I use a mix of colored pencils from a variety of companies, including Prismacolor and Faber Castell. All pencils are of the highest quality, color saturation, and light-fastness.

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils and Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils are those used most often. They are the most popular wax-based pencils among colored pencil artists the world over.

I use many types of supports. High quality drawing papers, museum-quality mat board, and sanded papers and boards are only a few. As with pencils, supports are chosen for longevity and color-fastness.

Layering & Glazing Technique

Every portrait begins with a detailed drawing. During the drawing phase, the overall design of the portrait is determined. Design includes the size and placement of the subject; establishing light and shadow and determining background elements. The drawing is approved by the client, then transferred to the drawing paper or other support.

Most drawings are then fully developed in half-tones using two or three colors. The under drawing may be drawn with browns, grays, or in colors that provide a complement to the final colors of the background and horse. Details are placed at this stage. Lights and darks are established and adjustments can be made if necessary. Working out the details in this manner can take up to six weeks depending the size of the portrait.

This under drawing can take up to four weeks to develop, depending on the size and complexity of the composition.

Once the under drawing is complete, color is applied over it in thin transparent layers. Detailing is the final stage.

Salt Lake in Colored Pencil, the classical method

Original colored pencil drawing, Salt Lake in Colored Pencil
To see the classical method using an umber under drawing, click here.

Direct Drawing

I also work in a more direct manner. With direct drawing, the finished drawing is transferred to the support and I begin drawing with full color.There is no under drawing. Color, value and shapes are developed simultaneously. The drawing is developed area-by-area, finishing each area as much as possible at full color before moving to the next area. Most generally, work proceeds from background to foreground and top to bottom.

While this process may appear to be faster, it takes about the same amount of time.

Portrait of a Palomino Filly, the direct method

Original colored pencil portrait, Fire N Ice Filly by Carrie L. Lewis

To see the direct drawing method using an umber under drawing, click here.

Which Method is Best?

Each method has advantages and disadvantages. The drawing technique is chosen based on the subject and on time considerations.

Finishing Touches

Whatever method is used, the completed portrait is allowed to sit for a few days before being reviewed. Changes or adjustments are made as necessary and a digital image is provided for client approval. When the portrait is approved, a protective varnish is added.

The portrait is then ready for framing to customer specifications and delivery.

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