I’m reading so much about drawing, and it keeps amazing me how much there is to learn. I try to stick to pencils and animals, for that matter, or else I would drown…. Recently, I came across a facebook group about drawing, limited to animals in coloured or pastel pencils. Narrowing down the topic certainly makes it easier for me to digest! 😀 And so I jumped in.
After catching my breath, overwhelmed and silent with sheer admiration for the vast number of extraordinarily talented artists out there, I decide what new thing I’m going to explore. When I bought my pastel pencils, I bought some pastelmat to go with them, thinking that’s the most logical combination. But now, I see many artists using pastelmat for their coloured pencils as well. What?! I wanna try that toooo!
There is one pastelmat colour left in my pads that I haven’t used yet: buttercup. So I go looking for a reference suitable for the yellow background together with coloured pencils. A cute bunch of little ducklings on unsplash.com, by Roksolana Zasiadko, attracts my attention. Let’s go for it!
Since I have no idea how the Polychromos are going to fill the tooth of the pastelmat, I start with a few patches of dark background at the top, and some soft outlines. Then I map a few light spots as well. I use colours for the outlines, because I’m not sure if the layers will cover them. In the left top corner I try to put on several layers, to see how dark I can go, rubbing them a bit after each layer. And, the first duckling gets its baby beak.
I use the same way of layering and blending for the rest of the top part. A duckling gets a face here, so the drawing has its first personality! The fun begins…
On these photos, you can hardly tell how yellow the paper is in real, but I can still add many layers of yellow on top. I’m using all nine yellow pencils, green gold, and all kinds of brown, pink, orange, red, green, blue… you get the idea. Once I get to the highlighted duckling at the right, with the one tucked underneath, it’s time to use my whites to catch this baby in a ray of sunlight. These two little beaks and this eye are the only things really in focus so I can work quite detailed here. And then the fluffy body on the left, with a splash of sun here and there, these teeny tiny feathers almost look like fur! And I’m so focused and concentrated on getting all these yellows right, that… I totally forget to take more progress pictures!
The last duckling, at the bottom, would have deserved more display than just his back and half of its head, but that’s all the reference shows.
To show some of the layering, it goes like this:
At this point, I think I covered the whole paper. But… since the dark background doesn’t satisfy me, I use a tiny bit of solvent with a brush on the top left and right. And add a few more layers. Good to remember next time, is that solvent creeps under your taped edges. Ugly. It’s not something you can easily erase…
I’m eager to post the drawing and ask for feedback, in the fb group. I try to take a decent picture of it, but the abundance of yellow is enthusiastically corrected by my camera (each one of them: phone, ipad, pocket). Just to demonstrate that, here’s a picture of my ipad screen with the drawing – which is even much more yellow in real. Just saying.
In the end, I manage to get a slightly better picture by using a light blue shirt on the background… 😀
Then, someone expresses a little annoyance about the fact that the ducklings in the back attract too much attention. I get that. But it’s not easy to smoothly apply even more layers, and I’m also a bit scared to ruin it. However, I take a deep breath and start darkening the back ones with violet and purple, complementary colours.
Well, I’m not quite sure how I feel about this combination of colour pencils and pastelmat. But I did learn a lot!
And then, after posting my final version in the fb group, it gets chosen as group profile picture of the month of March! Waaaah! So nice, such a compliment, such an honour, such… I’ll just shut up now for a moment and just sit here, smiling from ear to ear… 😁