Friday, March 25, 2011

"Jenga" ~ Finished Portrait

'Jenga' Cat Color Pencil Painting
After many many hours I have decided that the portrait of Jenga is now complete. I thought I had reached this point some time ago so I put the portrait up on the wall and put my pencils away. A few days later I decided I wasn't happy with the portrait so I got the pencils out again and some 20 hours later finally reached a point where I was completely satisfied. I made changes to almost every part of the drawing including the eye and nose, and went over the entire hair! I think the part that changed the least were the whiskers (minus the one individual whisker I removed). All in all I think I spent over 40 hours on this small drawing (8" x 6.5"). This is a bit extreme but it is only my second attempt at a color pencil portrait and I know l have a lot more to learn about the process. Prints and cards of Jenga will be available from my website very soon.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Jenga" ~ Portrait in Progress

"Jenga" Whiskers and background
The fur now has many many layers of pencil as I tried to create depth using shadows and highlights. For the whiskers I tried to leave the white paper showing through as even the white pencils I had looked a shade a gray compared to this. For the background I used a shade of brown and filled in the areas between the whiskers. First I applied one light layer to the background to make sure I was happy with the position of the whiskers. Once happy I applied more layers using different colors to prevent the background from looking flat.

"Jenga" Making a start on the fur, skin and nose
Once I had the outline down I started to work on the fur in the top left corner. Being right-handed this makes sure I work from left to right and prevents me from smudging the pencil I put down. This is only my second color pencil drawing and at this point I was still getting used to the colors and how they worked together. I used nearly all the grays and browns for the fur and always applied them in the direction of hair growth. The skin a round the eye in very dark and almost black in some areas, however I never use my darkest pencil until the very end, when I am completely happy with the overall drawing. For the skin a round the eye and the nose I applied the pencils in small circular motions.

"Jenga" Outline transferred onto tracing paper
I decided to try a new method of getting the outline onto paper. When I am drawing with graphite pencil I usually draw a grid onto the paper and scale the image up to the size I want. However I didn't want to use a graphite pencil on this piece because it would 'dirty' the color pencil I use on the drawing later. Also, with color pencil being more difficult to erase I didn't want to draw a grid at all. Instead I printed the image and transferred the outline onto tracing pencil using a sharp graphite pencil. I then turned the tracing paper over and on the opposite side applied color pencil directly on top of the outline. Once I was sure I had enough color pencil down I turned the tracing paper over to the original side and positioned it onto a new sheet of bristol white paper. To be sure both pieces of paper wouldn't move I secured them to the drawing board with drafting tape. Using my sharp graphite pencil I went over the outline applying more pressure than usual and this transferred the color pencil on the opposite side onto the white paper beneath. The image above is of the tracing paper with both the graphite pencil outline and the color pencil shading visible.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My very first colored pencil drawing

Duckling colored pencil drawing
So here it is, my very first colored pencil drawing! It started out as an experiment, something small (8 x 6.5 inch) just to try different techniques and to get used to the colors. I told myself at the start not to get too carried away, that it was just my first drawing and not to expect too much at the end.

Anyway, with me being me the perfectionist soon came out and I couldn't help but try and get everything just right. Unfortunately I didn't clock the time spent on the drawing but I'm just going to say it took many many hours!! I reached many points where I was ready to give up, but I am so glad I persevered. I love the final outcome and I couldn't wait to post it on here : )