Taking a break from a rather complicated colour piece I am working on, to sketch some local wildlife in graphite. I am lucky to have 2 small nature reserves within walking distance of my house so I thought why not use the residents as inspiration!
5×7 graphite on paper.
The second of my Nimbus series – tried a slightly different technique this time getting all the whites & light tones in first to speed up the process and to avoid it going ‘muddy.’
Working over the whole piece instead of just sections it came together much better and I prefer this method of working – unfortunately when creating bigger pieces it is not always feasible to do this as you end up bracing your hand on areas you’ve worked, but for this size I was able to get away with it.
9 x 9 on Strathmore Toned Grey
My second go using drafting film – Saxon the wolf-dog who lived at Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre.
Picked up as a stray and in poor condition, in Northern Ireland, Saxon’s days were numbered. He was housed at a pound whilst they tried to find a licensed home to take him on. No zoos would take him because he was a hybrid, and having too high a percentage of wolf, he could not be placed in a domestic setting (as per UK law). Thankfully Gentleshaw had a suitable enclosure and gave him a home, quickly becoming a firm favourite with visitors and staff. An impressive but gentle giant, he lived at the centre for 10 years until old age caught up with him last month and he slipped over the rainbow bridge peacefully, on his own terms.
He liked to sit with his paws crossed, I wanted to include that in my portrait which meant doing a full body – something I don’t do that often. It would also mean creating a bit of background to sit on which I know isn’t easy on this surface. As well as the ‘fake’ blur/depth of field that some modern phones create (which I don’t like) I was really challenging myself and pushing just how much I could achieve on this surface. Did I swear and stomp and tear my hair out? You bet I did! Are there things I would change? Of course! Did I learn a lot – absolutely!
12 x 16 Coloured pencil on drafting film
“Nimbus” A curious juvenile lanneret
9 x 9 on Strathmore Toned Grey
I have several shots of this inquisitive little fella which I might do as a series – what do you think?
“Adara” – Female european kestrel 9 x 12
I decided to revisit the toned paper to see how I feel about it – I had forgotten how challenging it was! Thankfully Strathmore has now produced a better version of this paper which I will be trying out in future.
The lovely Murphy is now complete!
A new challenge for me – a strange but very enjoyable surface called drafting film, used by architects and planners but increasing in popularity among coloured pencil artists.
12 x 16
Juvenile common buzzard. I used the lightfast paper again to see how it handles feather texture, and I found it a little tough going in comparison to doing fur. More experiments needed I think.
Yes, I still do puppers now and again amongst all the bird madness! I decided to try the Fabriano for the first time as it is a very popular choice among coloured pencil artists. It has an almost canvas-like feel, and I wasn’t sure if I preferred having more grain – some experiments are needed I think, but overall I was happy with how this one turned out.