s face with a calm expectation that I would be able to proceed carefully and be able to complete the portrait without interruption.
I think it turned out well.