Sunday, November 9, 2008

Colored Pencil Demonstration - Dog with Ball


If you've tried colored pencil and read the books, everyone tells you to do little light layers in teeny tiny circles...some even brag that they have 20 layers...and that the tedium is good therapy, lol!! Boring!

My method is faster, more painterly, and way more fun! Here's a commission I did a while back, and I htought I'd do a step by step demo of how to have fun with colored pencil...specifically art stix and the sides of pencils.

I start with a medium valued support...in this case it's a medium gray Mi Tientes. I sketch in my subject with a soft pastel that's just a few shades lighter. That way, I can sketch fast and loose, looking for gesture that tells the story of the personality of my subject. And when I'm off, I just brush off the incorrect mark with the back of my hand.

After I'm satisified with the basic body and feature placement, I go over the pastel with a colored pencil, again just a shade or two off the value of the paper. Then I clean all the pastel off with a dry paper towel.


Now the real fun begins! I use white and black art stix...they are the prismacolor chunks of pigment that LOOK LIKE pastels, but are the same material that the "lead" of primacolors...to block in the lightest lights and darkest darks. By varying the pressure, I vary the value. The paper is the medium value.



No points!! I sometimes use the sides of the pencil instead, but again, light pressure, blocking in big. No detail.

Now, I walk away and look at it across the room. If the values are on, I'm good to go with color. At this point, though, I almost always am erasing. I use a white plastic eraser on Mi Tientes, it takes color right off. There will be a shadow of pigment left, but not enough to confuse me and it will be completely covered and won't show.

The second photo shows some of the blocking in...and some of me just grabbing some color to see how it looks on this medium gray. All of it subject to erasing at this stage!

This is the most important part of the process. If the value map is not right, I find I'm fighting for a likeness all the way through. But if it's right, I have a roadmap and it's really easy to get the likeness from here.

If you'd like to see some finished pet portraits, come visit my Pet Portrait Website robinzebley.com

4 comments:

Jennifer Rose said...

If I can only use 3 layers I do. Spending time trying to get 20 layers seems like time wasted to me that I could use on another piece. This is looking really nice :D

Robin said...

Thanks, Jen!!

There are places where I do a lot of layers, or should I say, partial layers because I might just hit it up here and there, and that's almost always on the animal, itself.

On the backgrounds, I try to incorporate the background color a lot.

andrea said...

I can't draw to save my life...this is beautiful!

Robin said...

Andrea, thanks so much!!