It’s some time since I posted any updates of my latest work in progress but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. I’ve been busy developing and building up the layers to make the work come to life. I’ve still some way to go but thought I’d share the stages that have got me as far as I presently am.
I hope that if anyone reading this is just starting out with coloured pencils these images will give them some idea of how much layering is needed at every stage. I know I certainly didn’t appreciate this when I began using the medium.
An actual photo taken in daylight 🙂
Whilst today is dark and dreary again and even with my daylight lamp I have given up working, the other day it was sunny and light so I managed to take a photo in better light conditions.
The Banyan Tree is now completely finished and I am moving on to the trees on the right hand side which will then give me a framework within which to work on the background before tackling the two figures which are really the focus of the piece.
Whilst working on this I have been converting some new pencils. I don’t need any but like most artists I love new tools of any kind and pencils are no different.
Prismacolours are the most affordable and have such lovely colours but I do know they are prone to breaking and can cause problems. Luminance are so expensive and far fewer in number but do have such a good reputation although I did hear of someone who sold hers as she couldn’t get on with them.
If I did buy any more I would really need to think about storage. If I did this then I would probably need to see about setting up a proper work space rather than working on my lap in the conservatory where I have light, warmth and often company, a place and way of working that suits me. So for now I’m sticking with what I’ve got….today at least 🙂
Hope this is in focus enough to make out. I really should take photos while there is daylight rather than when the light is going. Its not that it’s particularly dark today but dusk comes quicker and earlier than I anticipate especially when the day has been reasonably light for a change.
Anyway, today has been about working on the Bayan Tree, bringing some deeper areas behind what was there and deepening the layers on some of the tree. Its amazing how I can think I’ve finished an area only to realise there are more layers to go still. It makes me realise how much more work I could have done on some of my earlier pieces of CP work. Still that’s what its all about isn’t it….working….practicing….learning…..developing….. and hopefully improving.
You may also be able to make out a few paler areas to the right where I have started to lay in some of the other trees and leaves a little more. When I have finished the Bayan Tree this is where I am going next.
The colours look a little different today as this was taken in the dying daylight rather than under a daylight lamp. I hope its clear enough to make out and isn’t too dark but I wanted to show what the early layers looked like having mentioned it in my last post.
Sometimes this is referred to as underpainting which is a bit misleading really. For me underpainting is what I do when I am using watercolour pencils or watercolour paint to cover the white paper before laying down colour with the coloured pencils. The reason for doing this is because it then takes less coloured pencil to build up the depth of colour afterwards. I sometimes do this if I know I want to leave some watercolour as it is and bring some areas to the fore by overlaying with coloured pencil. Otherwise for me it is just part of the technique of coloured pencil, that of laying down layer upon layer to bring depth of colour to a piece of work.
Anyway, if you look at the picture you can see some leaves that are finished or almost finished and some that have only two or three layers of colour and which look really pale. I have done the same for some of the trees.
I don’t usually work this way as I prefer to complete a section before moving on but in this piece I need to lay in some areas i.e. the leaves and trees so I can see where I am going with the background.
For me the most important aspect of any portrait, be it animal or human is the eyes. The eyes need to capture the essence of the animal or person and if these are wrong the whole portrait is wrong.
Once the eyes were right I began to develop this portrait by laying out in the lightest colours, the shape of the face.
Doing this lets me see the shape the face needs to take as well as allowing me to begin to build up the layers of colour. The slower I work the better the result. Pale layers first then gradually getting darker whilst paying attention to the colours I can see in the fur. Darkest darks and lightest lights are important to lay in.
I also build up the fur slowly and again by starting light and moving towards dark.
Being careful to pick out the colours that make up the White fur is very important as this again helps to give depth. By laying in the short fur first then moving towards the longer fur I can adjust the shape as I go until the portrait is complete.
What at is so important here is that it not only looks like no carries the energy and character of the pet.
I could string this out over as many weeks as I’ve spent on the painting but I won’t 🙂 Colour pencil work is very slow, the building up layers to cover the white paper and develop density of colour takes time. Each of the work in progress images I share on here represents a minimum of three hours work. This does of course include any drawing I needed to do to act as a guide.
These next images show the development of the artificial flowers in the headdress.
I have been working away on my latest piece of art work for some weeks and now that it’s heading towards completion I thought it was time to begin sharing it.
The first images show how I built up the skin tones and depth of colour working on Bristol Board and using a mix of Coloursoft and Polychromo pencils.
I apologise for the angle of the images and the quality but the rear facing camera on my iPad which I use for work in progress snaps isn’t working and so a combination of contortions are needed to get these with the forward facing camera.
The photo reference is my own and was taken in Havana, Cuba. The woman was sat in a square in the town reading fortunes.