Tag Archives: drawing

How I draw a Rose – Preparing the Line work for a Colour Pencil Piece

Recently I have been working on a new beginners colour pencil tutorial featuring a simple red rose. ( It should be really fun!) As I was drawing up the outlines it occurred to me that this is a much more complicated shape than the pear and mango tutorials that I have already created, and it may be a little tricky for beginners who do not wish to trace the base image.

So here is my attempt at teaching you how to draw a very simple rose. This tutorial has been a little tricky to create, as I have never really considered my “methods” when I am drawing. So I have spent the last week drawing, and re-drawing this rose to break my process down as simply as possible. No doubt there are better tutorials out there, but this is how I approach drawing a simple rose. Hopefully It helps you too!

Materials: 

  • a sketchbook – I use a cheap, student grade sketchbook from the local newsagent, nothing fancy
  • A soft graphite pencil. I like to use an 8b which is very soft. I like to be able to really move the graphite around on the paper, but this may be a little too soft and messy for some, a 4 or 6b will certainly do the trick
  • A kneadable eraser.
  • A blending stump or tortillion  (or the tip of you finger will do in a pinch, just don’t blend graphite with fingers for “finished” pieces as the oils in your fingers will case you issues)
  • Tracing paper. ( or kitchen wrapping paper – Its see through, cheap and it works!) to get a clean tracing of your final image ready to be used on your final paper.

Reference photo

Here is the reference image for our rose, A very simple rose, with only a few petals and only a few curls… you can do this!!

Step 1.

The first step is to define the size of the rose we wish to draw. Sometimes when drawing, it can be very easy to find one area getting much larger or smaller than intended, or perhaps you start at the wrong place on your paper, meaning you run out of space later. I find it helpful to lay down a circle to define the area in which I intend to work. In this case I have circled the area I want the petals to fill.

Step 2. 

I Find the center structure of the rose and start there. In nearly every rose, there is an area in the center of the flower which is more densely packed than the petals around the outside. I always start with this piece, as I find that I can use this core area as a good place mark against which I can measure the rest of the flower.

In this photo, the tightly coiled core makes up the majority of the rose. This makes for a much simpler drawing.

 

 

 

 

 

But no matter how complicated, or how many petals, I always look to draw that central structure first

 

Using the circle as a guide I start drawing in the shape of the center petals. I draw these lines in a very light, sketchy manner. I am using a very dark, soft pencil, and If I press too hard, I may create lines which I cannot erase easily. Much like when using colour pencil, a light hand it best!!

 

 

 

 

As I work, I try to imagine the other side of that shape which is hidden underneath the overlaying petal. Thinking about how this rose is constructed helps me to better understand the shapes I am seeing.

This also allows me to draw in the next petal more accurately, as the second petal lays over the top of this core petal and will follow its shape pretty closely. You can draw this is if you wish and erase it later, but personally I find too many guide lines distracting.

 

Step 3.

Keeping that underlying structure in mind, I then draw the first petal wrapping the flower. I make soft sketchy lines so that i can easily erase and/or smudge out any lines that go astray.

I continuously check with my reference photo, and compare to what I have on my page. Some things you may need to keep an eye on are: is the top of you petal tall enough in comparison to  the top of the center petal ? does the petal wrap over enough of the center petal? Are your curves correct with a nice rounded curve to the inner side of the petal, and a reasonably gentle curve to the outside?

Keep comparing and checking, you will be surprised how much information your brain will *think* it sees and if you don’t take the time to look and compare, you will find you have drawn some very different shapes!

Step 4.

Drawing in the first outer petal. I start by drawing the basic rectangular like shape of the outside of the petal.

Then I study the values on the petal and draw myself a guide line for where the petal goes from the shadowed area into a much lighter one. This change of value will be very important when colouring or shading to show the 3 dimensional shape of the petal, so I want to make sure I have it down to guide me.

Lastly I draw in the curve of the underside of the petal

Step 5.

Next I draw in the larger petal to the left. Using the circle as a guide to how large this petal needs to be. Once again, I draw in a small guide line to show me where the petal curves at the very top. While I am drawing these petals, I am ignoring any of the smaller details, such as bumps and ridges along the edge. I want to get the placement of these petals down first before I worry about adding the details.

 

Step 6 .

I then draw in the somewhat misshapen petal between the outer petal and the core petal. Much of this petal quite heavily shadowed, so It can be a little tricky to see the details. Just take your time and keep checking your work against the reference photo.

I then draw in the stem and leaves at the base of the rose. I did not like the way the leaf on the right covered up my flower, nor how long it extends away from the rose, so in my version I have left out one of the curls in the leaf and shortened it overall

 Step 7.

I start my shading by finding the darkest areas of the rose. In this drawing they are closest to the central structure and underneath the misshapen petal. I find shading much easier if I define my darkest values first. The super soft 8b pencil means that this will blend out very easily, and I will have to deepen these shadows further as I work

 

Step 8.

I work on adding shading to the rest of the rose. This is almost always where I find all my mistakes- when the shadows don’t fit as they should, I know my line work is wrong!! I study my reference photo and using a blending stump and a kneadable eraser, I add the rest of my values to the rose.

I Use my blending stump to smooth out the transitions between areas of light and dark, and my eraser to pull graphite back off areas that need to be lighter. Take your time and really look at that reference! Where is the light hitting the most? which areas are in the deepest shadow? Are there areas which blend together in the darkness? Is there a shadow under the curl of a petal? Studying values like this can be very surprising, and you may find highlights and shadows in places you never expected.

This gives me an excellent opportunity to study the lights and darks (or more correctly, the values) in my rose, before I start with my colour pencils.

Sometimes when drawing in these changes in value you will see where the line work is incorrect and this is a good time to make any final changes to the overall shape of those petals. The soft pencil and sketchbook paper generally make the graphite very easy to move around at this point, so as long as you don’t press to hard with your pencil, you can shade and blend and erase until you get it looking right. If you are find it difficult to see the values, you may find it easier to switch the reference photo to black and white.

I have added in a couple of lines to show myself the direction of the veins on the petals and how they wrap around the flower. As this is a guideline, and not a finished graphite drawing, I can add in any details that I feel may help me when creating the final colour pencil drawing. This is a road map! so feel free to make notes however you wish!!

 

Step 9.

I add shading to the leaves at the base. You can see it this point I have also changed the direction of that left hand leaf, as I feel it was sticking out at an awkward angle.

 

 

 

 

Step 10.

The final touches! Now that I am happy with the overall shape, I go over the edges of my petals, adding in any of those small bumps and imperfections that I deliberately ignored earlier. I find that If you try to draw in those details first it is very easy to misjudge the overall shape of the object you are drawing.  It is much easier to get an accurate drawing when you get the major shapes in first and THEN add the small details.

 

Step 11.

When I am happy with my drawing, I use tracing paper ( or kitchen paper) to trace over the outlines of the piece. This gives me a nice clean drawing that I can transfer onto my rather precious water-color paper, ready for me to begin the colouring process!

Creating my line drawing in this manner allows me the freedom to make mistakes and make any changes that I wish long before I ever set pencil onto my delicate ( and rather expensive) water-colour paper. All of my mistakes have been made and erased without damaging the tooth of that fancy paper with my eraser or stray graphite lines, and I can start my final work with a nice, clean slate.

Perhaps because I was a graphite and charcoal artist long before I picked up the colour pencils, I find that having already made a small tonal study like this  can help greatly when it comes time to colour, as sometimes determining changes in value can be difficult in when working in colour.

I hope this helps! Of course I will be providing a traceable line drawing in my next tutorial, where we bring this rose to life with colour pencil but I encourage you to give drawing it yourself a try! Much like the mango and the pear, all roses are different, and yours doesn’t have to be perfect! (I can assure you mine isn’t!! ) I would love to see what you can do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Making hundreds of colours from only 12 pencils

When you start using colour pencils as a medium, those giant, rainbow coloured packs of 120 pencils can seem like a must-have item…

until you see the price tag!!

I don’t know about you, but it sure is hard to justify spending such a huge amount of money on a medium you are not yet familiar with. Colour pencils can be a tricky medium to master, they take a lot of time and practice and at first you don’t even know if you will enjoy the process!

We can start practicing with colour pencils without destroying our bank balance though. The first option is to start off with student grade pencils. These can be a great introduction to the medium, and I started my own collection of pencils with a $17 set of Monte Marte colour pencils. Unfortunately, Student grade pencils are just not as pigmented, can blend unevenly or unpredictably,  and are not as lightfast as the artist grade pencils. Most serious art students will find they “grow out” of these sets very quickly.

The second beginners option can be to go whole hog and start off with the artist grade pencils… just not the whole collection! Most brands offer sets starting with as few as 12 pencils, which is a much more affordable option, especially if you can get a good sale price or manage to wrangle them as a gift!! *wink wink santa claus!!* 

To a beginner artist, it may seem that 12 pencils could not possibly be enough, but I assure you it can be. Colour pencils are just like paint, they can be mixed and blended to create endless combinations, the only difference is with the pencils we mix our colours directly on the paper instead of on the palette. Let me show you how many combinations we can create with just a basic 12 pencil set.

Here are some links to purchase the packs I have used for these charts.

polychromos 12 pack: https://amzn.to/2wUXkuT or for Aussies https://amzn.to/2NUjBiJ
prismacolor 12 pack: https://amzn.to/2wWheoi or for the  Aussies  https://amzn.to/2wWTGjc

Polychromos 12 pack

In this grid I have blended each of the Polychromos pencils. Each square is a 50-50 mix of each pencil.

  • White
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Dark Cadmium Orange
  • Deep Scarlet Red
  • Magenta
  • Light Ultramarine
  • Pthalo Blue
  • Emerald Green
  • Light Green
  • Burnt Ochre
  • Walnut brown
  • Black

 

 

 

Prismacolor 12 pack

This grid shows the same 50-50 blend of the 12 pack Prismacolor premier pencils

  • White
  • Canary Yellow
  • Orange
  • Crimson Red
  • Violet
  • Violet Blue
  • True blue
  • Emerald Green
  • Apple Green
  • Sienna Brown
  • Dark Brown
  • Black

 

 

The colours in these charts are just the very tip of the iceberg! These are the colours than can be achieved by simple 50-50 blending of each colour, and doesn’t even start to take into account all the blends than can be created in different ratios or by adding a 3rd or 4th pencil to each blend. The possibilities are endless… which can be a little bit daunting.

Generally when I am mixing my pencils I choose the colour closest to my goal as possible, then use the colours I have available to warm up, or cool down, Lift or desaturate the colour as necessary. A lot of this is done through trial and error, so I find it is always best to have a piece of scrap paper on hand as I work, to test out how the colours will mix together before I use them together on the final product. Luckily the more experience you have, the easier it becomes to predict how the colours will react together. Unfortunately for the beginner there is no “recipe” book I can give you to create the colours you wish to achieve. The list of possible hues is endless, and most colours can be achieved by combining pencils in more than one way! Learning to mix your own colours Is best achieved through experimentation and practice, lots and lots of practice.

 

 

 

Looking back and what’s next?

Sometimes it can feel like you’re not making any progress as an artist. Practice is slow and improvements can seem to take forever, if at all. So it can nice to look back occasionally and see just how far you have come. So this New Year, I  am taking a few moments to look back on my progress and achievements and putting some thought into what I would like to see happen in the year to come.

"All the blues"" colour pencil on paper 41x29cm

“All the blues”” colour pencil on paper 41x29cm


My year started in chaos. We moved house and my precious pencils were packed away and left untouched for a month! I felt incredibly anxious to get back to the drawing table. I suppose some part of me was afraid I would lose momentum and neglect my art for another 10 years! But I shouldn’t have worried. “All the blues” was my first full piece for 2016, and I loved it! This piece went on to become my profile picture for my burgeoning social media pages and was the first piece I uploaded to my Redbubble page to be made available as prints.

 


I picked up a paintbrush! After many failed attempts in the past, I took just one more shot. I hurt my wallet and bought some quality oil paints and started painting fruit on cheap canvas pads. For the first time in my life the paint did what I wanted. Each painting has been a bit better than the last and I am keen to paint more.


In March, I saw one of my pieces published in the gallery section of Colour pencil magazine. This was huge for me! I made sure I bought a paper copy of that month’s issue, you can’t just download something like that!


spilled bouquet 29x41 colour pencil

spilled bouquet 29×41 colour pencil

In November, I saw one of my drawings voted to be the banner for the Colored Pencils, Graphite & Pastels Facebook group. I see so many amazing works of art posted to that page, I was humbled to see my piece gracing the top of their page for a month!

 

 


In May, I took a massive leap of faith, strapped my iPhone to a plank of wood and uploaded my first YouTube video. I have since upgraded to adding voice overs and I am constantly learning new editing techniques. With 15 videos now created, I have managed to consistently upload videos fortnightly and I am really enjoying the process.


And finally, in March I opened up my own little corner of the internet and started this humble blog. Although it is a little neglected, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking the time to write about my journey.

Looking back, this year has seen some HUGE leaps for me. I am quite proud of many of the colour pencil pieces I produced and never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how much progress would be made. It would seem that all the time and efforts have made quite an impact and this is very reassuring for the future.

So whats next?

Well, I am very excited to keep working on that YouTube channel. Recording my work is hard work and time-consuming, but it is so much fun and I really hope that I can inspire others to create through it.

I have purchased Scott Christensens Paint the ocean course. I live so close to the water, but I have had no success in painting it. I cant wait to use some of those scenic photos on my phone for reference, and apply some of his techniques to create my own water filled landscapes

I hope to learn to be a better salesperson. The more art I can sell, the more time I can dedicate to my passion ( instead of dedicating time to that dreary retail job!) While I have that redbubble site, I feel very self conscious in letting people know it is there. I need to learn how to feel comfortable in marketing myself.

On the topic of sales, I will soon be setting up shop for original artwork. While I do occasionally sell pieces through Facebook, I have not set up a dedicated platform for sales. I have no idea how to do this…. but like so many things this past year,  I will learn.

I am so excited to see what opprtunites 2017 will bring. I hope I to create even better art and more and more of it. Bring it on!

img_4063

what will be the first piece of 2017

 

 

 

Love, hate and every feeling in between

 

Every single piece of art I create sends me on an emotional roller coaster.

It starts with the inspiration! The adrenaline rush and excitement that comes with the new idea! Yes!! this is a great idea!! This is the most amazing reference photo! This will be the BEST thing I will ever make! Yayyyyy!! I write these ideas down, make a sketch, or find and file reference images. This is the top of the hill at the start of the ride.

Sometimes the idea stops right here at the planning stage… The excitement builds up, I get on with my daily chores, go to work, head to bed full of enthusiasm for my next project… Then by the time I wake up and look at what I have planned… It suddenly doesn’t inspire anymore. Sometimes the ride just stops and everyone gets off.

For the pieces that retain my interest, I am held at the top of the ride. Before I set to work, I need to prepare. I need to get on top of my housework, because I know my art will hold my attention for the next few days and the washing pile will be left ignored. I need to prepare my space, make sure I have the tools, I may need to purchase some supplies. I take the time to draw out my image; measuring, comparing, laying down the skeleton of the piece…I am at the top of the ride, anticipating the moment I can start.

When I finally set to work, I immediately plunge right down to the bottom of the ride. “Oh no, what have I started? I can’t do this! I don’t have the skills… this is too hard?”  the first layers of any drawing always look like crayon or scribble. My colour choices seem ridiculous. I doubt that I can ever build it up into something that passes for art. My hand tightens up and the self-doubt is crushing. This is the biggest dip in the ride. When I was younger many pieces ended at this point, but experience has taught me to hang on tight.

The first  rise comes when the initial section starts to look complete… I usually start with the eyes so I can reach this hill faster. A well drawn eye breathes  the first life into the piece.. and I can start to see how it just might turn out right. “Yes!! I can do this”

And so it goes over the whole drawing,  as I finish and start each section…

I can do this,

No I can’t

I Iove it, this is turning out GREAT!!

I hate it, It’s all going wrong!!

love it,

hate it,

love,

hate.

Up and down around the roller coaster. Until the finish is in sight. And I can settle on my  feelings toward the piece as a whole, good, bad or indifferent..

I have had a good run of late, many of my drawings have turned out better than I expected. They truly are the BEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE!! and the ride leaves me on a glowing high point.  But I don’t feel that way this week. I like my giraffes, they have pretty faces they are fairly accurately drawn …but it is not the BEST thing I have ever done… and it leaves me feeling a little in between.

I wish I had chosen a different paper. I wish I had spent more time planning the composition. I wish I was able to put down more layers of colour before the paper would take no more. To be brutally honest, this ride has left me a little disappointed.

However this ride is not over, and it never really will be over. Now the drawing is complete I will put it away in its folder, post the images and the video. I will see this drawing many times, and each glance will bring me back to the ride. Today I feel deflated, however in a month, or a year I could feel very differently.Time and distance from the project sometimes allows the love to come back into it. I will see the things I did right, and I will probably judge the flaws less harshly or at least appreciate the lessons I have learned from those mistakes.

Why do I do this to myself?

This battle between expectation and ability is one of the things I love most from practicing art…  I suppose I must like roller coasters

 

The effort starts to show.

Art has always been a part of my life in one form or another… it is only recently that have I intentionally made time to practice and improve my results.

It has become a borderline obsession. Some part every single day of the past 2 years, is spent studying my craft. If I am not working on a larger, complete piece, I am scrawling away in my sketchbook,  watching other artists on YouTube, reading books on the old masters, or just spending the time to take in my surroundings and mentally decide which colours I would use and how I would depict the scene.

I have noticed a change in the way I see the world, yes I mean an actual change in my visual perception of the world. Colours are brighter and shadows are deeper and the highlights are brilliant.  I see the way light bounces around objects, light bouncing inside shadows, the reflexion and refraction of light through a body of water… Of course my eyesight hasn’t improved (If anything, it’s getting worse as I age!!) but with practice I have learned to notice more of these little things that build up our visual world. I suppose it’s a bit like physical excercise, constant flexing of my perceptual muscles has made them stronger!

To test out these new muscles, this week I intentionally chose a subject that has been very difficult for me in the past. I have never before drawn a tiger I was happy with. All those stripes and the changing colours of the fur has always left me stumped, but having noticed a great improvement in my work lately, I thought I would “tackle the beast”again.

This time I can say I am truly happy with the results… There are a few areas I would have liked to do differently (but there always are) but overall I am proud to say this is one of mine. The image for this post shows the result of 19 months of solid, dedicated and deliberate practice. Judging by the difference, I can say that I cant wait to see what I can do 19 months from now!!

(here is the video I made of the recent tiger drawing. Learning to video as i work… now thats a whole new ball game!! more to come )

 

 

“Midnight Crow” Tutorial

My goal for this piece was to draw a black bird, using as little black pencil as possible. I wanted to find all the gloss and shimmer in the feathers and draw those brighter colours and leave the black just for the very deepest shadows. 

Materials used:

  • Fabriano Academia 200gsm paper 29x41cm
  • Faber-castell polychromos pencils: Black, Indigo, Prussian blue, Smalt (sky) blue, red-violet, burnt carmine, walnut, cool grey VI, cool grey II and my trusty white Prismacolor.
  • Odourless mineral spirits and a small, soft synthetic brush
  • tiny touch of white gel pen (optional)

My reference photo was from Steve Lyddon at PaintMyPhoto.com . http://pmp-art.com/steve-lyddon/gallery/104842/crow you do need to be a member to view the photograph as you are required to agree to some terms and conditions of use, however I highly recommend the site.

The process

I never start my drawing directly on my paper, especially where I intend to leave the background naked white. Every little eraser mark and smudge damages the surface of the paper. So I draw out my pieces into a cheap sketchbook first, then when I am happy I will use graphite transfer paper to get the outlines onto my watercolour paper without any mess or mistakes.

The Eye

I always start with the eye. It is the one place in a drawing that I absolutely do not want to make a mistake. If I mess this up I will ditch the whole piece and start again!

crow eye

eye, close up

I picked up my black pencil first and drew in the areas I knew would be the darkest, which in this piece is the lining around the eyes, the join between feathers and beak and the iris of the eye.I then drew in the “sparkle”of the eye with my white to protect the paper from my darker colours.

I chose the walnut pencil as the eye colour as I knew the rest of the piece was going to be in mainly cool colours and a wanted there to be a hint of warmth in the eye. I blended the area between the walnut and blue with my prussian blue to reflect the birds overall colour. As this is a very small area (about 1.5cm²), I do this with a sharp pencil and a steady hand

The Head and Neck

Next I move on to the fine feathers on the head and upper neck. With a very light hand, and with strokes that follow the form and size of the feathers,  I start with the sky blue pencil and lightly layout the area of highlight on the top of the head. I then do the same thing with my darkest shade of blue (indigo) to establish the areas in shadow. Once I have plotted the structures of the head with the darks and lights, I use my prussian blue pencil as a mid tone to bring the areas together. bringing the prussian blue down into the indigo to blend.

At this point I use my odourless mineral spirits (OMS) to blend the tones onto the paper. I want to use a fair amount of the spirits at this stage, as i am looking to stain the colours deeper into the paper, and i have not yet established any details that could be lost with too much blending. As I blend, I am conscious to keep blending in the direction of the feathers. This first layer establishes the foundation of the whole piece, so it is worth taking the time to get it right. You can see the difference the OMS makes between pictures 1 and 2 on the image below.

**WARNING!** I found that the prussian blue pencil was very easily soluble in the OMS! A little bit of pencil went a long way and it was very easy to spread the pigment too far into areas i did not want, and my dish containing the OMS was very quickly tinted blue by the pigment.

When the OMS is completely dried. I place another layer of colour using the same technique as the first. Light strokes on the direction and size of the feathers to build up the depth of the colour. When I am satisfied,  I repeat again with the OMS. However this time I blot most of the OMS out of my brush on a piece of paper before touching it to my paper. A saturated brush at this point will start to lift colour off my piece and start to push it into undesired places.

I keep repeating this process of pencil and OMS. When I am happy with the colour saturation, i move onto the last layers , where  I start to add my red-violet pencil in areas where I want to show a glossy colour shift to feathers. I also start to introduce some flecks of my sky blue down into the darker areas to suggest more individuality to the feathers.

The area under the beak is completed in the same manner, but in this area i also use my black pencil to create areas of the deepest shadows.

head feather collage

Showing how I build up layers of colour. Using light strokes, carefully following the direction and size of the feathers in the reference

Back feathers

With the neck area complete I move onto the tiny triangular feathers above the wings. The reference photo  showed a very defined pattern and central ridge on these feathers. I Followed the reference very closely on the placement and direction of these feathers, as the direction changes as they follow the form of the bird. I used my Sky blue pencil to draw the central lines in first. I press quite hard and go over the line with my white prismacolor. This established the pattern of the feathers and also protected that line of paper from my darker colours.  I was then able to build up the colour in those feathers with alternating layers of pencil and OMS. In some shadow areas I add some of the red-violet and burnt carmine to bring in some more shimmer colour. On my final pass on each feather, I draw in a line of shadow along the ridge a and go over the ridge once again with my white to make it pop!

neck feather collage

showing the general form of the back feathers

Wing and Tail Feathers 

The wing and tail feathers of this bird are very well-defined. There are very strong highlights and shadows on the reference pic which made his one of the easier, but most time consuming areas to complete. I study my reference picture  very closely to understand which areas are in shadow and which are reflecting the light. I use my sky blue pencil in the same manner as above to draw in and protect the exposed feather ridges.  I also use my sky blue to plan out the highlighted areas on the left side of the birds and the small highlight on the right above the leg. The lighting on the left hand side of the bird is very bright, so in this area I also put a layer of white and a hint burnt carmine before I set to work with my darker colours.

I go through the wings feathers in sections. Using the same technique of alternating pencil and OMS to build up depth. I am mindful to keep my pencil strokes following the general pattern of the individual strands in the feathers. In the final layers I am using my indigo pencil to strengthen the chevron like pattern in the wing feathers and to create a shadow along the ridge of the feather.

When I am satisfied with the wing feathers, I use my black pencil to draw in the shadows underneath the feathers. These shadows are strongest in the centre of the bird, where the two wings meet, and where the wing feathers overlap the tail feathers. I do this last, as I do not wish to  accidentally spread the black beyond the very darkest shadows with the OMS.

wing feather collage

Showing to progression of the wing feathers, including black shadow.

Leg and foot.

I used my prussian blue pencil to draw in the highlights on the right side of the leg, I then used my indigo and my black pencil to draw in the leg feathers. This was done using short downwards strokes and blended with the OMS.

I use my white  to draw in the highlights on the foot and claws, I then lightly used the black pencil to draw in the shadows. Once I had these landmarked, I used cool grey II and cool grey VI in a somewhat random manner to create the gnarled effect to the skin. instead of using the OMS in this area, I used my White prismacolor as a blender. I strengthened the shadow that I liked with the black pencil, and finished it off sky blue as a highlight on the top of the toes and back claw.

crow foot

leg and foot detail

To complete the piece I use a very light layer cool grey II and VI, sky blue and red-violet to create the shadow under the bird. I decided I wanted a little more brightness to the little white feathers beneath the eye, so I hit them with a few strokes of my white gel pen as a finishing touch.

 

 

What’s my “style”?

I am struggling!!!

It’s been over a month since I claimed this little corner of the internet, and I still have not found a way to describe my artwork for the “about” page of this site.

I’ve never had to describe my art before. I just think something that might make a pretty picture,  pick up a pencil and dive straight in!  I have spent hours looking over pictures of my pieces, looking for points of similarity or something that would be described as “my style” but for the life of me, I just can’t see it!!

I spend a lot of time looking at other people’s artwork, and so many of them have a distinctive style. I find that I know who did the piece before I even see the name. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help but find myself feeling a little jealous of people who have found themselves a unique and recognisable approach to their artwork.

Me, I just can’t sit still enough to create such a body of work.  I love to draw using my colour pencils, and they are my favorite medium. However I quickly become bored of doing the same thing, day in day out. I tire of doing similar subjects. I love to draw portraits, but doing them everyday would become a mindless chore. I love drawing animals and birds, but they can only hold my attention for so long. I enjoy the challenge of realism, but it can be tedious and time consuming to analyse and render the details. Sometimes I just want to draw for fun, without reference or with consideration of accuracy.

For example, after last week’s experiments with oil paints,  this week I have found myself playing with my copic markers in my sketchbook. While my colour pencils sit lonely in their box upon the shelf. Of course all these different mediums result in a different style of artwork! I never try to be anything more than cartoonish with my markers! attempting realism with these wild and free creatures would send me into an uncontrollable tail spin of frustration and tears.

All this chopping and changing means my artwork always looks different to me than the piece I did yesterday. Maybe it is a case of being unable to see the forest for the trees, but from where I stand, I couldn’t tell you what my style actually is! I am going to keep working on a description for the sake of this page.. but for all my searching, so far the only thing I could tell you, is that I really seem to like the colour blue.