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Masterful Color: Vibrant Colored Pencil Paintings Layer by Layer Paperback – September 22, 2011

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Masterful Color: Vibrant Colored Pencil Paintings Layer by Layer + Colored Pencil Painting Bible: Techniques for Achieving Luminous Color and Ultrarealistic Effects + Prismacolor Blender Pencil   Colorless, 2-pack (962)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: North Light Books; Reprint edition (September 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440310297
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440310294
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Arlene Steinberg holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University. She worked as a textile and wallpaper designer for more than 20 years before retiring and putting her talents toward realistic painting with colored pencil. Her colored pencil paintings have won many awards in regional and national exhibitions, and she has been published in American Artist Drawing magazine. Arlene teaches in Long Island, New York, where she lives, as well as nationally and in Canada. She and her friend Gemma Gylling run a web board,, for artists who use drawing media. Visit her website at Steinberg lives in Glen Head, New York.

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Customer Reviews

The illustrations are accurate and the step by step lessons are very helpful.
Her explanation of color and in particular the use of complementary color underpaintings are particularly informative.
It is a must have for all colored pencil artists and for anyone who wants to learn about colored pencil.
Carrie L. Lewis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you love colored pencils, a relatively new art medium, and you like realism, especially still lifes in the style of the Old Masters, this book is definitely for you. Yes, that is a painting on the cover of the book, not a photo! Incredible, isn't it?

Ms. Steinberg's technique is stunning. She layers and burnishes the pigments of these waxy pencils until the result is a deep, dark, brilliant work with incredible depth and sparkle. Many times during the pages of demonstrations, I was thinking "I'd have stopped THERE" when the painting (drawing) was half-done, and the result would have been just fine, but Steinberg continues adding layers until the painting glows in great contrast. She shares these techniques with many photos of work in progress. There are also pages of color swatches of pencils, with the color listing for the most popular American brand used.

Among the many resources in the book are line drawings of the demonstration paintings, so the student can practice the color layering technique without first worrying about draughtsmanship. In addition, the drawings show the method Steinberg uses to achieve ultra-realism (you can see in the line drawing of the marbles featured on the cover, for example, that each reflection and shadow inside the marble is delineated carefully.)

Steinberg counsels the artist to continue and not worry about the intermediate steps of the painting because the burnishing step alters the final result. Burnishing is done with a colorless pencil, which has a waxy component that blends and melts the layers to achieve a smoother, darker result and blended highlights.
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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Matt Chapman on April 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm sure there are one or two books on Colored Pencils that have been published in the last 15 years that I don't own. However, I have only been Colored Pencil painting for about 3 years. It's difficult for me to push aside all of those books and to say this is the best I've seen, but I have! There are a few that have been in my Top 5 for awhile. Ann Kullberg's Colored Pencil Portraits Step by Step and Capturing Soft Realism in Colored Pencil are the #1 reason why I picked up a colored pencil. Cecile Baird Painting Light With Colored Pencil has been at the #1 spot for me because of her use of burnishing to make a colored pencil painting look super-realistic. Masterful Color bumped itself into the #1 spot within a few days. Ms. Steinberg's explanation of color theory and in particular the Grisaille (pronounced: greez-eye) Method was in depth but easy to understand. Her "Photography 101" section was written in a way so I finally understand aperture and exposure speed, and it took 5 sentences, which was worth the price of the book right there.

I pre-ordered this book on August 3, 2007, and I finally got it about 2 weeks ago. The book now looks more used than many of the books that take up so much room in my den.

I have read just through to the beginning of Chapter 4, but looking through the rest of the book has given me the impetuous to go forth and hope that I can become a fraction of the artist that Arlene Steinberg is. I waited 7 months for this book, and it was worth every minute that I waited.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Jan Letoha on May 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Other reviewers have thoroughly covered the author's inclusion of every aspect of colored pencil in this book. They are right on the money. The reason I bought this book, however, and the reason I like it, is stated in the title. 'Masterful Color.' That truly says it all.

This book is filled with color, glorious color! Color and value, the color wheel, training your eyes to see color, and even some history behind the use of color. The demos sparkle with tints and shades, and the references to the Old Masters, and their use of color and technique, are particularly interesting and useful, especially if one wants to paint like an Old Master someday. And that antique look appears to be coming back into fashion.

The usage and properties of color build, in this book, from the ground up. I love to underpaint, but I am never sure which color to use under what hue. On page 47, there is an extremely handy tool...a chart illustrating color combinations that will make your paintings shine! This color chart must have taken days of work and years of experience to develop. Possession of this chart alone is worth the price of the book.

I buy many colored pencil books, but today's market is becoming so saturated, it is difficult to find something new in every book that comes out. This book contains new and different material, and it is a must for the colored pencil lover's library.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie on May 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I found this to be an excellent book on colored pencil. The lessons have a lot of detail and many step-by-step photos which make it a lot easier to complete the projects than in some books. I am using the book as if I were taking a course in color pencils, completing the paintings in the order in which they appear in the book. Most of my drawings are actually turning out to look like the ones in the book. When they don't I do them again paying closer attention to the instructions. I am learning a lot about layering color to get rich tones. I don't think all colored pencil artists build up that many layers to achieve the colors in their paintings but I think that it is worth it to learn this way. Now, when I do a leaf I won't immediately reach for the greens or when i do a red flower, immediately reach for the reds. I have been trying color pencil and knew I needed more instruction but wasn't sure where to start. I was so excited when I got this book because the book gave me the answer.
I did find that my paintings came out more true to hers when i traced the finished painting in the book to make my pattern instead of using the line drawings in the back of the book but all-in-all it is a wonderful book.
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