Back again and in the middle of my work week. I am working a roster that packs all of my hours into one week, which is exhausting as I work night shifts, but it does mean I have a week off to catch up on things, once I’m over being sleep deprived. So no new videos for this week but I have a few video reviews for next week: namely Stephanie Holm’s ‘Wildscapes’ and the new Johanna Basford book ‘Lost Ocean’ so keep an eye out for those on my Youtube channel.
For today I have two more completed pictures from ‘Enchanted Forest’ to show you. The first was a bit of a struggle for me. When I start a picture I usually have at least some idea of where I want to go with it in terms of colour etc. But this picture just didn’t speak to me at all and forced me to wing it. It’s a lovely picture and a fun one to colour but, without a plan to go on, I threw colour anywhere and used it to experiment with new ways to colour leaves. Some of the things I learnt here I will apply to other pictures in this book. For instance: the ivy coloured leaves using cool muted greens and ivory which I first worked in the ‘Squirrel’ picture. Also I deviated away from ‘realistic’ leaves into fanciful use of colours to brighten the piece. The bird colours I googled using the search term ‘colourful birds’. I found a picture of a three-toed forest kingfisher and based the colour scheme of the birds on it. This is a great way to plan a colour scheme for an item in a picture: you’ll find a brilliant combination that you would never have thought of and your work will be all the more spectacular for it. The picture is not quite true to the colours in reality. In the book this picture has a slighly warmer, yellowish tone that my camera killed. The golden-oranges are much brighter as well. I tried to make them more true to life with a photo manipulation program but without much success. This is nicer in real life. This picture was coloured with a combination of Faber Castell Polychromos pencils and Derwent Artist pencils.
Now for the mini tutorial and it’s about the picture at the top of this post.
This picture is one that had me worried. I could not see how I could enjoy colouring all that back ground by pencil, as much as I love pencils, but the picture seemed to demand that the bright colours be the back ground colours. Then I discovered some Youtube videos showing how to use pastels to colour in large areas quickly and smoothly and I knew I had to try this.
I am lucky enough to have an OLD set of Windsor & Newtown pastels amongst my 30 year old collection of art supplies so I didn’t have to run out and buy any. These are artist quality ones but many of the Youtube videos I watched used budget brand pastels so I assume they can work just as well. NOTE: These are pastels NOT oil pastels. They are two different things. Check that you have normal pastels for this technique. Also I used a craft knife and two gel pens, gold and a Uniball Signo white. Not pictured are the small, round make up removal pads I used to smudge the pastels and a spray can of workable fixative to seal the pastels.
Please NOTE: I strongly advise you to practice this technique on some scrap paper first before you invest your attempt in one of your good books.
First of all I chose my colours. In this case I used the cream, the yellow, the gold, the red and the mauve pastels. Using the craft knife a scrapped the pastels over the paper where I wanted them to go creating a ring of pastel ‘dust’. I did one colour and using a makeup remover pad I first dabbed at the dust and then, with small circular motions, rubbed the colour dust into the paper until I had distributed it where I wanted it to go. (Makeup pads can be bought at a chemist or anywhere that you purchase makeup. Alternatively you can use a cotton ball but I’ve found it a little more tricky to get a smooth, even layer with these.) I advise you start with a small amount of ‘dust’ and add to it if you want the colour more intense. It is easier to add more than take it away. Do one colour at a time making the consecutive rings bigger until you are just adding the mauve in at the corners. Use a clean side of the makeup pad for each colour to keep them separate and pure.
When you are satisfied with your pastel background, shake and gently bow off any unwanted pastel dust. Take a can of workable fixative (you can buy them from craft stores) and, in an open, airy place, lightly spray your work with sweeping sprays. You don’t want the paper wet so keep this light… two or three quick passes over each section is sufficient. This is an important step. Without it your pastels will smudge onto your hands and onto the facing page. If you don’t have fixative spray then cheap hairspray will do the job just as well.
Once the paper is dry you can start work with your gel pens filling in all the details. This page is perfect for this technique. Alternatively you can colour the design in black markers or any other colour that will give an opaque cover.
A word of warning: this design will eat an entire gel pen… which ever colour you chose, make sure you have a back up pen! I got to this point when my gold died. Fortunately I had another.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Play with the idea and try using this technique on other colouring pages. It’s easy and fun when you get the hang of it and gives you an interesting break from colouring with pencils and markers. I’d love to see your pictures when you have finished.