Monday, June 30, 2008


The Boss wouldn't let me use him, (gosh, some people can be touchy about photographs and portraits!) so I tried a self-portrait. It was very tempting to make it a lot more flattering! Especially the teeth! The Boss has told the grandchildren that I smoke cuban cigars. He said they can tell by the colour of my teeth. I could tell by the way they kept giving me sideways glances and looking at one another that they didn't know whether or not to believe him!

(click on photo for bigger image)

The usual mixture of kids colouring pencils on coloured pastel paper. I finished it off with a layer of nice soft own brand 'artist's quality' coloured pencils I bought at W H Smith.

I plan to try this again on good cartridge paper with my brand new pencils, hoping to get a more 'photographic' realism result for comparison. I think I get more life and expression with the 'looser' strokes when I use pastel paper, but a better likeness when I use a smooth support.

After a lot of reading reviews and comparing prices, I finally bit the bullet and ordered some PROPER artists' pencils. For starters, I have a bought a set of 60 Faber-Castell Polychromos, plus a set of 30 Koh-i-Noor Polycolour. After I've tried these for a bit, I think I may also want to get some that sharpen up for fine detail, like Berol Verithin or Derwent Studio, and then maybe some really soft ones too. I've also found that I like to use Faber-Castell erasable colour pencils for sketching out the initial drawing - they either cover up nicely or are easily removed for the lighter areas. I also now have some Daler Rowney Heavyweight Cartridge and some nice Ingres pastel paper. I'm really looking forward to trying it all out!


Friday, June 20, 2008

Virtual Sketch Date - June

I've joined a group called Virtual Sketch Date.

Each month a photograph is posted and participants interpret it.

Here is this month's photograph:

and here is my interpretation:

(click on photo for bigger image)

I've used coloured pencil on cartridge paper. I tried to suggest the foliage and flowers in the background without showing too much detail but giving a feeling of depth.

(Update: I posted this in a hurry last night, because of the time difference. Now I can add a bit...)

It felt very odd working from someone else's photograph. Not quite like using someone else's toothbrush, but close! I've been watching sketches from others in the group coming through, and I could have been much more adventurous in cropping and rearranging the image. I tend to draw exactly what is in front of me. Food for thought there! It's great fun seeing all the different treatments and interpretations, I'm really going to enjoy this group!


Friday, June 13, 2008

Johnson's Blue - A true geranium

Often called 'Cranesbill' because of the shape of the seed heads. Not related to the brightly coloured 'geraniums' grown for floral display, those are actually pelargoniums. Johnson's Blue is my favourite geranium, but it's still not a true blue, there's a lot of pink in it.

(Click on the photo for bigger image)

I was trying to get the effect of light from behind the flowers, and depth in the foliage (these plants have a lot of leaves) without showing too much detail.

Coloured pencil on cartridge paper.