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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am currently working on a more in depth tutorial of my methods using color pencil but here is a vague description of my process.


I start with the photo reference...I then draw out my outline sketch on drafting vellum, I do this for several reasons...Sketching the outline; there are so many ways I am able to accomplish this but since it is a fairly strait forward photo, I just sketched it from the photo, if I would had run into any problems I would have went a different rout. But it went fairly good, just a basic outline…

I do outline sketches on Vellum paper for four reasons…
First, if I make a mistake I do not ruin my main support…
Second, the vellum is easy to work with during the transfer stage…
Third, if I really mess up on the painting I do not have to redo the sketch…
Fourth, if the client wants another painting of the same photo I have the sketch, this has happened quite often…
Getting the spacing and the proportions are critical, so always double check,


Transferring the sketch is quite easy, just take some graphite rub onto the back of the sketch around where the sketch lines.
Then take the sketch and put it onto the support you are using and begin to trace the outline…I use a darker pencil, this allows me to see what lines I have gone over…
After the transfer is complete I then go over it defining some of the areas with a color pencil, usually terra cotta, just because I like that color it blends in well during the painting…You can use what ever color you like…
This piece is 11X14, on 80 lb. canson, pure white drawing paper, the smooth side


My pallet will contain these colors…
Light Peach, Terra Cotta
Peach, Henna
Deco Peach (which is no longer a Prismacolor color) Indigo Blue
Blush Pink, Tuscan Red
Pink, Cream
White, Lilac
Crimson Red …………………..there may be a couple more after I let you know

I work the whole painting all at once, some may have problems doing this, I know I did when I first started, I use to go section at a time, nose then eyes then mouth…

My first color regardless of portrait is light peach; I will scrub this into the face even over highlights and eyes… not looking at any real control right now, pretty much just filling in space…

In this particular piece I work the hair shapes with cream, lilac, terra cotta and crimson red for the bow…

I started the shirt with cloud blue and white…

After I scrub the overall, I came back with terra cotta and tuscan red for the beginning of the eyes, I am just shaping them...

I then came in with lilac to start forming the shadow ares…


So now what I have been working on is tone of the skin, I have worked Peach into the mix and then come back over top of that with White to start smoothing the color out, plotting in some highlight areas with White just to lay in a general position…
I also started to add Terra Cotta to some of the shadow areas around the neck and sides of the head…

Continued shaping the eyes giving detail to some of the highlights and eyebrows, I usedTerra Cotta for this and someTuscan Red…

AS I worked with these colors, I also used them to start adding depth to the hair, just defining shapes…

When I have smoothed out the skin with the burnishing I went back and added some add Deco Peach,Cream, and working back and forth burnishing between layer, I would also like to mention I am working quite fast with the pencils not being to careful at this point…

Again while I work these color into the painting I pay attention to the areas of interest when I have a certain color in use, such, the nose, mouth, some outline around the cheeks, some strands of hair…

To finish up this stage I go in and use the Lilac to start defining the shadows a bit more while scrubbing out the shirt with White and Cloud Blue…

Lastly, I would like to mention, I am not to concerned with exact details at this stage, such as, the mouth and the teeth, I can see that they are off and will be fixing them along the way. Another aspect I would like to mention is I have not yet put my darkest colors down yet, If I commit to the darkest dark to early it will give me no room for error later…


So I laid in some color and highlights and now I am concentrating on building up the color I am after, I want a darker peachy color…I am working the Peach color pretty strongly at this stage working around the highlights I had just placed. By going over the highlights I dull them down but not wipe them out…


When I get to a good finishing point with the Peach I will come back with lilac and continue to lay in some shadows, I am laying in some shadow area withTerra Cotta as well, along the nose, nostrils and eyes…

I continue laying in the hair and the shirt while working the overall painting, I am looking for harmony throughout the painting…

The layers are getting thick now and to a point I would like to see some warmth to the piece, in the next picture is a close up of the face…

So this is the close up and you should be able to see the kind of strokes I lay in for this layer…

There is only one color here and it is a most powerful color that could get away from you if you are not careful…Crimson Red this is one time I use a very sharp pencil and a light touch, just dragging the pencil over the layer, I crosshatch these lines along the area I would like to bring out, the cheeks, forehead, neck and chin…

Now that I have that layer of red, I come back in and burnish and blend that into the rest of the color, I usedDeco Peach I wanted to get a little more glow…


On this step I am working the eye a bit more and starting to define them…starting to define some of the darkest spots on the painting…


All along I am smoothing the skin and shaping the mouth…

At this stage I am laying down the same color I have been using throughout this painting, I continue not really putting any more layers down but more like shaping and blending what is already there. I am continually using all the colors I have been to achieve the color I am looking for…
I am really putting detail into the hair now and concentrating on color harmony…


I laid in another layer of Crimson Red looking for a little more depth and proceeded as before, I used white this time to blend…brought out the red a bit more…


This next step is where I really concentrate on tying things together, I start to dull out the highlights, shape the shadows and define the eyes and hair…
I also decided to lay in a background of blue just to give it some depth…


The finished painting results, You can see the shadows of Lilac also the Tuscan Red that really stands out in the mouth, chin and neck area, the hair and the eyes…
Finished up the crosshatched background, I think it came out pretty good for being a fun piece…
The highlights are not overblown, hair looks pretty believable, shirt doesn’t stand out in a bad way…
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Another wip

Okay this should be an easy one but some complications...

Complication 1, the flash took a lot out of this photo reference

Complication 2, capturing the glow of the jacket...

The client wants this one 12X16, I started off by doing the outline trace of the girl...Doing this sketch on a separate sheet of paper and not your main support makes goofing up a lot easier...if I do mess this up all I will do is trace the reference outline back onto a new support...By the way I will choose Canson Honeysuckle this will provide for me a warmth that the photo is lacking...


Well, I'm not sure what I want right now I think I'll just start laying in the color...the one thing that I did like was that darkness at the top of the hair so I may do something with that...

Here is the line drawing transfer and the fist initial color lay down...Prismacolor pencil...

I will lay in some basic color and then on the second stage I use the colorless blender to start smoothing the color out...colors so far are peach, light peach, cream, terra cotta, and some of the blues...


So far I just laid the color down lightly and blending a whole lot and going back and forth trying to grasp the right feel...

I think I will have the back ground dark, probably blue with hints of violet...


So far so good, still just laying color down and back and forth with the blending. Trying to maintain the balance...


I maintained the darks and lights today and focusing in on the contrasts that will soon be the focal point, more defined strokes within the hair and incorporating the jackets color into the hair and facial features...almost done


Well, not completely done I will have to come back and tweak the over all after it sets around for me to nit pick, but I will start the back ground, that won't take all that long to do...never really got the glow I was looking for but I am happy with this painting as of now, The thing that I did was pick up a dark green pencil in the place of the indigo, caught it in time but there is just a hint of green in her sleeve...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Michael, I am happy to be here and look forward to meeting more artists and learning from you all and sharing what I can contribute...One thing I like about this forum is that is does not go at lightning speed and there is time to really look to see what everybody is doing.
 

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Thanks for this, George! It will be a big help to me when I take on my first colored pencil project.
 

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Wow, thanks for posting this valuable information. I gave it the once over due to time constraints, but I am coming back to digest it all. Absolutely wonderful! This is like a 'windfall' in my front porch. Thanks again!
 

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Hey George
Had some time to go over your process. I first want to mention I ran across a product you may find helpful in your initial sketching. There is a spray carbon called Bernini Pencil-Line Transfer spray. I personally haven't used it yet, but for sure I will try it out. After you're done with your initial sketch, you just spray it on the back and transfer from there. You maybe so efficient with your process you won't see an advantage, but thought I suggest it just in case.

Ok, after digesting your process I came up with these questions and thank-you's:

You used a term I''m not familiar with, 'Scrub'. Is that like blending or burnishing?

I found your statement about not messing with early details very helpful. This will save me mucho time. I get caught up in the details so I will strive not to do that in the early stages. Thanks 'Big Time' for that!

Also, you mentioned holding the dark colors for later on. Another thing I don't do which does cause me trouble later on. The pictures always come out darker that I wanted.

I like the simple, yet pleasing back-round with the blue. As I once heard, "Concise clarity without ambiguity" . Nice!

And I have one last question. You mentioned that you used a blender rather early on in the drawing. I've had trouble with that, it seems to flatten the paper grain too much and subsequent layers just don't seem to layer well after blending. I usually hold off blending 'til near the end. What's your secrete there?

Again, thanks so much for posting that. As you can see I found your thread very valuable in my quest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
There is a spray carbon called Bernini Pencil-Line Transfer spray.

No I have not seen this product and will checking into it thanks for the info...
You used a term I''m not familiar with, 'Scrub'. Is that like blending or burnishing?

No not really burnishing but more like just laying the color in without any regards of detail, shading, almost like a coloring book...I just lay in a quick layer of color. On really dark backgrounds I do this to cover and area, I've used the word scrub for many years and have artists ask that same question...

I found your statement about not messing with early details very helpful. This will save me mucho time. I get caught up in the details so I will strive not to do that in the early stages. Thanks 'Big Time' for that!


I use to go straight for the details...when I was forced to do nothing but shapes and work the overall piece I found that there is a logic behind this method. After one of my instructors showed me that working the whole piece you have a better feel and control of the piece and you don't get lost as not to see your errors...balance and tonal issues come up when you work a little section at a time and it is a lot harder to fix something at that point than it is seeing the piece come together as a whole.

Also, you mentioned holding the dark colors for later on. Another thing I don't do which does cause me trouble later on. The pictures always come out darker that I wanted.

Again, different instructor showed me that laying in your darkest color early on in the art, you have nowhere to go...especially when working detail to early in the artwork. If you make something the same value on one area of the piece and it also shares the value to a place where you know it is going to be way to dark, you have no choice to go darker than you initially planned...that's when the piece becomes way to dark and you may end up loosing your balance.

I like the simple, yet pleasing back-round with the blue. As I once heard, "Concise clarity without ambiguity" . Nice!

I like that statement, the background is a tricky beast to tame and most often it is usually overworked or not thought out in the initial plans. I like a plain background most of the time or none at all.

You mentioned that you used a blender rather early on in the drawing. I've had trouble with that, it seems to flatten the paper grain too much and subsequent layers just don't seem to layer well after blending. I usually hold off blending 'til near the end. What's your secrete there?

I have never really had any problems except when I was using a lighter weighted support, when I went to using Stonehenge Vellum I rarely have issues. One of the main reasons I do this is to have a smooth surface to start blending the color I have on the piece and not so much putting new layers down.

Again, thanks so much for posting that. As you can see I found your thread very valuable in my quest.

You are very welcome, that is what it's all about in the long run...learning from each other.
 
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