What am I working on? A wildflower illustration! I created two ink drawings of white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) from reference photos taken while on a wonderful weekend art retreat to Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings, MI last spring. (You can read my posts about the retreat for details.) I wanted to start adding color to one of them.
I prefer working with colored pencil when adding color, so I brought out my favorite Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils. My paper is also one of my favorites, Fabriano Artistico, 140 lb, hot-press watercolor paper. This takes both the ink and the colored pencil well, so it’s a great choice for these types of illustrations. This particular piece is on a 9″ x 12″ size sheet.
I did some test swatches on a separate sheet of paper to compare colors to the reference photo. I also wanted to start with the darkest shadow areas, and decided that a base layer of deep cobalt green (#9201-158) would be best. This is more of a blue-green, and you can see the areas where that is the first layer.
On top of that, I began layering permanent green olive (#9201-167). Again, you can see where I started adding that and how it begins to bring more depth to the shaded areas.
I have a few other greens that I will layer in as I go, including pine green (#9201-267), may green (#9201-170) and earth green (#9201-172).
Here is the drawing with the reference photo so that you can see what I am working with:
The key for any colored pencil drawing like this is PATIENCE!! I tend to want to get it done in the limited time I have to work on something, but end up rushing it and not taking my time to really layer properly.
The other important key in colored pencil work is a *sharp pencil point*. This is emphasized over and over in all of the drawing books I have, particularly on botanical illustration. A sharp point allows you to blend layers of color more smoothly and create the details needed without making it flat. This all combines to create a richer drawing with depth and detail.
Do you work with colored pencil? What do you like best about the medium? What is the most frustrating for you?
Wish me patience and sharp points and I will keep you posted on my progress!