Sunday, 25 February 2018

Michael Warr - Caran D' Ache Demonstration

Professional Artist Michael Warr’s jovial manner not only entertained the art club but he shared some useful tips and techniques.

Caran D’Ache (Russian for pencil) was established in 1915, so they have had a 100 years of perfecting quality artist materials. Their pencils are made from cedar wood they are easy to sharpen.

Prismalo Aquarelle the worlds first water-soluble pencils were launched in 1931. They are harder than the Supracolor soft Aquarelle. Always use a watercolour paper for these pencils. Michael demonstrated the use of both types of pencil. The line in the drawing cannot be washed out if you use the ‘point’ of the pencil. Angle the pencil at about 10 degrees and use the side of the lead;  then a wash with a brush will produce soft edges.

Museum Aquarelle are water-soluble pencils of extra-fine quality suitable for watercolour painting and drawing. Blue wool scale measures the resistance to light when the colours are exposed to light. Light fastness range from ** to *****. Certain colours will remain unaltered for 100 years.


  • Overlay dry colours to dry paper to mix the colours before adding water (taking care NOT to flood the paper).
  • Draw on damp paper.
  • Mix the pigment with water and apply with a brush.
  • Make a palette on paper and use like paint.
  • Mist with fine water (useful for Neocolor II) to get a soft edge.
  • Use an on old stiff oil painting brush to lift out colour (good indicating sun rays).
  • Bright greens can be knocked back by toning them down  with touch of burnt sienna.
  • Once dry, you can work over the drawing again.
  • Sgraffito work can be done using both Neocolor I (water-resistant) and Neocolour II (water-soluble).
  • Gouache can be used to work light over dark.

Compatible with other watercolours the pencils are easy to transport and take on holiday.

Neocolor II

These are water-soluble wax pastel crayons. More suitable to expressive drawing rather than fine detailed work. A poppy was drawn using Neocolor II, and outlined in waterproof Indian ink with a stick before applying water. The residue crayon doesn’t disperse but leaves a nice texture.


Gouache is made in pans as well as tubes. It is an opaque medium made of finely ground chalk (better quality than poster paints). It dilutes like watercolour but you can paint light over dark. This is useful when drawing on tinted paper or card.

Fibralo brush and Fancolor

Water-soluble brush pens, water-soluble fibre tipped pens, all water-based ink available in a range of colours.  Useful for doing quick studies.

Two hours passed very quickly and it was good to see the real work. Michaels’s graphite work is fabulous, and no further time for photography, but you can find examples of his work in his books. 

A special thank you to Michael and Caran D’ Ache for an inspiring evening. At our next painting together session our ‘freebie’ products will be available for all of us to try.