Welcome back to the fifth installment of this colored pencil demonstration. If you missed any of the previous posts, you can find them here.
- Aeropostale in Colored Pencil Introduction & Part 1
- Aeropostale in Colored Pencil – Part 2
- Aeropostale in Colored Pencil – Part 2
- Aeropostale in Colored Pencil – Part 4
I mentioned in a previous post, that this portrait wasn’t drawn in the usual manner. I didn’t start it and keep working on it until it was finished. Far from it. It was something I was doing for myself, so it often was set aside for long periods while I worked on paid portraits.
Between the previous post and this one, nearly two years elapsed. Twenty months, to be exact. This week, lets pick up the drawing process after the portrait that lengthy period.
When I started again, I adjusted color and value throughout the drawing. Fixing things that had become obvious since I last looked at it.
That began with Tuscan Red applied to the darkest areas of the neck in directional and contour strokes. I also stroked Tuscan Red into the gaps between hair masses in the mane using heavier pressure and long strokes. I used lighter strokes to shade under the jaw and jowl.
I worked on the eye with Non-Photo Blue, Black Grape, and Indigo Blue to sharpen the edges of the reflected light and produce a more liquid look, but I needed Black for that, too, and didn’t have it on hand.
Then I worked on the background, using large, diagonal strokes, heavy pressure, and the blunt ends and sides of Indigo Blue and Dark Green to essentially burnish the color that was already there. Since I was attempting to bring out the impressed signature that had been covered with a Bestine rub, I did a little scratching out of color when I finished applying fresh color.
Limepeel and Jasmine were used in that order to enhance the reflected ground light under the neck, cheek, and jaw, then I added a layer of Violet Blue applied with medium pressure to the shadows of the neck and Sienna Brown applied with light pressure and the side of the pencil to the cheek and other areas of the face.
In the next session, I layered Light Umber throughout the mid tones of the face. All of the work up to now has been focused on the neck, mane, and background. I wanted to bring the rest of the drawing nearer to completion. Using very light pressure and keeping my pencil needle sharp, I applied a light, even layer of Light Umber to the mid-tones and shadows of the face.
I also began wearing Opti-Visors (left), so I could see a limited area at a high level of magnification. In this fashion, I began placing the fine skin details around the mouth and nostril.
Then I traded Opti-Visors for computer reading glasses and began working on defining or softening facial contours, whichever was appropriate.
When I finished with the face, I began layering Light Umber over the neck, but quickly found the surface there was too slick. About the only thing I accomplished was knocking down wax bloom from the last work session.
Using a firmer stroke and heavier pressure, I also began separating hair masses in the forelock and adding color to the corner of the eye. Darkening the corner of the eye opened the eye up considerably and also gave it a more friendly look. I used Light Umber first, then PS Black.
The work session ended with an application of Dark Umber in some of the darker areas of the shoulder and chest. Most of that area is so slick with color, however, it needed a layer of retouch varnish. So I wiped off the wax bloom and sprayed the painting very lightly.
I wasn’t sure whether or not the drawing was finished at this point, but I was ready to move on. So I presented it to the colored pencil class I was leading (and during which I’d been working on the portrait). The decision was unanimous. It was done.
That was that, or so I thought. The drawing was put on a wall and, after a period of time, I stopped seeing it.
Then one day this spring, I happened to stop and look at it. Nearly five years had passed and all of a sudden, I could see things that could be improved upon. Have you ever had that happen? You can read about that in my self-crit in which I tell how to know when a drawing is done. My conclusion? This drawing isn’t done.
It’s my plan to take up the challenge to finish this drawing this summer, so stay tuned.
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