Highline Deer

Deer Against Blue and Tan.
Graphite and colored pencil on tan paper, 7.5″ x 9.75″

This is one of a couple of deer I saw while taking a long walk at the Highline Lake State Park last week. I liked the pose as it stepped over a branch.

On the reference photo I made a grid and some diagonal lines to make it easier to see where different areas of the body are in relation to each other, but there was no grid on the paper. Transferring a drawing from a photo to paper using a grid on both can really help to get good accuracy, but the process is so slow that I don’t enjoy it. This was still slow because it was partly relying on that method, but I feel like if a drawing can’t be transferred by sight then it means more practice is needed, which is still something I need. Besides that, I tried using some sight-sizing, which is where you hold a pencil between you and the subject and use your thumb to measure the length of various things. That way you don’t accidentally draw a line disproportionately long and it’s faster than using a grid.

In the first try the proportions were off because I was going purely by sight and not measuring anything. Since the drawing was going to be started again anyways it was an opportunity to try different pencils and charcoal on that paper, so that’s why it looks a little messy.

The second try was drawn just with my favorite pencil, a .3mm Pentel graphgear 500 with either 2H or 4H lead. I have both and I’m not sure which is actually in it. The eraser was a thin Tombow mono. The drawing was going pretty well, but there wasn’t a finalized plan for what to do in the rest of the composition or what kind of background to use, so I decided to place everything in an oval with a simple background. After watching a video on how to draw ovals it went surprisingly well.

The background sky is just a Prismacolor light cerulean that’s heavily applied in two layers and smoothed out with a Derwent blender pencil.

Waterfall Book 19

A Little Bird Catching a Bug
Colored pencil on paper, 7″ x 5″

One more try at colored pencil, but this’ll probably be the last time I use it in this notebook since the paper is so smooth that it doesn’t pick up the color well. I think I have a good idea of a material to use for next week though.

Notebook Ready For Drawing
Drawing setup

Here’s how I started, with the notebook clamped open on an old canvas board resting on my desktop easel and the sketch stuck above it using a little modeling clay.

Waterfall Book 18

A Peaceful Garden
Colored pencil on paper, 7″ x 5″

This week I wanted to try a peaceful scene with the idea of botanical gardens in mind. I was in a bit of a rush with travel plans so to get it done today some of the work was done while waiting at a train station and some while on the train at stops. These are Koh-i-Noor colored pencils, mostly the polycolor line, but also a little of one of their woodless progresso greens was used. The photo might not be the best but all I have available right now are dim yellowish lights and some editing was needed.

Waterfall Book 9

Waterfall Book 9

Mixed media on paper, 7” x 5”

The paper had to endure a lot this time. To start, I lightly covered everything with a charcoal pencil with a some white charcoal mixed in. Everything was coated with clear acrylic gesso. This blended the charcoal a little for a middle grey background, it sealed the charcoal so it wouldn’t smudge anymore, and it provided a toothy surface to draw on top of that was like fine sandpaper.

After that I switched to colored pencils. The abrasiveness of the clear gesso helped pick up the colored pencil, which was close to full strength without much pressure, but it wasn’t making the smoothest lines. In a few places more white was needed, but the gesso didn’t have enough tooth left to pick up more pencil, so I applied more clear gesso in that specific place. Once it was dry, the surface tooth was restored and the color below was sealed again, so it was as if working on fresh paper. The colored pencil could also be smudged by the wet brush though, so I had to be careful with that. The rain was made with a card used as a straight edge and a white pencil.

Waterfall Book 9 Tools

The tools I used this time were an old size 10 filbert brush from Loew-Cornell for the Liquitex clear gesso, white and black charcoal pencils from General’s, black, grey, and white colored pencils from Koh-I-Noor, and a black colored pencil from Tombow. The Tombow pencil went on the paper smoother, but required more pressure for a heavy application, and was useful for increasing the coverage of the black in some places or making finer lines. A few pencils I sharpened with a knife in a way that exposes a lot of lead so they can be used for a long time without sharpening, but the white charcoal lead broke right after I started using it. It has a much more brittle and crumbly lead.

Waterfall Book 9 Ideas

This is a sketch pad of 14″ x 11″ bristol board that I set up on a table easel. I’ve found that sketching ideas on large paper works much better for me. This allows easier exploration of an idea because related ideas can be grouped on one paper instead of separated on many papers. A drawing can be made on one part of the paper and then next to it a certain technique or medium can be experimented with. Here I used a lot of different media, including acrylic, watercolor pencil, and even a little water soluble wax paint that I just got and wanted to know how it’d work on paper. Using a large paper also allows for a non-linear development of an idea that may branch out into multiple possible options.