I had a problem.
A while ago I coloured a picture in Dagdrommar featuring the Sea Goddess. I went all out with experimentation and used watercolour paints. While I loved the results the techniques weren’t so kind to the pictures on the other side of those pages. While one of them featured a complex patterned image, that I felt confident would colour over and hide the little bleed throughs and page wrinkling, the other picture was that very bland empty outline of a beetle. (Note the one above that I have photographed as a before picture is from an uncoloured book and therefore doesn’t show the bleed throughs and wrinkling on my problem piece. Dagdrommar is such a lovely book that it bothered me to have this messed up page. I didn’t think my usual careful pencil blending style would cut it and I didn’t know what to do about it.
Then on impulse one morning I decided (crazily after a long night shift and before sleep) that I would just ‘do something’ and figure it out as I went along. A dangerous technique for me but I was sorta’ ‘drunk’ with tiredness and felt I couldn’t stuff it up any more than it already was. So I chose four pencil colours that I like and don’t often use but I thought would look nice together and started to scribble with them. I had no idea where this was heading, but it felt cathartic to place down random blobs of bright colour with a bit of minimal blending around the edges to hold it all together. It took an hour or so of random scribbling to finish the background and by then I was well past my bed time so I left the piece as is to contemplate my next step after a sleep.
I could have gone several ways here: my first impulse was to doodle patterns in the beetle to match the rest of the book. But then I decided to colour the whole figure black and doodle using a white gel pen just for something different. I began by colouring the beetle first with a black Faber Castel Classic pencil with a nice medium thickness layer, and then I went over the top with my black Faber Castell Pitt Pens. I left the picture for a good couple of hours to allow the ink to set completely… note it takes much longer for the pens to dry when they are laid over the top of pencil. After that I picked up my white Signo Uniball gel pen and set to work with the doodle.
The picture still felt incomplete. So once again, on impulse, I took my thin Faber Castell Pitt Pen and doodled a frame all around the outside.
Now I’m happy. My blah problem page has been restored. I rather like how it turned out and I may very well use this for the other outline pages in this book. If you would like to use this technique for your blah pages as well then feel welcome to do so. Pick four pencil colours that you love and work well together. I recommend that two of them are different shades of the same colour to give the picture better continuity. I also recommend the black Pitt Pen for the doodles as it gives a nice variety of line widths, dries well AND most importantly, you can use it over the oily pencils without clogging up the nib.
Let me know if you try out this technique. Now back to my regular colouring. 🙂