My secret is that I love books ... I have a whole library of them and have been buying books since I was a teenager - I learn really well from books (I even did my degree by way of Distance Education with lots of books). I have to tell you that the Book Depositry has become my best friend! My books cover a lot of different subjects that have caught my attention over the years ... but one book I have been waiting for ... and it arrived this week. "Masterful Color" by Arlene Steinberg ... it is all about coloured pencil painting (I have a few books on the subject - grin!). This book talks about how to use complimentary colours as underpainting. I mainly use graphite as my drawing medium and while I have done a few coloured pencil drawings and even some paintings, and had heard of the concept (especially in the old masters paintings) I had never used complimentary colour underpainting before. Do you want to follow along?
http://arlenesteinberg.com/ ... go check it out later!
These will be my friend over the course of this journey ... I am using Sanford Prismacolor pencils and Prismacolor Verithin pencils. You could use any good quality coloured pencils though - there are pros and cons for each different brand. Hmmm I have a few of those too ... Prismacolor, Derwent Artists, Derwent Watercolour, Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils (one of my favourites) and I would love a set of Faber-Castell Abrecht Durer watercolour pencils - another year perhaps. Pencils last a long time ... I have some still from when I was 15. I used to buy one pencil at a time, $2.00 a pencil which was a lot of money way back when I was 15 - OMG 30 years ago now - funny how you don't really feel different on the inside - it's all about gravity you know ;)
In this instance I will be using the Prismacolors. I also use an Electric Pencil Sharpener to keep a nice fine point on my pencils ... sharpening your pencils become second habit and colouring feels wrong if the pencil is not sharp.
This is my subject ... a beautiful Macaw. This photo was taken by "Tambako", a fellow in Switzerland who is a wonderful photographer. He has graciously given me permission to use his photo for my drawing. Thankyou :)
I have to tell you something ... when I print out my reference photos ... I use a gloss photo paper ... you get so much more depth than using just plain old printing paper.
I am using Fabriano Artistico Extra White Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper in 300gsm.
I start the Underpainting ... I have used Indigo blue on the beak and have started a little on the eyes .. but back to them after.
In this photo you can see (just) that i have finished the underpainting of the beak and darker chest feather area with the Indigo Blue. I have also underpainted the head - both the green and blue feather area with Clay Rose, as this colour is a complimentary colour for both of these main colours.
(am I making sense?) I have also underpainted the orange feather area with Muted Turquoise.
I have used a very light touch with a very very sharp pencil, making very small circular overlapping movements - this helps to fill colour into all the paper and gives a nice smooth look. I leave white space where there are white areas in the picture. I have also started to do the top of the beak where I was testing out using Black Cherry to give the Black beak some depth. (note to self .... use a piece of scrap paper the same as you are using for the portrait, to do the colour testing) I will be adding more and more layers though.
So that is the start of my Macaw ... I will be spending more time during the weekend and hopefully will be able to show you something reasonably on its way by Sunday night. Goodness now I had better put the computer and the pencils away and get off to work ... there is quilting to be done!
Cheers and have a good weekend everyone. PS ... if there are any coloured pencil artists out there who wish to comment or add something more to my explanation, please feel free - the more the merrier!