Rainy Day Drawing

It’s a cold rainy morning in Los Angeles and since I have the good luck to be home today it seemed the perfect day for a little drawing in my warm and comfy art room. And I thought I ‘d talk a little about a techniques I’m using on this Sam drawing.

I’ve darkened the shadows since the last post. I also warmed up the skin toned a bit. But mostly at this stage, I want to pass on something  I learned in an art class some years ago on how to easily get dark tones on this type of paper. As I mentioned  before, the paper is an 12 x 18  sheet of Canson mi-tienes. I’m not 100% positive but I’m pretty sure the color is Moonstone and I’m working on the smooth side which I much prefer over the textured side.

The trick is to use graded grey toned art markers to put in varying dark shades before applying the colored pencil. This is what I did for the dark shadow behind his right shoulder.  I am using an assortment of warm grey colors in 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% intensities with the warm black color as the darkest tone.

These Prismacolor markers have two tips, one broad and one fine. The broad tip is the only one I use here since the idea is to lay down covering color in fairly large areas.

I started with the warm black in the lowest portion and then graduated to the lightest markers toward the top. The idea is to work quickly laying down the darker color and then using the next lighter color to blend the edges and continue laying color while the first application is not dry yet. This gets you a fairly smooth transition of color with no obvious banding. The good thing is that even if your application of color is not so even (like mine) you can totally smooth it out when you apply the colored pencil on top.

In the above picture I have already applied black pencil over the bottom area and evened out the color here. If I was really confident I could have gone through the whole image and made a grisaille rendering with the just the markers first, but that would mean I had to have a lot of things figured out already, like where exactly the light source is coming from and how dark the whole thing is going to get. For now I would rather do it bit by bit and try to figure things out as I go.

I haven’t really used the markers on his face, just a few strokes here and there in the shadows of the hair. Again it’s mostly because I’m not sure how dark I’m going to go on his face. One more thing to mention is that I’m using the warm greys and black here because the paper color is a warm grey tone so it’s a good match. Prismacolor also has markers of graduated cool grey tones and a cool black that might match other paper tones better.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to many relaxing hours of working on this. One thing about working with colored pencil is that you can almost get this zen thing going once you’re in the flow. With your favorite music playing in  the background, building up the color with your barely-there pencil strokes, not really dwelling on fact that you need to do about a million and one more before you finish. There is not really anything else  I’d rather be doing on a rainy Monday.


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