Working with Greyscale

Yesterday was the final day for the Polo tournament in Domburg, Zeeland (southwest coast of the Netherlands).   And what a beautiful weather it was again, though not too warm.  Perfect day for sketching, and thus I decided to take my art kit with me whilst my boyfriend was photographing.  Like the last time, I went for my colour pencils again.  My Koh-I-Nor Polycolor 12 set of greyscale ones.


Getting Grips With It

In the past, I have used these pencils but blindly used shades without any idea what the pencils looked like on paper.  The colour of the pencils are different from what appears on paper which I had noticed and finally discovered in my first drawing below, a mish-mash of whatever colour I fancied.  Although the drawing was indeed cute, something was not right.


Organising the Greys

Yes of course!  Whilst randomly choosing colours I fancied without much thought to the tone or shade, the drawing lacked continuity.  The pencils in the tin have been mixed in order over time since I forget to return them to the correct place.  Sounds a bit “obsessive compulsive” but those numbers on the pencils are there for a reason!  I then rearranged them in the correct sequence and now will make it a point to put them back as so.  The 400’s represented the cooler tones, whilst the 450’s were the warmer.  Within those, the shades start from lightest and progressively darken as we go up the numbers.  And so I did what I should have done from ages ago.  Create swatches on paper!  I wondered why artists do that, and now it all makes sense.  As I got a better idea about the various greys, of which I was amazed about the wide range, I was excited to put it all to practice.


Now That’s Better!

For this next exercise, I went a little lighter handed, as it’s my first time to use this method.  You can nevertheless notice where the warmer tones are (the pony) and Little One’s face and where the cooler tones are (outfit and stick).  The difference is quite obvious here as I was having a practice with the tones and trying to distinguish the two.  Once I get a little more practice though, I could afford to be a bit more daring with blending the greys.


It’s so much fun to learn various techniques, namely revising the colour theory.  Whilst I was more focused on colours themselves, I totally neglected the grey’s.  Although grey is not a colour I use in my work, it’s good to know when I’m wanting to go back to the basics and sketch and when I don’t feel like using bright vivid colours.  Using various graphic pencil shades of  B or H is also good sketching practice, but the basic colour is still the same.  Greyscales go a step further and emphasize warmer or cooler tones too.  And whilst I’m on the subject of scales, I also have a tin of Polycolor 12 in brownscale which I have used before.  I’ll definitely be applying the above techniques with them as well in future.  So watch this space!

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