Saturday, April 7, 2012

Colored Pencil Demonstration - cat on a vintage blue chair - Composition

Thanks for stopping by to watch my step by step demonstration of how I do a colored pencil piece in my signature, painterly style!  You'll see that I approach my pieces in an unusual way for this medium.  I don't use sharp points and teeny tiny circles to fill in, I block in, and then refine.  This is the first step, the composition of the piece.
I studied my reference photos and decided what I wanted to go with.  Then, I did a little thumbnail sketch of what I had in my mind.  Putting two elements together, the chair and the cat, meant I HAD to do a little sketch to make sure everything fit.  First I was going with a portrait orientation, but after I did the sketch, realized it looked more like a chair with a funny looking cushion and changed it to landscape to put the focus on the kitty!

I use either pastels or colorerase pencils to lay out my pieces.  I am using a medium gray shade of Canson's Mi Tientes pastel paper, the smooth side.  I sketched out my piece, erasing as I go with a white plastic eraser.  Mi Tientes is hard and erasable, so I can correct mistakes easily.  After I'm done, wipe it with a tissue and much of the pigment comes off.  Where I've gone too dark, I just lightly erase it.  I've photoshopped this so you can see my drawing, but actually, it's very pale.
Next, I save the areas where the whitest whites are from any migrating smudges from dark areas with white pencil. I can erase that later or just go over it with another color.
Then, I blocked in the light chair using Cloud Blue, a pale shade. I use the side of my pencil lead, not the point, just lightly color it in.   I don't want to lose my drawing, so I use a sharp point of a blue gray to just keep my lines in.
Next, I took a dark brown, Sepia, and blocked in the wall behind the chair.    Kitty will wait til my background is close to finish because the colors I use will be affected by what's next to him.  And I want to be able to let fur straggle onto it.

The next, more important thing I do is put it away for a day or two!  I can already see areas that need erasing and refining in this basic drawing that looked fine as a layout to me yesterday.  Somehow letting the brain rest allows me to see where changes are needed for this basic foundation.  If this isn't right, no matter how nicely I color it in, it won't look right.

I'd love to hear what you think, if you have questions!  I'm glad to answer emails, but it's more fun if everyone following along can comment!  If you have friends or family who like to draw, or love pets, I'd love to have them join along.   "Like" my Facebook page for alerts on the next installment!

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