Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Children's Portrait - Two Little Girls

I love the pose of these girls, love how the light shines on their beautiful faces. In real life, the portraits are much darker on the dark side. I will try and get better photos, but have taken a hundred and they still don't really show the details and coloring exactly right.

This is colored pencil on dark red Mi Teintes pastel paper. I love this paper personally, and chose it because it's almost black but warmer and I think it works with dramatically lit subjects.

I had a question from a tweetpal who wanted to know how I blend the colored pencil so you don't see the pencil strokes? Here's my answer. The way I like to do that is with a lot of layers, and I do mean a lot in some spots. I also use a cut stencil brush to polish the skin and push it right into the pits of the paper so no paper shows. I use dull "points" to glaze color on. I also love to use the sides of the pencil "lead". It makes it nice and subtle...a nice light touch. I only use sharp points at the end for details, which don't even show in this photo...the eyelashes, the transitions in colors...

Anyway, I spent about 10 times on this as I do a dog portrait! I learned a lot that I will be able to use in my next human portrait! I hope you enjoy it! Robin
I'm artist, Robin Zebley. I've done hundreds of pet portraits over the past 8 years and now am building my portfolio of "human" portraits! My site is "http://robinzebley.com


Susan said...

Hi Robin,

Beautiful portrait! I love the light effects on the girls. I also love the Mi Teintes paper, it is so nice to work with. For my next Cosmo colored pencil portrait I plan to use Rising
Stonehenge paper, I've heard wonderful things about it. To answer your question about the pencil strokes, in my NYBG class, I was taught to use very small ovals (in graphite as well as colored pencil) it is called the "smooth shading" technique and works really well. It is also featured in a great colored pencil book out there called "Colored Pencil Solutions" By Janie Gildow and Barbara Bendetti Newton, it's a great reference. As you know, colored pencil is such a translucent medium it's almost like watercolor and requires tons of layers. How we work differently is in my current work I rarely "burnish" so no paper shows. It just depends on the look you want.
Very nice job! Come back and check my page late next week, I hope to have my next Cosmo portrait up then. BTW, we'll be in your neck of the woods this weekend for a wedding - have a good one!

dellartist said...

What a lovely portrait and what delightful little girls! I love the colors, the light and shadow, but especially love the spirit you have captured there, more real than any photograph could be. Colored pencil is a difficult medium, but you have mastered it and with such a fine, delicate touch!

Robin said...

Thanks Susan for your comment and tips on technique. I was actually answering a question asked in twitter about MY technique and you've made me realize it sounded like I was asking for help, not answering!

So maybe I ought to answer it better. I will go in and edit!!

I personally HATE stonehenge for colored pencil work. I like a nice hard paper I can erase, that takes as many layers as I want without REQUIRING that many. Stonehenge, being a printmaking paper, absolutely soaks up pigment. I can't wait to see your Cosmo.

Robin said...

Della, thanks so much for the compliment. That's the key, isn't it, making a photo "come alive"? It's what I have always strived for in my dog portraits and hope to accomplish with my children ones.

I am now working on a little boy.

Angela Finney said...

Robin, though happy with my animal work and inantimate objects, I find people and flesh tones very difficult to do in CP. I tend to avoid them. Congratulations on taking the plunch -- you have done a fantastic job here!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much, Angela!!