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Colored Pencil Painting Bible: Techniques for Achieving Luminous Color and Ultrarealistic Effects Paperback – March 17, 2009

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Colored Pencil Painting Bible: Techniques for Achieving Luminous Color and Ultrarealistic Effects + Prismacolor Blender Pencil   Colorless, 2-pack (962) + Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (March 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823099202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823099207
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (248 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ALYONA NICKELSEN is an award-winning artist whose work has been featured in numerous national and international exhibitions as well as in most of the country’s major art magazines, including American Artist, American Artist Drawing, The Artist’s Magazine, International Artist, American Art Collector, and Art Business News. Ms. Nickelsen is a signature member of the Colored Pencil Society of America, the International Guild of Realism, and the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club. Her work is currently represented by galleries in Carmel, California, and Reno, Nevada. She is the founder of the Online Colored Pencil Painting School. Ms. Nickelsen lives with her family in Southern California.

More About the Author

"It is time to start everything over!" said Alyona and she did it. New family, new country, new life, new Alyona...

Alyona was born and raised in Ukraine. Since childhood she has drawn for teachers and fellow students, published school newspapers, created posters, displays and entire art shows for various school events. "I guess I have always been an artist at heart. However, my art took a breather while I concentrated on completing my education and dealt with life's various surprises", she says.

Her creative bent awoke again after moving to Southern California in 1999. "Before now, circumstances kept me from taking my art seriously. Now is the right time, thanks to my wonderful husband Tom for his support and patience. Everything that has been and will be created I dedicate to him!"

From the beginning Alyona's favorite medium has been graphite and charcoal. However, colored pencils have now captured her inspiration and creativity. "I began to understand that a medium I had overlooked from childhood could do so much more than just sketch and produce a wondrous array of colors and tones. I discovered new systems and methods that changed my perceptions and molded the results into something more than I had previously thought possible", she says.

"A great influence on my work has been the talent of Hans Christian Andersen", Alyona says. "He could weave very innovative stories about the simple events in every day life and make them fascinating to listen to. I use the language of shapes and colors to do the same with my paintings. Capture the simple movement of a leaf caught in a breeze and, though it may happen the same exact way only once in all of nature's complexity, it is saved for a lifetime when rendered by my pencils."

"People always ask me: Are you sure this is colored pencil?" Alyona's paintings really don't look like what you would expect from colored pencils. She applies numerous layers of color to give the drawing an oil painting effect. "Since colored pencils require long and tedious hours to achieve the exact effect desired it is critical to carefully and meticulously plan the process of creating each piece. Knowledge of the medium's essences, constant improvement of skills and techniques, searching for new ways to use the medium and being open to experimentation are crucial keys for success. Hard work and passion brings results. I am enjoying my journey and looking forward to new challenges."

Alyona's work has been exhibited in many national and international shows, won numerous awards and has been displayed in many private and public collections throughout the United States. Alyona is a Signature Member of Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA), Full Member of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club and Juried Member of International Guild of Realism.

Alyona devotes all of her time and energy by creating pieces that reflect her matchless views and sharing her passion with art lovers. Visit her website:

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Customer Reviews

Great book for the novice and expert artist.
Linda-Diann Wortham
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in art and learning to use colored pencil.
The techniques are given in easy to understand steps and beautifully illustrated.
Doreen Hackett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

404 of 418 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Sloan on March 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Colored Pencil Painting Bible: Techniques for Achieving Luminous Color and Ultra-Realistic Effects

I've long enjoyed Alyona Nickelsen's newsletter from [...] so I was aware of the beauty of her brilliant hyper-realistic colored pencil paintings. She favors Prismacolors on Stonehenge paper, with a fine eye for incredible detail and the patience of a saint to create rather large works with incredible, meticulous workmanship.

I already have several other good volumes on colored pencil realism -- Cecile Baird's Painting Light with Colored Pencils, Arlene Steinberg's Masterful Color, and quite a few Gary Greene volumes. I've successfully done colored pencils realism for years and have used Prismacolors since I was a high school kid in 1971 when I twisted my grandmother's arm to get the largest set of colored pencils then available -- 72 Prismacolors. I never looked back.

I looked at this new book as a sweet addition to my library. Some new projects, maybe a few things I'd never run into. I did not expect to find so many useful tips when I've already got so many good volumes! Alyona Nickelsen is an inventive person. She has her own solutions to many technical details about using the medium and she has a prose style that makes extremely advanced concepts clear even to a complete beginner.

I'm also a fiction writer and a good judge of writing style. English is not Ms. Nickelsen's native language -- and I believe this gives her a little bit of an advantage in explaining things.
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112 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Naomi Manygoats on April 15, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Finally- a truly outstanding and beautifully researched and presented book on today's colored pencil artwork. The appendix alone is worth the price of the book- which has charts showing the lightfast ratings of (almost) all major brands of colored pencils (including the brand new Caran d'Ache Luminance pencils, Derwent Colorsoft, Faber-Castell Polychromos and many more)...well, all except standard Prismacolors since the manufacturers would not give the author that information. A very useful color index is also given for colors when it was available, which gives you information about what pigments were used in the manufacture of the pencils...and another thing I have been wanting- an up-front break-down of which pencils are waxed based and which are oil based.

This book has all the information you will need- such as materials, including much needed information on solvents to achieve a paintery look that puts colored pencils out of the 'drawing' stage and into the 'fine art painting' stage. Information about how to rough up paper to achieve certain effects (such as orange peel)and how to frame colored pencils is included, and a great (and easily understandable) section on color theory, light (and shadows). Her explanations are so clear and easy to understand that they are like a breath of fresh air.

Mastering Essential Techniques is a terrific section, that includes the use of photos and photoshop. I loved seeing the equipment she uses too- including the new electric hot and cold colored pencil drawing tablet.
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98 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Captain Doc on March 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an outstanding and exciting book for those of us who love the control and feel of pencil drawing, but have longed for the intense colors, textures and realism of other media such as oils or acrylics - yet didn't want the expense and mess of those methods. Alyona's text is extremely well written - clear and helpful, with excellent illustrations. The examples of her art contained in the book are stunning. She also will provide pdf files via email of outlines and original photographs for the student to use in learning and practicing the techniques outlined in the text, for those who purchase the book and then contact her. Her correspondance with me clearly indicates her desire to instruct and share the joys of colored pencil with others, an enthusiasm quite clear throughout the book as well.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jerilyn L. Robinson on August 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
In the last three years I've purchased six or seven colored pencil books. With each book I took out my pencils, paper and other materials to work on various exercises spelled out in the publications. A few months ago I read about Alyona Nickelsen's book, Colored Pencil Painting Bible - Techniques for Achieving Luminous Color and Ultra-realistic Effects in an art magazine. This book is clear, well organized and takes the reader step by step through her colored painting process. Alyona also shares special techniques and methods she uses to create her colored pencil painting. I began to experiment with these methods. The instructions are easy to follow and the exercises are thoughtfully spelled out. I was so excited about the results I was having that I emailed her and enrolled in her online Course 1 which is an in-depth study of some principles in her book. I learned so much during this one month course with Alyona who is dynamic, demanding and very supportive. I have now finished her challenging Course 2 and am looking forward to participating in Course 3.

Jeri Robinson
Santa Barbara, CA
August 2009
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