It’s been some time since I last made a proper full-on colored pencil sketch! And for a change, I wanted to give my paint brushes a break and go back to using my colored pencils. In my studio sits my beautiful set of 150 Holbein colored pencils neatly packed in a beautiful wooden box waiting to be used. I’ve yet to use them, I thought, and now this would be a great chance to start…
I then opened my large Strathmore color pencil sketchbook to begin drawing but instead of a blank page appeared a drawing I had started a year ago and totally forgot about. Shows how busy we have been and how fast time flies! I now remember sketching away during that warm September last year with another brand of colored pencils which I believe was Staedler’s Ergosoft. Then I somehow got busy with the moving to our new house and this drawing was sadly cast aside. What a pity because it was such a cute sketch of me and my boyfriend walking together and looking forward to a cooler September, following that heatwave we had in the summer. Glad I came across it then so I can continue where I left off!
Continuing Where I Left Off
From Staedtler’s Ergosoft came a change of colored pencil brands to Holbein’s but that shouldn’t matter. I first went over the existing background with similar colors of red, orange and yellow, using horizontal strokes and using two different colors alternately for each the ground and sky. Once I was happy with the outcome, I proceeded in drawing us! I of course had a wide choice of colors to choose from but kept it to a minimum of two or three for each area. Whilst I opted for magenta pink for my dress, his outfit was turquoise blue. My Derwent blending “pencil” was used where needed, ie. for the outfits and faces. For the eyes, the burnishing “pencil” came handy.
TIP: Confused by the colors used? I myself was also overwhelmed by the 150 different shades in the box! My advice is to grab a piece of paper or a page from a small sketchbook and create color swatches for what you had used, also noting down color name and number and mentioning where and for what. That way you can easily refer to the colors whenever you need to go back to them, ie recoloring, going over areas or working on the edges. Here is my sample:
Finishing It All Off
I was more or less done with the coloring, but felt more details could be incorporated. To make the sketch more interesting, I doodled in some leaves being scattered around the ground to accentuate the autumn. The leaves are still green as it is still early September and not quite the middle of the season. Further, I felt introducing some green could balance out the color scheme. Eyelashes were then added, and for the collars and whites of eyes, I used some white pencil rather than leave it blank to enhance the whiteness further. After just some minor tweaking like adding more volume to the hair and incorporating more Tangerine to let the sky blend in more with the ground, I think I was done!
It was wonderful going back to sketching with colored pencils. For added variety in my work and to break away from the routine occasionally, I often like to take a break from painting and just scribble away with pencils. Discovering some unfinished work was also a pleasant surprise as it gave me an opportunity to continue practicing and complete it even a year later. Of course, I’ll definitely be coming back to colored pencil sketching and continue enjoying my huge set of pencils while being tucked away at home as the colder season approaches. And I certainly love drawing about us and will continue doing so!