Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Viola Close-up WIP 2

I worked about 4 hours more on this today and it's almost finished, I just need to do a little tweaking here and there.  I was afraid that maybe the green card would dominate too much but I think it's okay.  I won't list all the pencils I used - too numerous! - but there are 8 greens, including turquoise green, indigo, periwinkle blue, aubergine, orange, 3 yellows, cream and white from the Supracolor range.  I also used Prismacolor Lilac and, to get that background really dark, I used Lyra Rembrandt Night Green which is the darkest green I've found in any of the brands I have.

Lots of people tend to shy away from using coloured pencils on dark papers, mainly because it seems really hard to get good, strong, bright colour down.  I rather like working on dark paper now so I thought I'd put down a few of the things I've learned - someone might find them useful.  

My tips for working on dark paper

  1. Firstly, I choose a shade of paper according to the subject I want to draw and the effect I want to achieve.  Usually, this shade will act as the base colour for the picture thus cutting down the amount of time I'd have to spend laying down pencil colours.  The paper colour I use is integral to the picture I'm doing, so I choose carefully.  Sometimes I get it wrong but it usually works out well.
  2. To keep my colours vibrant, I'll lay down different colours side by side rather than layering one on top of another.  I've found that heavy layering tends to dull down the colours and make them muddy.  By 'side by side' I mean a few fine strokes of one colour and then, alongside, a few of another colour with minimal overlap.
  3. Occasionally......just occasionally......when I want to achieve a really dark shade, I'll mix 2 (maybe even 3!) colours together.  On the Viola, for example, I layered Aubergine, Indigo and Night Green to achieve those inky patches on the background.   
  4. I'm very sparing with the White pencil when it comes to the brighter areas.  I use creams for 'white' areas and add White pencil only on the very brightest parts of my subject.  I've found that doing this makes highlights stand out much more.
These are just a few ideas, I'm sure there are many more out there.  Feel free to let me know!


Carolina said...

It's coming to life really nicely...
Thank you for posting your own developed tips, that's very generous from you :)
I think this time I understood -finally!- the thing about putting colors together and not layering on top of one another. I had noticed that the most you layer, the most you loose brightness, and you are so right! Why doesn't this happen on white paper??? Over dark paper, burnishing is even worse, it should be called "scraping off" instead :)
What do you think of polychromos performance on dark paper?
Thanks a lot again and hope to see the final version soon.
Big hugs,

sue said...

The green background sets it off perfectly - it really pops!

Good advice about laying pencil colours side by side instead of layering (just wish I could be disciplined enough to follow it) I inevitably layer and end up with the muddy effect you mention :o(

Look forward to seeing the 'final tweaks'

Chrissy said...

It is lovely but your flowers are usually gorgeous. Thanks for sharing some dark paper tips, I have only every had a go once on black. It was Stonehenge and the one thing I discovered is that it is very easily damaged ...so avoid erasors and blue tack at all costs. I am interested at Carolina's comment at burnishing too, I struggled with that.

Felicity said...

The colour of the background is perfect! I love the little delicate touches around the very edges of the petal, it just makes it pop! I haven't tried any colours other than brown, but it looks like fun.

Janet Pantry said...

Thanks Carolina, Sue, Chrissy and Felicity for your comments. You asked some interesting questions Carolina, I'll put something together in a blog post soon to try to tackle some of them! One thing about burnishing though, I never do that...not intentionally anyway! I like to see pencil strokes and have a bit of the support showing through - just a personal preference.


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