Shiretoko Bear

It’s so nice to be back home with all my art stuff at hand! I accumulated a lot of ideas in my head during the Japan trip, and now is the time to put them in action.  Today I thought I’d take it a little easy, leave the paintbrushes alone for now and go for some pastels! I used soft pastels for the background as they give an earthy powdery look and for the bears and leaves, I used oil pastels to make them stand out more with the thick velvety texture.

Just grabbed a “simple” theme today and worked on something I had done before. Bear on a mountain! Was seen afar in a mountain during our cruise of Shiretoko Peninsula and hence Shiretoko Bear.  After a draft on paper I made an outline with some charcoal pencil on the drawing paper. Rather than pastel-purpose paper I used fine grain paper which is still quite heavyweight. To be honest, I don’t really like pastel-purpose paper because the surface is rather bumpy and although they help the pastel pigments adhere better they leave a grainy uneven finish and you have to use quite a lot of pastel for even coverage.

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I experimented blending the pastels with my fingers and some cotton buds as well as with a medium-sized flat brush, leaving out the areas in which I wanted to colour with oil pastels.  On top of the blended pastels, I added briskly some strokes then once satisfied with the whole background, sprayed some fixative on the drawing before proceeding with the oil pastel bit.

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The bear and the plants were filled in with oil pastels.  I just blended colours with the pastels themselves when using three different shades of brown for the bear and two different ones for the plants.  These plants are what bears eat when there is nothing else to eat and they need to feed also their baby cubs.

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Et voilà!  Kawaii bear in velvety finish.  I could’ve made the mountains more foresty with loads of trees but I wanted to let the bear be the focal point amidst the different shades of the mountains.  Not bad for two and half weeks of not drawing!

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