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Colored Pencil for the Serious Beginner: Basic Lessons in Becoming a Good Artist Paperback – September 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Serious Beginner
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823007618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823007615
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bet Borgeson is the author of one of Watson-Guptill's all-time best-sellers—The Colored Pencil. Her work is published widely in the United States and Europe, and she intructs ongoing workshops. Borgeson lives in Portland, Oregon.

More About the Author

In the August, 1982 issue of American Artist magazine, artist and teacher Bet Borgeson wrote the first article in the U.S. on the techniques for using colored pencils as a fine art medium.

The following year Watson-Guptill Publications of N.Y. published her--and the colored pencil medium's--first book, "The Colored Pencil."

How this came about started after she graduated from Oregon's Portland State University. Although colored pencil as a fine art medium was not then generally familiar to the public Borgeson used it as her medium of choice and loved it. She began to exhibit artwork in various Pacific Northwest galleries and museums. But it became increasingly clear to her that its unique handling characteristics and potential were not well understood by other artists or the general public. Borgeson recalls, "I was standing near one of my pieces in a gallery and a visitor was telling her companion that she thought my artwork was a print or a watercolor! Colored Pencil was not even mentioned!" Since Borgeson was already teaching oil painting by this time, she decided that she should additionally be spreading the word about colored pencils.

To further explore the techniques of this medium and to devise new ways of using it, Bet Borgeson realized that she was going to have to find other artists who were using colored pencils. The manufacturer of Prismacolor colored pencils generously agreed to open their files to acquaint her with other artists using their brand of pencils. She began contacting these artists and others throughout the U. S. and after a three-year effort developed and organized many new and vital techniques for colored pencils. It also led to the publishing of her first book, "The Colored Pencil." This proved to be a groundbreaking book.

The wide and international distribution during this book's first year, a second book the following year plus a pivotal interview with her by Susan Stamberg of NPR's "All Things Considered" have since been credited with ushering in an explosion of new international interest and enthusiasm for colored pencils as a fine art medium.

After "The Colored Pencil" was published and while conducting art workshops around the US for the next 15 years, Borgeson wrote five additional titles.

Color Drawing Workshop,
Colored Pencil Fast Techniques,
The Colored Pencil, Revised & Updated Edition,
Colored Pencil for the Serious Beginner, and
Basic Colored Pencil Techniques.

At the present time fine art executed in colored pencil enjoys worldwide patronage by private and public collectors and institutions. In 1990 the Colored Pencil Society of America was formed and has celebrated their 20th Anniversary. There are also international groups devoted to colored pencil, and there are at least 70 books published in the US written by various accomplished artists who work in this medium.

Bet Borgeson resides on the coast of Southern California, and continues to work in her favorite medium. She occasionally teaches colored pencil workshops but in 1999 she began teaching colored pencil courses online at Borgesonstudio.com and continues working with students around the globe to this present day.

Customer Reviews

This is one of the best books on colored pencil I have found.
Angel Lee
This instructional book is wonderfully illustrated, has easily understood information on materials and techniques, and great written instruction.
Pamela S Timm
Even as a somewhat-experienced artist I found this book to be at just the perfect level.
Kathy P. Jamison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 97 people found the following review helpful By aspiringartist@excite.com on March 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
It seems a deep chasm yawns between the amateur artist and the emerging artist. This insightful and instructional book bridges that gap. Finally, a book that addresses how to move beyond the beginner stage! The author's generous advice is clear, relevant and timely. And you don't have to be a colored pencil artist to benefit---the majority of the book is applicable to other media as well. Written in a rare, articulate style, the author delivers provocative theories and philosophies not found elsewhere in art instruction books. An added bonus: detailed reproductions, in-progress artwork by the author, and no skimping on text. A most valuable addition to your personal art library.
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96 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Angel Lee HALL OF FAME on April 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books on colored pencil I have found. The artwork is beautiful and the instructions are superb. Projects and techniques are demonstrated step-by-step with color illustrations and photos.
The book starts with an overview of materials and tools including great advice of setting up a workspace. Then, it covers the fundaments of drawing such as perspective, volume, space, form and composition. The demonstration and discussion of color mixing and creating edges is excellent. This really helped me a lot. The book then goes on to help you really get started by giving tips on finding inspiration, using photographs, tracing and deciding when your project is finished. It explains color lifting and impressed line techniques as well as helping you build your own style.
The next section focuses of still life and floral drawings. It covers selecting and setting up a still life and well as lighting it. There are two great demonstrations of this. It nice that one included the photo the artist worked from making it easy to practice what the author describes. A section on landscapes follows. This gives all kinds of advice from working on location to assembling the elements of a basic photography kit. There is a great discussion on finding the perfect setting and center of interest, as well as using color to suggest space. There are two demonstrations here as well, showing both naturalistic and fantasy landscapes.
The afterward on integrating art into your life and selling your artwork is great for the serious artist. Whether you are just starting out or having been using colored pencil as a medium for a while this is a wonderful book on the subject.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Kathy P. Jamison on August 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
Even as a somewhat-experienced artist I found this book to be at just the perfect level. While basic for anyone new to colored pencil, the book is by no means simplistic. It is intelligently written, and well illustrated. After finishing it (which I found to be as difficult as putting down any good novel) I felt I'd found a new awareness about the medium. Since, I have been excitedly pursuing all Borgeson taught me through her wonderful book. Note: A special reading treat at the end is her own prespective/insight on being an artist, whether choosing to be amatuer or professional. I highly recommend this as a good A to Z study.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By kitjank VINE VOICE on August 12, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having worked with pastels and finding I didn't like them, I decided to explore colored pencil. I don't think I could have found a better book! However, the title although not misleading, but perhaps confusing. If you are a beginner, in the sense that you have never picked up a pencil and want to learn to draw, and think this book will show you, it won't. Put it on your wish list until you are ready for it, and check out some books on drawing. I like Betty Edwards and Lee Hammond. If you already have some drawing skill, even very basic, then this is a great book to get into the world of color. This book is more of a technique than a how-to. I've found it very inspiring. However, no matter how good a book is, nothing can replace art lessons from a good teacher. If you are truly a "serious beginner" sign up for a class and use this book as a supplement at home.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
Not only is the book crammed with great technical information, but the chapter on being a professional artist, prioritising time for art, etc. is terrific.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful By melrose on April 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
When she says serious... in the last few pages she tells you about becoming a full time artist, pros and cons kind of thing and options. She gives suggestions of places you can look into to show your work, but does not tell you how, just where to go. She does however say to go to the library to find out more or the internet. I guess most people don't know that, to me it is obvious. But hey, now you know and you didn't have to buy the book!

The artwork in the book sucks. It lacks depth and looks flat. Sure there is color, but it all seems to have the same pressure to it. Some may be better than others, buy my eyes don't want to look at it long. So, a tip that I know in becoming a serious artist is that if you actually want people to buy your work, you will want to create something that captures the attention of the viewer and keeps them there. The more they look at your work or the longer, the more likely they will buy it. The only one in there that looked pretty cool was the monopoly picture.

It's odd, she shows some basic examples of creating the illusion of 3D using tonal values from light to dark as well as discussing form, volume and space... but does not fully carry it through in her own work.

I just think if your going to learn from an artist, you would want to learn from someone who can give a good example. Why not learn it the right way the first time? There are too many other books that could do it better for ya. Check out books by Ann Kullberg, Janie Gildow, Gary Greene, Vera Curnow, or even Bernard Poulin. These artists have books for beginners and advanced, check them out and find the level best for you. They are better examples to follow. And if you want to start selling find a book strickly for that. Though Ann Kullberg, in "colored pencil portraits step-by-step has a section where she explains how she sells her portraits.
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