The frame I used for the aspen drawing is made from aspen trees. I posted this picture to demonstrate the size of the completed illustration and to show how beautiful paintings are when they are matted and framed.
Dark Umber is the last color to be added to the branches for now. At this point, the branches look complete; however, later I will add Black to the areas that I feel need to be darkened, in order to add depth and balance to the drawing. Are you drawing these branches in your sleep?
There are many drawing mediums available to artists, each medium having its own specific advantages and drawbacks. Although an artist may find pleasure in working with various types, individual artists usually have a favorite form of expression, based on many factors, not the least of which is simply personal preference. My favorite is colored pencils.
The primary reason I prefer to illustrate with colored pencils is that I have total control over where the color is placed and how it is blended; however, there are also several technical reasons I prefer colored pencils over other mediums such as oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolor.
The process of achieving the desired colors on an illustration, using colored pencils, is similar to watercolor in that each colored area is created by using translucent layers of various shades, slowly building to produce the desired effect; however, watercolor tends to bleed and blend where it wants to and not necessarily where I want it to.
Acrylics dry rapidly, which can make it difficult to blend colors and which adds a sense of urgency to complete the drawing.
On the other side of the spectrum, Oils take so long to dry, that if you're not careful, working the paint too much can cause the colors to blend together more than you want them to, and you wind up painting mud.
Pastels blend nicely together; however, because of their softness, they smear easily and can become messy. They blend on anything and everything they come in contact with.
Colored pencils are wax based and do not smudge or smear. They are not a liquid base, so there is no drying time required. You can stop drawing whenever you want, take a break for any length of time, and resume later, with no concern about anything drying out. And, as an added advantage, there is no messy clean up of paint brushes and pallets.
The one major drawback to colored pencils is the time involved in completing the illustration. If you want a painting that you can complete quickly, then colored pencils is not the medium for you.
Shown above is the reference photo I have selected for my illustration. Over the next few weeks, I will post the various steps used to create the drawing.
"Girl in France" is a colored pencil illustration that was commissioned by a friend of mine. Her daughter was having a wonderful time in France and her mother wanted to give her a special "welcome home" present. She had several great pictures her daughter had sent home to her, but this one was the pose the she felt best captured her daughter's joy. Her mother wanted to add "The Happiest Gurl in all of France" to the bottom of the illustration. The misspelling of "Gurl" is a family pun and made the painting extra special for her daughter.
I love drawing people and animals, and that is what is usually commissioned from me; however this drawing was a special treat for me, because I had the opportunity to include a beach scene with cliffs in the distance.
Some of the things which make a drawing special, as opposed to a photograph, are the subtle changes that can be made to improve the overall feeling that the picture presents. In this drawing, of course, the obvious change is the elimination of the second girl in the background; but there are several others, less apparent.
To make her daughter more of the focal point, I drew her larger than she appeared in the photograph. That's like zooming in on the main subject, while leaving the background in place. In order to balance the drawing, the girl was raised from the bottom of the frame and placed off center, using the cliffs in the background to achieve overall balance. (You might note that in the photo her right foot was cropped, so I had to "make one up".)
The girls head was placed against a background of a very light, cloudy sky, in order to bring out her features, and the tone of the overall picture was lightened, to give it a brighter, more cheerful feeling.
Seascapes present a unique set of challenges to an artist. Ocean waves and foam on a beach are beautiful in real life, and the artist must strive to capture that same mood for the illustration. The waves need to be dark in some areas, showing the depth of the ocean and lighter in other areas, showing the reflection from the sun above. The briny foam requires random patterns of the sandy beach, underlying the pure white foam. Each hole area in the foam requires a slight shadow on one edge and bright white on the other edge. This gives each area depth and makes it more obvious that the "white foam" is on top of the brown sand.
Starving artist trying to get noticed...(and not starve)