Technique waffle

A common question I am asked is about technique. A few times in the past I have posted break downs on how pieces were drawn, explaining what materials were used.

This drawing, from 2017, began life as a piece of black Strathmore paper. I knew there would be a degree of negative space in the composition, so chose the dominant colour for the paper. This avoided having to do big blocks of black shading and helped create seamless joins.

I used three Faber Castell Polychromos oil-based coloured pencils for this drawing. Warm Grey III, Cold Grey I, and White. For the reflection in the eyes, and lids I added some UniPosca highlighter pen.

The best way to understand the way I applied these colours is to zoom in on the picture. Once you do this, you will see that in some areas I used just the one grey tone, and in others lay one on the other. The Cold Grey is the lighter tone, the warm grey a darker tone. Once a basic proportion sketch had been drawn with a 2H pencil, including where every line on the face was going to be, it was then a case of laying the colours down. White was laid down last, to show where the light was coming from, hence more on the left side than the right.

You will note that the highlighter marks on the right eye stand out rather too much (in my opinion). This occurred when the finished piece was scanned, in this case using a flatbed scanner, and sometimes these highlighter pen marks can really stand out very prominently. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have used so much white marker.

The hair, on the head and chin, was done with the cold grey pencil, then on the beard an added amount of white just to highlight, well, the light. A little turps on a clean brush, brushed gently along the edges of the skin on the neck diffused the lines enough to give a slightly out of focus effect.

Does that make sense? I do hope so. So, in summary, choose your paper wisely. Let the negative space do a lot of the work (negative space are those areas of a composition that is essentially blank paper, but the brain fills in the gaps, so to speak, creating its own mental image). In this drawing, look at the subjects left ear, mainly in shadow with a faintest of pencil marks, but your brain tells the viewer that there is an ear there. And, I didn’t even have to draw it!

So, there you are. Drawing lecture over. Have a lovely weekend.

Bourne

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