Back to the Drawing Board!

A slightly more adventurous piece!

Recently I had a strong desire to go back to my first creative love of drawing. That is to say coloured drawing with coloured pencils. When I was a child every Christmas my parents would buy me a shiney new tin of Caran d'Ache pencils which filled me with excitement. I couldn't wait to open up the tin and see all those beautiful ordered colours just waiting to come to life on paper.

I have never been without a tin since, although for a very long time now they have been sat on a shelf in my studio, always in the back of my mind. Painting has really taken over but I've never enjoyed painting as much as drawing. I feel I have much more control with pencils than with a paintbrush. It's more direct and the results are immediate. It's true that the pallete is limited in one sense but with a bit of skill you can make incredible and varied colour mixes by lots of delicate layering. Since those early days I have aquired more tins of coloured pencils with an even bigger range of colours, adding yet more depth and nuance to my drawings.

My selection of coloured pencils.

A range of supports can be used for coloured pencil work such as good cartridge paper or even watercolour paper. In this way a delicate wash can be used first and then the pencil applied over the top to get a quicker coverage without tearing the paper to bits from too much pencil work! This has happened to me before and is most upsetting as there's just no way of fixing the damage! For my recent adventure back into the world of drawing I opted for using mount board. Simply because I had a stack of it lying around and wondered whether it would work or not. It did work and was a pleasure to work on as it's so sturdy and smooth. I could press really hard with the pencils if need be and was able to add plenty of layers without damaging the support. Also the cream coloured background added a nice softness to the colours and then areas could be left uncoloured as with the cat in this detail.

Detail of recent coloured pencil drawing with cat left as background colour.

I used to use coloured pencil work a lot when I was at college to create illustrations for children's books. Since working more with paint and developing my own painting style, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could now do the same sort of style but with using pencil. That really was the point of the excercise and what prompted the recent urge in the first place. The results were as expected and it was possible to create a similar style. I havn't yet tried to draw a human figure in my painting style with the pencils but I might try that next. For now I'll just safely stick to landscapes and animals!

Working the coloured pencils onto mountboard.

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