10 Things You Didn’t Know About Albrecht Durer Watercolour Pencils

Faber Castell Albrecht Durer Workshop

When I had the opportunity to do a series of workshops using watercolor pencils last summer, I can’t help but check out the name written on my watercolour pencils.
It said Albrecht Dürer.  Every time I’m given an assignment such as create hand-lettered quotes or something, I love reading up on its story.  Well, I realized that years after I no longer have to go to school, I actually enjoy learning when it’s not graded. Haha.  😀 Whether or not it will affect my final work, I just enjoy the fact that what I’m working on has a history & sense of continuity.  My friend and I loved calling it “History Chika“.  It’s not actual gossip but maybe when I tell my friends what I’ve read, I sound like I’m sharing juicy news because I’m so excited. *You cannot ungeek a geek.* 

1.  Then & Now – So I was asking myself, why of all the names would Faber-Castell associate itself withAlbrecht Dürer?  Then I realized how much love Faber-Castell has for their German heritage.  In particular, they chose Albrecht Durer to represent them in the Renaissance era & Karl Lagerfeld, in the recent times.  They even released an entire Karl Box collection!

Source: Faber-Castell AG

2.  Mini German Lessons – It’s interesting to note that each pencil has a mini lesson in German as each color is available in two languages.  Isn’t that admirable? 🙂 Shouldn’t there already be a local movement working on translations of colors such as Ultramarine or Pthalo Green?  Hmm…

3. Love for Lettering – Albrecht Dürer is no different from you and me.  He loved lettering.  He also loved to measure the proper distance between each letter.  Here’s his take on classic Renaissance Letters.  You may check out the free ebook here. 🙂

Albrecht Durer Lettering Journal
Source: Albrecht Durer Lettering

4. How blogging & journaling looked back in the day.– These days, journals are meant to document our daily events.  But in a time when cameras weren’t invented yet, these were a means to document travels so that others may also know about other countries: the scenery, weather, animals & plants discovered there.  So yes folks, that was blogging back in the 15th century. 😀 Yarrrr!
Albrecht Durer Notebook 1.
Source: Albrecht Durer Journal

5. Selfies, anyone? – Now, it’s so easy to take a selfie.  Albrecht lived in a time when self-portrait actually meant painting your own–an exercise that definitely *ahem* builds patience. 😀
Here is his self-portrait when he was 25 years old.
Albrecht Durer self portrait2 by durer large
Source: Albrecht Durer Self-portrait

Below is a painting of himself in 1500 just when he was about to turn 29.

Albrecht Durer self portrait at the age of twenty eight by durer large
Source: Albrecht Durer Self-portrait

5. What to paint? What to paint? –   That’s pretty much our question when we’re faced with a blank canvas.  I admire him for taking on subjects that were not considered high art then.  Most of the Renaissance paintings in Italy.  It’s nice because he ventured into what was not necessarily popular but something that really spoke to him. 🙂

Related Posts:
A Day in Florence
Colorful Houses of Burano
Postcards from the Tuscan Region

Albrecht Durer
Source: Albrecht Durer Bird’s Wing

He also used journals of other people to recreate illustrations.  This drawing of a rhinoceros was thought to be real.  It even appeared in textbooks until the 1930’s! *OMG. Right?*

Albrecht Durer Rhinoceros
Source: Albrecht Durer Rhinoceros

6. A personal logo – He signs all his works with an AD monogram! 😉 Yep, scroll up & look for it in every painting he did.  When I read this, I thought, “Wait. This looks familiar”.  Then, I realized, it’s the same monogram that appears on Faber-Castell Watercolour Pencils

7. Which begs the question… – Upon reading all these facts about Albrecht Dürer, I still thought.  Why associate him with Watercolour Pencils. I read up on his original occupation: he was a woodcutter.  He was one of the first who painted landscapes too. I always thought the Renaissance era was about oil paintings and canvases but Albrecht also did watercolor sketches that looked a mix of watercolour & pencil sketches. 🙂 Note that Watercolour pencils were not invented then.  😉  So then I was enlightened that it was actually fitting to have his name on every pencil.
Albrecht Durer Watercolor Sketch

Source: Albrecht Durer Landscape

Albrecht Durer and Town of Arco

Source: Albrecht Durer Landscape

8. Why Pencils? – After quenching my thirst about all these details about the pencil I’m holding, I then asked why pencils?  What does the castle inside in the Faber-Castell Arts & Graphics Tin Can stand for?  Did Castell actually stand for castle? *I sound like a three year old with my endless why-why-why. Oops.*  

Albrecht Durer Workshop Collage
It all started with Kaspar Faber who had a small workshop that produced pencils.  Faber-Castell is a family business spanning 8 generations.  Somewhere along the way, the grandson of Kaspar’s great grand daughter married the counts of Castell and they took on the name of Faber-Castell.  🙂

9.  What are Watercolour Pencils for? – Watercolour pencils is something that you can use for sketching and if you love painting on-the-go, it’s so handy too! 🙂
Watercolour pencils are well-loved by urban sketchers.  This particular medium allows one to create spontaneous lines and do away with having to use: pencils, colored pencils & watercolor especially if you have a subject or a scene to catch!   Lynne Chapman, a British children’s book illustrator who also loves sketching best captures the essence of this medium (at least in my humble opinion).
Lynne Chapman Urban Sketching

Of course this is just one way to treat watercolor pencils but her works definitely make me daydream that I get to fill up a sketchbook one day! 🙂

Source: Lynne Chapman Portraits
Lynne Chapman Food
I really love how she has opened my eyes & mind of what can be drawn & painted! 🙂

Source: Lynne Chapman Food

:Lynne Chapman Watercolor Pencils

Source: Lynne Chapman Landscape

10. Back to Mr. Dürer – Have you ever attended a portrait sketching class where they talk about human proportions? E.g. The skull can be divided into three parts. The lines you create will be for the placement of the eyes & the lips.  Do you know who was so interested in coming up with the ratios for this? 🙂 Yep, that’s him. Albrecht Dürer.  😉
Albrecht Durer Human Proportions
Source: Albrecht Durer Human Proportions

Well, I hope you’re excited as I am to celebrate the Art of Albrecht Durer and the launch of Faber-Castell’s Art & Graphic Supplies! 🙂
There will be free workshops too!

116924 Albrecht Du%CC%88rer Magnus 24ct tin Office 28730
Source: Faber-Castell AG

See you at The Podium Mall this weekend! 🙂  I will be doing a demo from 4-6pm.
Faber Castell Albrecht Durer Event Poster
This event is for free! 🙂

Get to know more about Faber-Castell:
Website: Faber-Castell.com/
Twitter:  @fabercastellph
Facebook: /FaberCastellManila
Instagram: @fabercastellphils
Get your hands on the latest Faber-Castell products in major bookstores and stationeries nationwide.  You may also purchase them directly at ManilaAtelier.com

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Honey Irene Ignacio
Honey Irene Ignacio
6 years ago

This is such an interesting read! And my browser now is full of tabs from the links you shared here. ha! I wish I could attend the weekend workshops *cross fingers*. I live near the area, but I have a toddler who is so kulit. <3

Claudine Ann Manuel
Claudine Ann Manuel
6 years ago

Wow!! I enjoyed reading up on this topic ? “history chikas” are one of my favorites since they feed my curious mind ❤ Albrecht Dürer is really an epitome of a true artist..His name fits on those watercolor pencils so well..

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