Glow in Grey

Although Halloween has been over for months, Little One is quite curious about colors that glow, including neons. Imagine what she’d be like donning on a hot pink wig and a pair of neon green contact lenses along with some fluorescent orange false eyelashes. And that groovy glow-in-the dark denim jumpsuit too! Seeing that the past few weeks have brought in days of constant cold rainy weather, she wonders if she would still pop out in such a dreary grey background. Well let’s bring it to a test by sketching it on paper then!

Toned Grey

Good job I had some grey paper handy. And waste not want not! A few months ago, I was testing out my new set of pastel-toned colored pencils by Holbein. First I tried some with Toned Tan Paper, then with the Toned Grey Paper both by Strathmore’s in sketchbook forms. Neither of them worked too well and I concluded these pencils looked best in black. Not wanting to waste that unfinished page, though, I came back to the tan paper a few weeks later to firstly recreate and sketch something with pastel sticks. That worked well. And now how about the grey? Well here is a perfect chance to try it and what perfect timing for Little One!


Seeing that the Holbein pastel-tone colored pencils didn’t work on their own, I thought I try combining with other colored pencils too. Neon colors were another I wanted to experiment with which gave me an opportunity to use them here. This set is by Koh i Noor which I got on eBay. Another was a set of Caran d’Ache’s Pablo colored pencils with the more “plain” shades. Finally, we have the mentioned Holbein pastel-toned pencils, only this time we use the mini version of the set for convenience.

The Sketch

And it worked really well! I covered the blue area of the face with some light yellow/orange, then went over the pink of the hair with some neon pink and red followed by some pastel pink. The eyes were firstly lined with green, then filled in with fluorescent green later mixed in with some mint green. I went for a light pastel blue for the denim jumpsuit, then outlined and shaded it with some fluorescent blue. The lashes were firstly drawn with some neon orange but as they didn’t stand out much, I traced over it with some tangerine orange. The grass was scribbled in with neon yellow and fluorescent green, and the sun was added with some pastel-toned yellow and neon orange. And of course white was used where needed. And here we are!

Wow, Little One indeed pops out quite wonderfully in the grey background doesn’t she? And as usual she looks so adorable! This exercise reveals that whilst pastel-toned pencils don’t come out well on their own on grey paper, introducing some neon colors and combining with “plain” colors works well. What I enjoy about my painting is experimenting and exploring various possibilities. Some may not work well whilst others have unexpectedly great results. And what is more enjoyable than experimenting when involving cute characters like Little One too?

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