Learning to draw and paint

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This week I’m looking at essential drawing supplies

Black Cat in Coloured Pencil

Black Cat in Coloured Pencil

George the Cat in Coloured Pencil

By Ellie Burdett

Well here we go – happy birthday Ellie – with a massive smile on my face because my wonderful husband has brought me a full set – yes full set of Caran Dache Luminance Colour Pencils for my birthday.

As yet Im still at the can’t stop looking at them stage and have them in prize position in the art studio.  I can’t believe that I have the god of all coloured pencils (In my opinion of course!).

In the absence of a pet commission at the moment – the only option was to use George the Cat as the model for my first full piece with these pencils. For those of you who don’t know me – George the cat lives with me and was rescued by my daughters who found him deserted on the street outside our house as a kitten.  After much pleading by the girls and hubby with begs of “Oh please we must have the poor homeless kitten before he gets eaten by a fox” I finally gave up and said for goodness sakes go and bring him in!

George has grown into quite a character and I must say a fine addition to our ever growing family of rescued pets – not one day of regrets taking him on, even though he is quite a clumsy moggy and has ruined the hall carpet with his scratching!

So what are Caran Dache Luminance Pencils like working with?

I have to say, I have tried most coloured pencils and these are my personal favourite – I was not disappointed with the results I got.  The depth of colour is second to none, not to mention their fantastic lightfast qualities, they didn’t suffer from wax bloom before I got all the layers and colours that I wanted before I finished.  Some Pencils were softer than others and some harder – this wasn’t an issue as some layers I was able to lay down quickly with the softer pencils.

So long as I did not press hard – they also maintained their points well on the paper I was working on.

So to the paper – having had a brand new hobby craft store open just down the road from where I live – obviously I was unable to resist the temptation to go in on a hunt for paper.  I have had some difficulty getting my favourite paper which is hot press smooth paper (or grain satine as it is commonly known) – the other matter is one of price ouch for that paper.  So with all that in mind and with the swaying factor that there was some Faber Castell multi media paper on sale in hobby craft – naturally I thought thats my pad! (note; I was very impressed with this paper it held up very well)

“Tip:  When working with coloured pencils its important to remember to keep a light touch – this ensures you don’t loose the tooth of the paper and lets you get more layers on before you develop any bloom from the pencils – once either of these two occur – you just cannot get on anymore colour”

Black Cat in Coloured Pencils

So off to work with George the Cat using Caran Darche Luminance Pencils on Faber Castell Multi-media Paper

Method:

So the first job was to use some low tack artist tape to secure the sheet of paper to the drawing board (another  hobby craft half price find)

I was really concerned to ensure my original drawing was very accurate as when using colour pencils any errors I have found are massively accentuated eek.

With this in mind I decided to draught out my drawing onto draughting film and then once happy with it I used graphite transfer paper to get the drawing onto the Faber Castell Paper.

Adding Colour with Caran Dache:

So to get a black cat……hmmmmmm

After a great deal of research on the best method to get black in coloured pencil off I went and got out the blue and purple pencils!

I did have my sister in law visit and say: thats really nice – but why is it purple and blue?

After a nervous laugh I explained that ultimately George the Cat would end up black (I hoped lol)

Starting with the Phalo Blue Pencil I layed down a light layer of colour working in the direction of the fur, following this a layer of purple.  Lastly I layered down black with particular focus on the direction and shape of the fur. A second layer of black was layed down to enhance to look of the fur and add additional contract to the look of the drawing.

On lighter areas of fur I used lighter shades of blue and purple with grey over the top.  With this contrast in the fur I was able to get a more realistic look to the drawing.

I then used the Caran Dache colour blending stick to that had been sharpened to a point to blend the colours again in the direction of the fur.  I did like this look, however felt the colour was still a little lacking.  With a big breath of dutch courage, I pulled out the little bottle of zest it colour pencil blender and a detail paint brush and brushed away.  Thank god for the dutch courage as this was a great move – the zest it blender really deepened the colour of the black but also let the purple and blue creep through giving the fur real depth.

Finally, I did a little more with the light blue pencil to add highlights and followed up this with the trusty brush and pencil touch up texture with titanium white to  enhance the highlights in the eyes.

All in all, I massively enjoyed this project and look forward to my next coloured pencil venture.

Supplies List:
  • Caron D’ache Luminance Coloured Pencils
  • Faber Castell Multi Media Paper from a Pad
  • Hobby Craft low tack artists tape
  • Hobby Craft Drawing Board
  • Brush & Pencil touch up texture and titanium white
  • Zest it coloured pencil blender
  • George the Cat!
  •  Photo reference from Maddie my daughter (a great photo by the way – so clear an artists dream)
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Black Cat in Coloured Pencil

A big thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you enjoyed it

Ellie Burdett

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Bespoke Abstract Art

Wall Art

ellieartwork is now providing bespoke artwork to match your decor. Check out my website and Etsy shop.

Dr Who Tardis Picture

Timeless Dr Who Artwork

I have thoroughly enjoyed this artwork from start to finish and it is one of my favourite pieces – mind you I say that about all my artwork!

Dr Who Tardis Picture
Timeless

Well finally I actually managed to complete an entire artwork in coloured pencil feeling totally confident on the journey. I can’t tell you how much practice this has taken and time of course.

There was actually a point when I thought I was going to throw in the towel and not make it as a coloured pencil artist. That said when I was at the lowest point thinking – I really can’t master this technique – I decided to take a break and following this I practiced some more, and some more, and some more.

Well finally, its true, after much patience and practice and dedication, I really learnt the value of persistence as I’m now at a level where yes I can do this. I cant say that I’m where I want to be right now, however I have seen the light at the end of tunnel.

I wonder what it is that makes artists so self critical?

The answer is a positive one – being self critical actually leads you to the road of improvement! I do have to chastise myself sometimes for being overly critical of myself and actually give myself a bit of a pat on the back! Mind you self praise has never been one of my strengths.

And for those of you who want the technical details, well here we go;

Process & Materials Used:

Arches hot press water colour paper

Creatix Acrylic Airbrush Paint with Sparmax Airbrush

Caran D’ache Luminance & Faber Castell coloured pencils with final highlights in Derwent Chinese White

Brush & Pencil touch up texture (this stuff is seriously amazing for adding bold white highlights – if you haven’t tried it – it is well worth it)

Windsor & Newton masking fluid

Pan Pastels (these also albeit very expensive are worth the investment as in my opinion it enables you to lay in the background so much quicker – which if you have ever used coloured pencils – you will totally appreciate how long this process normally takes).

Well just below I have added one of my acrylic painting in the same series just to show how coloured pencils can be just as lovely as an acrylic painting. Well thank you for taking the time to read this and see you on the next blog 🙂

Dr Who Exploding Tardis

Method:

I was actually brave enough to draw out the subject (Tardis) then cover with masking fluid then spray the whole of the paper with creatix airbrushed layer. This formed the basis of the background for the coloured pencils and pan pastel to sit on layer by layer.

I wasn’t sure if the masking fluid was going to work but hey presto – woo hoo yes it did. I did ensure all of the products I used were acid free and lightfast.

Art Studio

Art Studio Quick Tour

Setting up a space for your art is really important. It can be as big or small as your space allows but most importantly, it must be an area that you enjoy being in and has that creative and relaxed vibe.

Over time you can start small and grow your art collection. I found a lot of my supplies on eBay where you can grab loads of art bargains. Most of my art collection has been through thrifty bidding and bargains. Ebay allowed me to get some really reasonable priced art supplies. I was then able to try so many different mediums and experiment more. Art supplies can be pricy and this is a great way to expand your art arsenal for less.

I always hang my artwork on my walls in my little studio and it’s good to look back and review them. You start to notice a progression in your art. It’ll also give you more confidence when like me people come in and compliment your artwork.

Having the courage to share your art and get peoples opinions can be really scary at first, however if you have a little courage to share your art, it really gives you a confidence boast when you get a compliment. This in turn inspires you to continue on your artistic journey. take a look at the two artworks below – the swan was completed last year and the little bird was one of my first drawing around three years ago.

The difference time and practice can make
Enjoy making a space for your art in your life

Don’t stop at painting pictures if you really can’t think what to paint get upcyling – this little gem was off to the tip until I rescued him and upcycled it. It really was a great art project that cost me next to nothing. I turned this dull tired grey unit into a beautiful piece of furniture to compliment my art studio- I got a bit of a buzz as well from saving something else ending up in the landfill.

Well that’s all for this blog – thank you for reading and happy “arting” and most of all enjoy your artistic journey. I would love to hear from all of you with your artistic journeys and latest projects.

Ellie Burdett

Learn to Draw

Your first drawing

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Here is the next video on you tube “your first drawings” it’s a little out of focus camera user issue – I’ll get that sorted for the next video.

Art Tip when Varnishing

A little bit of a tip here I have just created…

When vanishing a wrapped canvas, put blue tack on the bases of three or four shot glasses attach the canvas and hey presto…you can gloss the top and sides at the same time….