After enjoying my new pastel pencils a lot, it is time to go back to my colour pencils. There are so many things I want to try and learn from… So I take my Bristol smooth and, let’s see, I am going to try this beautiful reference*: the face a cat, with soft sunlight on it, in a relatively dark room. A challenge!
This time, my blogpost will just show a bunch of in-progress-pictures, and I will separately try to explain how my ‘new techniques’ worked out. So, no chronological story here. 😉
Since the paper is smooth, unlike the pastelmat I used for the last drawings, I want to now try drawing an erasable grid first, to help proportioning properly. It saves me some time, there is less measuring along the way, but I do have to erase the grid lines in time, wherever they will shine through! I might use this trick more often in the future.
As if I am using these colour pencils for the first time, I have to get used to the feel and behaviour after weeks of using pastel pencils. I like the smooth feel, but the vibrancy and opacity of dark colours is disappointing. Sharp details are much easier, though.
The dark background and shadows on the cat are causing me trouble. So, I try a little panpastel in the corners. This seems to work, as long as I use just a thin layer. It probably won’t stick. Again, the smooth paper does not hold much of the pigments, so the dark is not going to be really dark. It does come in handy between the whiskers, this panpastel. It is easier to apply in a smooth layer than pencil.
I even try a bit of pastel pencil around the eye. That turns out darker than the colour pencil, as I expected, but again, it probably will not stick.
One of the things I want to try is the ‘embossing tool’ I’ve bought. I start around the eye, creating the suggestion of individual hairs by making little scratches in the paper. The tool has two points, each a different size, and I use the tiny point here. For the whiskers, I use the other point.
For all these ‘scratches’, I switch from using the tool to a pencil (white, grey, cream) and back. The fluffy ear, the neck, the nose, forehead, chin… Then layering colour on top gives a bit of a fur-like structure. I use a dark pencil in between the light hairs, to make them stick out more. Some of the whiskers get both the tool and a white pencil.
Another ‘trick’ I use is combining the embossing tool with tape. After drawing the background, I scratch off tiny hairs with the tool using a piece of invisible tape.
The background itself is hard to distinguish on the reference, it’s quite dark and blurry. It’s looking rather weird when I try to copy it with pencil and panpastel… But I do love to draw that sunny spot on the floor!
Darkening is still a problem for me. I end up using all my dark pencils, layer after layer, for every dark spot in the drawing. Blue, green, brown, violet, gray, purple and black, on top of eachother, everything is in there! For the glow on the chin, I use a lot of pink, orange, violet, purple, red and caput mortuum. Both some yellows and blues on the white part of the chin and muzzle. Comparing the colours and lightness before and after colouring the background is interesting… it looks quite different!
At the end, I am not so satisfied with the result, if I look at the reference. So this is an important learning point for me. Now it’s finished, I have to let that go. I should look at my drawing as a personal impression, based on a reference maybe, but an image with it’s own ‘soul’.
Well, at least I have been able to try a lot of new things!
* Reference from pixabay.com by ihtar.
To go to the Dutch version of this post: Tekenen in fases (9) – Nog een kat!