Sunday, April 26, 2009
Coloured Pencil-Start to Finish Part 2
Preliminaries--Thumbnails, Studies, Sketching In:
First, there are the thumbnail sketches (far upper left graphite). I've gotten in the habit of doing them approximately 2.5 by 3.5 inches, ACEO size. It's a good size to work with. These are very rough, mere impressions done when the image first popped into my head one sleepy morning. The scribbles represent the conscious me trying to pull something out of the back of my brain. Once that was done, I did the colour and paper studios shown in the previous post, but I'm not yet ready.
I then did a number of mostly awful figure drawings (you can see one perched on the upper right), trying to work out the ondine (forest water spirit--part of German folklore) and realized quickly that stylization was more difficult than expected. If it was too rich in detail it would clash with the stylized background and look too much like popular 'fairie' art, something that would distract from the idea I'm working on. Not enough detail and she would look like a cartoon version of E.T.. I finally settled on everything but her head, and then got started on the final version, drawing in HB pencil directly onto the bristol.
This is the part I like to skip, partly because I usually want the final piece to look loose and painterly. However, coloured pencil is a translucent medium (like watercolour) and not very forgiving of mistakes. Erasers can be used, but they can damage the paper and generally, colours will at least leave a stain. You can also use masking or cello tape to 'lift' colour. I'll get to that when I need to, but I'd rather avoid the circumstance altogether.
The pencil I'm using is a hard HB pencil, with slightly rounded end. A sharpened pencil will leave fine lines, a soft pencil will leave too much graphite on the paper. Graphite will mix with the coloured pencils and show through, especially in the lighter ranges, and pressing too hard, or using a sharp pencil will indent the paper and leave fine white/silvery lines as you colour over them. So have to go soft and gentle, but I can indulge in erasing and redo's at this point, and I do. You can barely see the pencil in the photo as I'll be using lemon yellow throughout the piece as an edge colour. In fact, I'll need to lighten up some lines with my soft eraser (just gently pressing and lifting) so that I can have a clear yellow line. The problems of pencil showing through and/or indenting the paper is another reason I avoid using it when I can, but in this case, I really need to have a decently laid out piece to begin.
Oh joy! I'm done all the preliminaries. Wow! I finally get to begin. Whew, that was a lot of time spent without any tangible results. Hoping it was a good investment.