Teddy Bears on a Stroll

Today, two teddy buddies, Brownie and Charcoal, are taking a stroll along the nearby field. Autumn has come, and the teddies wanted to enjoy before all the leaves are gone and the green disappeared. It’s been a while since I last created a piece featuring just teddy bears, and I was in the mood for it. In addition, a change would do me good: From my colorful “chaotic” work, a simple earth-toned painting about this is what I had in mind.

Trying a New Medium

And what a perfect opportunity this was because a few weeks ago, I bought some new art supplies and wanted to put them to the test. Enter a tin of XL Graphite by Derwent! As illustrated below, they are a set of six chunky graphite sticks that come in rather limited shades of Very Soft Black, Soft Black, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Dark Prussian and Olive Green. I had to watch a few YouTube videos to figure out how best to use them. Apparently, they can be used straight as a sketching medium as if they were chalk or can be painted with by diluting with water as they are also water soluble. One would say they are a jumbo version of Derwent’s Inktense sticks. Let’s put them to the test!

Sketching Away

On a page from my Strathmore’s Visual Journal for Watercolor, I began roughly sketching my piece. I used the edges of the sticks as well as placing them on flat on their sides to slide them along. Major challenge of course was that I am limited to six colours which are really not the sort I use. No yellows, no reds, no pinks. Not even white! How will I manage? Well given that this drawing is about landscape and nature with brown and black teddy bears, the earthy tone was perfect for this purpose. I’m liking it so far!

Let’s Start Painting!

I decided to use water for the background only. For the sky, I used a medium flat brush and made circular motions flat side down. The grass was painted using wavy undulating strokes with a round brush. I left the teddies as dry sketches and merely piled more color before dotting in the eyes. Once the background was dry, the plants were doodled in. I have to say I did get accustomed to this limited palette of colors and quite like how it all turned out. For now, I decided to keep it simple and hence here it is!

Despite being limited to six earthy tones, I was amazed what can be created. The intention here was also to experiment with XL Graphite and to discover how versatile the sticks were. As we found out, they can be used dry or wet to produce different effects. I would definitely recommend these for nature sketches and landscape painting. As a side note, I even managed to make my painting kawaii with the teddy’s as subjects. I will definitely be using them again, and definitely be incorporating them in mixed media work!

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