A little peek inside the sketchbook and mind of artist, Kristie Vargo


It’s been awhile. Awhile since I posted and even longer since I pulled out my Prismacolor colored pencil set. It’s bascially my grown up version of the Crayola box of 64 - even though I still love and use my crayons. It was all because I wanted to expand my knowledge and try a technique new to me - mixed media.

The problem was mixing watercolor and colored pencil just wasn’t clicking for me. First, it was too much tooth (texture) on the paper. I changed from my tried and true Arches cold press stock to a super smooth bristol paper. With no real tooth, the watery paint had nothing to hold onto and just rolled all over. The mixed media paper STILL wasn’t right. Not thick enough to withstand the wetness.

Finally. I gave in! “That’s it,” I said, “I’m doing it all in colored pencil”. It was a complete retrain of my brain. I had to go back to my school days and relearn how to layer pencil pigment, which in the case of the ones I use is oily, and blend them to create the perfect mix. It amazed me the richness and depth of color. I was enjoying it so much that I set aside my paintbrushes…and my mom gifted me the full set of Prismacolor pencils. Even better than the box of 64 WITH the sharpener.

From that one drawing, I became addicted. I couldn’t stop. A botanical inspired floral illustration series bloomed. I wanted these to have a vintage feel but still fit in a modern space. There are 12 images at the time of the post and I can’t say that will be the end of it. I have already had to sharpen and resharpen many of the 100+ pencils in my set and nearly worked through the entire Strathmore colored pencil paper pad. Good thing I bought a second.

All of these are available as wall art - framed and unframed giclee prints, stretched canvases, metal prints, posters and even wood wall pieces. Just head over to the art print shop, select your favorite image, click your heels 3 times…and shazam you’ll be so much closer to getting something fresh. Don’t be surprised if these turn up on stationery soon or….oh, and wedding invitations!