vrijdag 13 juli 2012

Of Staying Power, Snacks and Ripples

The next sitting at this drawing took 1 hour. I was finding the area of turbulent water in the top righthand corner a bit daunting and wasn't sure how to tackle it successfully, so I decided to fill in a few of the surrounding areas of calmer water first. Perhaps this would give me more of a grip on things.

I stick to the established sequence of colours to keep the result consistent, first applying a light layer of spruce green, followed by oriental blue, juniper green, Prussian blue and blue grey, using my stumper at en angle between layers to blend the colours together. I then apply the usual layer of Chinese white to get a more even blend. This will help to increase the depth of colour when I add more colour layers later on.



I also use a little orange chrome and primrose yellow to suggest the movement of another koi fish deeper down in the water, making sure to blend the edges well into the surrounding water colours. If I were to leave the edges of this fish too sharp it would appear closer to the surface of the water  - think about how murky things looks when lying in deep water.

Again, it's important to blend the colours together and I do this by applying Chinese white at an angle to the colours.

Having to use the same colours over and over and all this blending seems a bit boring... but it will pay off in the end (I hope!).
I use the prussian blue to mark some darker areas in the water, making sure to leave the lighter areas white for the time being, really just to remind myself where I have to pay attention to the movement of the water and the fall of light.
I'm skirting around the difficult part of the drawing at this point. I'm a bit afraid of the ripples in the water, thinking I'll never get them to look right... so I decide to fill in another koi fish, a pale one that's swimming quite deep off to the left. Well avoidance is often the best tactic! So, I'm a coward - I'll muster up some courage a bit later!

I use orange chrome for the main body of the fish and highlight the ridge of the koi's back with some deep chrome.

Ok, it's time for a snack! Well I need to feed my staying power and a nice, sweet, fruity, biscuity snack is just the thing! Bear with me please - at this early stage this is as much a mental battle as a matter of skill. Well how would you feel if your only weapons were a coloured pencil and a few stumpers?! I need my snack!
Suitably fortified I apply a layer of spruce green and oriental blue to the area of water just below the fish. I then take my stumper and blend the lower side of the fish and the water together, again suggesting depth and movement. I've left some spots of white where there are some floating "bits" in the water and will define these better at a later stage.
Again, I apply the usual layers of colour, blending in between layers.

My attention moves at last to the turbulent area where a few fish are moving about in the water. Using blue grey I pencil in some of the darker ripples, leaving the lighter areas white.
What a mess! But I shall carry on, in the uncertain knowledge that this might turn out ok in the end. "Just stick at it!", I tell myself - and I listen - for a while.
I take the spruce green and draw indiscriminately right across all the shaded areas I've just created, but lightly, so as not to destroy it completely. Don't panic, it's going to be alright!
But here comes the Chinese white again, blending everything together... I can barely see what's underneath now, but it's still all there so...
...taking the spruce green in hand I once again fill in the darker areas. NOW we're getting somewhere!
Well, it does look quite rough still, but things are progressing and I'm beginning to think that this just might work, which gives me a boost to carry on for a little while longer. One hour has gone by. I'm off to have a cup of coffee which I don't dare drink anywhere in the vicinity of my drawing, so I head into the other room to my laptop and make a treasury for my Etsy shop. You can take a look, if you like, right here.

Having spent way too long putting this together, mainly because I accidentally clicked everything away and had to start again, I head back to the task at hand.


I define more of the darker ripples in the water and add the usual sequence of colours. I figure I'll do a huge area of water in this way and add darker areas and more definition later on.

I fill in the head of another koi fish, which helps with getting a real grip on the water. The right side of the koi's body is shaded darker, using a blue grey and deep vermillion blend.

I use an eraser to lighten the highest ripples of water and then start to fill in some more detail on the larger koi fish to the right. I use orange chrome for the lighter area to the left of the koi's body and deep vermillion and deep chrome for the darker right side. The lighter area along the ridge of the koi's back is primrose yellow, blended into the orange at the edges. Ivory black serves to fill in the dark patches on the koi's back.

That's another 35 minutes of drawing, adding up in total to 9 hours and 30 minutes on this drawing so far. I'm off for tea and snacks!... More later...

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