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My review of Holbein Coloured Pencils is finally here!

This blog is sponsored by Amazon. All opinions stated in this blog are my own.

 

 


It’s the review quite a few of you have been waiting for! For this review I take an in-depth look at Holbein Coloured Pencils.

 

Are you drooling over these pencils as much as I am? You can find them for sale at the following links:

USA: https://amzn.to/2Nbfnag

UK: https://amzn.to/2MpfABC

The tutorial of “The Cliff Sentry” is also up on my Youtube channel. I use exclusively Holbein Coloured Pencils for this drawing- so if you want a better idea of how these pencils perform then it’s definitely worth checking out!

That’s about it for now – I have some VERY exciting news on the way, but for now I’ll leave you here! Until next time!

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Acrylic painting tutorial and horse eye ACEO in coloured pencil

"Gentle Eyes" - original 2.5 x 3.5 inch miniature ACEO/ATC drawing in coloured pencil, on Strathmore Bristol Vellum. I used a mixture of Touch-up Texture and Titanium White powder for the highlights. Own ref photo used. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. SOLD.

It’s been a busy time for me in the last few months but I am still somehow finding time here or there for art. A lot of things have happened since my last blog post and I have lots to update you guys on!

My tutorial for my Kudu painting in acrylics is now available to watch, check it out below. Don’t forget the longer version is available over on Patreon and goes really in-depth on all the techniques I’m using.

 

A few weeks ago I also made a tiny little drawing of a horse in coloured pencil, and tried a few new techniques out for it!

"Gentle Eyes" - original 2.5 x 3.5 inch miniature ACEO/ATC drawing in coloured pencil, on Strathmore Bristol Vellum. I used a mixture of Touch-up Texture and Titanium White powder for the highlights. Own ref photo used. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.
“Gentle Eyes” – original 2.5 x 3.5 inch miniature ACEO/ATC drawing in coloured pencil, on Strathmore Bristol Vellum. I used a mixture of Touch-up Texture and Titanium White powder for the highlights. Own ref photo used. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.

Combining Touch-up Texture and Titanium White powder, then glazing over the top with coloured pencils allowed me to get lots of depth in this tiny drawing! This method is pretty risky because the touch-up texture does flake off a little when drawing over it (mainly because of the paper I’m using) but I love the effect I can create with it!

 

Check out the extended and fully voiced tutorial, available right now, over on Patreon! You can also download the photo to try this miniature drawing out for yourself if you’re a patreon supporter.

I’ll be making a short version of the tutorial for my YouTube viewers soon so stay tuned!

While we’re on the topic of Patreon, don’t forget to pick up this month’s reference photos while they’re still there! These reference photos are all taken by me for use in your artwork with no copyright worries. Even if you’re not a Patreon, I upload one entirely FREE reference photo a month up there that everyone can download, so don’t forget to come back each month for your free reference photo!

Perhaps the most exciting recent update (well, for me, anyway!) is that I’ve been upgrading my recording setup for videos!

My previous microphone setup involved a cardboard box lined with audio foam and a tiny little condenser mic precariously balanced inside. It took up all of my desk space, was very DIY and wasn’t ideal at all! Plus the background hum from my computer’s fans in the was getting on my nerves… and yours! I’ve been long overdue an upgrade after having the same setup for two and a half years…. and that’s where you came in!

I want to say a huge thank you to all of you who’ve supported me since setting up my Patreon account! You’ve made these new upgrades to my recording setup possible and they’re going to lead to much better quality videos from now on.

My new microphone is much better at eliminating background noise so hopefully the audio quality of my videos going forward is going to be much higher quality! Unlike my previous mic (the Samson Go Mic) I’m also able to mount this one on a proper stand clamped to the side of my desk, meaning it isn’t taking up any desk space at all!

I also bought a little clip-on light bulb holder and daylight bulb to add to my lighting setup. I already have a desk lamp with a daylight bulb in it, but I’m hoping the additional bulb on the opposite side of my table will help improve the visual quality of my art timelapse recordings. It will eliminate any shadows under my hands that were making it hard to see what I was doing and give me more consistent lighting.

Whether or not you’re a Patron, I just want to say a huge thank you for your support on this journey of art. Art tutorials are something that I’ve really wanted to do, and I can’t believe how quickly my youtube channel has grown since I started up! I hope to keep continuously improving myself and the quality of my content!

I’m going to leave this here for now as this post is already long enough. Until next time!

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Greater Kudu Portrait in acrylics

"Greater Kudu Portrait" - 10 x 8 inches, Winsor and Newton acrylics on Ampersand Gessobord. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.
"Greater Kudu Portrait" - 10 x 8 inches, Winsor and Newton acrylics on Ampersand Gessobord.
“Greater Kudu Portrait” – 10 x 8 inches, Winsor and Newton acrylics on Ampersand Gessobord. Reference Photo by Edwin Butter from Wildlife Reference Photos.
Finally found a spare moment when it wasn’t raining to get a good photo of the finished painting!
 
I’m hooked on acrylic painting now. Working on this piece was very relaxing and at some points while painting it I was so in “the zone” that I kept forgetting to hit record on my camera for the YouTube tutorial I’ll be making… oops!
 
After my bluetit test painting in acrylics back in February I really wanted to try out painting a more detailed piece in the medium. It was a big learning experience for me. The background wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked and I managed to leave some brush strokes behind, but now at least I know to get my background in entirely before adding my rough sketch of the subject in instead of trying to paint around it! 😛
 
It took me a little over 9 hours to complete. Something about the lighting in the reference photo made me really want to paint it. I really loved the cool purplish and bluish shadows, contrasted by the rich, warm highlights created by the backlighting from the sun.
 

And now a little bit about the subject of this painting, if you’re interested! Greater Kudu are a species of woodland antelope native to eastern and southern africa. They are one of the largest species of antelope. This painting is of a juvenile male, whose horns are not yet full length. The adult male’s horns are much longer and curvier.

Anyway, I hope you like the finished painting! I can’t wait to get started on the next one, though my next artwork is in coloured pencils:

water lily, coloured pencils on pastelmat work in progress

This time around I’m trying coloured pencils out on pastelmat for the first time. I’m blending with paint thinner for this one. Can you guess what it is yet? 😉

 

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“Mythical Beast” finished coloured pencil drawing

"Mythical Beast" - Coloured pencil on Fisher 400 sanded paper. Own reference photo used. It's 32 x 40cm (A3). Art by Wild Portrait Artist.
"Mythical Beast" - Coloured pencil on Fisher 400 sanded paper. Own reference photo. It's 32 x 40cm (A3).
“Mythical Beast” – Coloured pencil on Fisher 400 sanded paper. Own reference photo. It’s 32 x 40cm (A3).

Wow, it feels SO good to finally have this drawing down on paper rather than swirling around in my head for months on end (since October)!

The drawing only took around 9 hours to complete! I used powder blender to blend. I was planning on using paint thinner for the okapi initially, but honestly I was having so much fun using the powder blender that I completely forgot all about it!

It was also my first time trying out Fisher 400 sanded paper and it is leagues above UArt paper in terms of quality in my opinion. An extremely pleasant, consistent paper to work on and it can take a lot of layers! I was a little apprehensive about how the background was going to turn out at first, but the powder blender made it so easy that I breezed through the background in just two hours.

The subject for this drawing is my absolute favourite animal – the okapi. They are an endangered species native to the Congo and their closest relative is the giraffe. When they were first discovered by european explorers, they were so strange-looking that they were thought to be mythical creatures – hence the title of this piece – “Mythical Beast.”

My goal in this portrait was to portray a sense of ethereal surrealism, so I chose to have the okapi looking up at the aurora borealis – something you would never normally see in the tropical forests of the Congo! It also gives me the excuse to use lots of pretty blues and greens! I had so much fun from start to finish with this piece.

I’m currently working on the commentary for the extended Patreon tutorial of this piece. It should be available soon! Speaking of which, the extended tutorial of a boxer dog in coloured pencils is now available over on Patreon at the $4 tier, so be sure to check it out if you’re interested! The artist reference photos at the $10 tier are also changing to new ones starting tomorrow (1st April) so be sure to grab March’s references before they disappear!

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That’s about all from me for now. I have a lot of other projects in the works including the kudu in acrylic you saw last time and a new pastel pencil drawing, so keep your eyes peeled!

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Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils review and playing with Acrylic Paint

It’s that time of year again where all sorts of colds and bugs are going round, and unfortunately I finally succumbed to it this week! Being ill sucks but I was still determined to get some art done in between my sneezing and coughing!

My review of Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils is now available for you to watch on my Youtube channel, and I also show you how I drew my leopard portrait in pastels in this video too!


I’ve also been playing with my Rembrandt soft pastels for my upcoming review of them on YouTube! This landscape was a quick A4 study and took me around 50 minutes. Hopefully I should have a video about them up as soon as my voice recovers!

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Recently, on a whim, I bought some Winsor and Newton Galeria acrylic paints to try out. I’ve not painted with acrylics since my art GCSE. It’s amazing how much you remember about a medium even after a decade! This is a little 2-hour test painting  on a cheap canvas board that I did with them using my own reference photo. Not the most exciting of paintings and the canvas texture was a little too rough to get detail in easily, but I just wanted to see what I was capable of!

This little guy is a blue tit on 18 x 12.5cm canvas board. Own reference photo used. It only took around two hours to complete!
This little guy is a blue tit on 18 x 12.5cm canvas board. Own reference photo used. It only took around two hours to complete!

I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed painting with them so I decided to start on a more serious project.

Yesterday I started a painting of a male greater kudu in acrylic. I’m doing this on an ampersand smooth board which was left over from a failed coloured pencil attempt (yay for recycling!) This is a very different way of working to what I’m used to in coloured pencils, so I’m finding it a little tricky! It’s so much fun though!

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I need to stop working on so many pieces at once! Last but not least, I’m still working on my okapi drawing in coloured pencil. The okapi’s face is starting to come together now that most of the underpainting in that area is done! Started off with just blues and greens and black, but I added some reddish browns and bright purples into the shadows of the fur afterwards as an experiment, and WOW did it bring the animal to life!

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There’s still a lot of work left to go on this guy but I’m having so much fun with those green and blue pencils that the time is flying by. It’s kind of hard to even tell what you’re looking at at this stage as none of the fur or fine details have been blocked in yet (!) but hopefully it’s going to start taking shape and start looking a lot more tangible soon.

Until next time!

 

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“Troy” pet portrait, and amur leopard in soft pastels!

"Troy" - 11 x 14inch commission in coloured pencil. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. SOLD.

 

troy finished low res watermarked for fb and insta
“Troy” – 11 x 14inch commission in coloured pencil.

This beautiful boy was one of my Christmas commissions. His endearing puppy-dog-eyes and sweet expression were so much fun to render  It was so refreshing to work with paint thinner again for my coloured pencil art too. I didn’t realise how much I missed it!

This piece was drawn using Caran d’Ache Luminance, Caran d’Ache Pablo, Faber Castell Polychromos and Derwent Drawing coloured pencils. The paper I used was Fabriano Artistico 140lb Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper. I used Daler Rowney odourless paint thinner to blend. Touch-Up Texture and Titanium White powder were used on the chest to pull out the white hairs and highlights on his collar.

My sped-up tutorial is available to watch on YouTube now. The 2 hour version of tutorial will also be available for my Patreon supporters at the $4 tier very soon!

 

I also completed my drawing of an amur leopard in soft pastels last week.

"Determination" - 30 x 40cm portrait of an amur leopard in pastels.
“Determination” – 30 x 40cm portrait of an amur leopard in pastels.

 This piece is now available for sale on my Etsy, so check it out if you’re interested! 

This was such a fun experiment. I may have started off a little wonky on the chin and mouth area, but once I got the hang of the medium it was as natural as riding a bike.

The tools I used to create this piece are Rembrandt soft pastels and Stabilo Carbothello pastel pencils on Clairefontaine pastelmat. Reference photo by Katerina Mirus from Wildlife Reference Photos, used with permission.

Soft pastel is a really enjoyable medium to work in. Expect to see more in this medium from me in the future! I can definitely see myself doing lots of little landscape studies in this medium.

The fully commentated tutorial video for this piece will be available this weekend! I’ll also be reviewing and discussing my thoughts on the brands I used to make this piece too. I might end up splitting it into two videos depending on how long it is. Stay tuned!

 

Last but not least I also started on a new coloured pencil drawing this week.

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“Mythical Beast” – work in progress. Coloured pencils on Fisher 400 sanded paper. I’m about an hour into this drawing so far.

I’m so excited to share this one with you. The concept to this drawing has been swirling around in my head for months now and I finally have a spare moment to start putting it onto paper! 😀 The subject for this drawing is my absolute favourite animal – the okapi. They are an endangered species native to the Congo and their closest relative is the giraffe. When they were first discovered they were so strange-looking that they were thought to be mythical creatures – hence the title of this piece – “Mythical Beast.”

I’m trying to get a sense of mystic surrealism in this portrait so I chose to have the okapi looking up at the aurora borealis – something you would never normally see in the tropical forests! It also gives me the excuse to use lots of pretty blues and greens, muahaha!

I’m using Caran d’Ache Pablos, Caran d’Ache Luminance, Faber Castell Polychromos and Derwent Drawing pencils for this drawing. I’m using powder blender to blend the background, but I’ll also be trying out paint thinner when I get to the okapi itself as I’ve never tried using paint thinner on sanded paper before! I still marvel at how quickly I can get things done with the powder blender. I’m only an hour and ten minutes into the drawing so far, and my background is already almost finished!

I’m also trying out Fisher 400 paper for the first time for this drawing. The tooth of the paper is wonderfully consistent, and in my opinion is superior to UArt paper.

 

This is turning into a long blog post so I’m going to leave it here for now! I’ve got lots more in store for you guys so keep your eyes peeled 🙂

 

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Christmas Update

"First Snow" Watercolour sketch

This is just a quick update to wish you all a happy holiday season regardless of what you celebrate, and to let you know what I have in store for you guys in the new year. Now that the busiest season of the year is over, I can relax and put my feet up! ;D

 

Last month I uploaded the commentated timelapse tutorial for my hyacinth macaw drawing on youtube – check it out if you haven’t already! Just one thing I would like to mention in addition to what I have said about UArt 800 paper in this video – it turns out that the weird rippling effect I couldn’t get rid of was due to a manufacturing fault from a faulty batch that went out in 2015. I have since got in touch with UArt and they have very kindly offered to send me a replacement. If you have been experiencing similar issues with this particular brand of sanded paper then it is most likely due to that.

Now that my top-secret Christmas commissions are complete I have time again to work on other things. I’ve sketched out a fox from a gorgeous reference photo from wildlifereferencephotos.com. I’ll be trying out the Derwent Inktense sticks and pencils on this piece for a review on my YouTube channel. I love the reference photo I’m using, the fox has such a cheeky sly grin, I just hope I can portray it successfully in my rendition of it. Can’t wait to get painting!

cheeky fox sketch

 

Another project I’ve just started on is an amur leopard in pastels! For this piece I am using Rembrandt soft pastels and Carbothello pastel pencils on Clairefontaine Pastelmat. I’ve never properly used pastels before (the last time I used them was the doodle of a red cardinal I did two years ago). It’s an interesting experience. I have no idea what I’m doing but it’s fun! Right now I’m laying down dark colours to act as the underpainting, and then I’ll draw in the fur in lighter colours on top. This could go terribly wrong but it’s all a learning experience! 😉 I’ve always wanted to work in pastel but have never taken the plunge properly before now. We all have to start somewhere!

amur leopard work in progress in soft pastels

That’s about it for now. I’ll have tutorials/product reviews for both of the above coming in January/February, as well as a fully voiced tutorial for one of my christmas commissions in coloured pencil, so stay tuned! See you all in the New Year!

 

 

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Hyacinth Macaw in Coloured Pencil

"Hyacinth Macaw" - A4 drawing in coloured pencils with powder blender on UArt 800 sanded paper. Reference photo by Jan Willemsen from wildlifereferencephotos.com Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.

Last weekend I finished my hyacinth macaw drawing in coloured pencil!

"Hyacinth Macaw" - A4 drawing in coloured pencils with powder blender on UArt 800 sanded paper. Reference photo by Jan Willemsen from wildlifereferencephotos.com
“Hyacinth Macaw” – A4 drawing in coloured pencils with powder blender on UArt 800 sanded paper. Reference photo by Jan Willemsen from wildlifereferencephotos.com

 

I’m relieved this one is over! I had a bit of a battle with the paper all the way through this one. I used Uart 800 grade paper. Even with textured fixative and very light layers with the powder blender, it just won’t take any more layers of pencil. Not ideal! I hadn’t really experienced these issues in my previous drawings with the same paper (jumping spider and praying mantis). In this piece I kept getting ugly vertical ridges showing through that just wouldn’t blend out and the pencils just weren’t sticking to the paper no matter how many sprays of textured fixative I gave it. The paper is so fine and delicate that it just couldn’t stand up to the abuse I was putting it through!

It’s a little frustrating that I couldn’t make it as detailed as I wanted to, but I’m glad I finished it nonetheless! I got to play with my blue coloured pencils, something I don’t get to do often 🙂

I don’t think I will be using Uart 800 for coloured pencil again after this experience. The 600 grade paper definitely seemed to fare better in my cheetah drawing. I have also purchased some Fisher 400 sanded paper, which I hope to be trying out in the near future.

As with most of my pieces nowadays I have recorded my full process for this artwork and I’m currently in the process of editing. Expect the tutorial to go up on my YouTube channel this weekend!

I am also so thrilled to announce that my coloured pencil piece “Companionship” received an Honourable Mention in this year’s Colored Pencil Magazine competition! The other winning entries are absolutely phenomenal. Definitely check them out in this month’s Colored Pencil Magazine if you get the chance!

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Christmas is a very busy time of year for me and I have several top-secret projects in the works. Updates will probably be a little slow during this period but please bear with me! I have a couple of treats for you lined up, including product reviews of Derwent Inktense pencils and blocks, and Rembrandt soft pastels, which I am really looking forward to testing out!

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Yum yum! My preciouses *strokes box*

There’s nothing quite as addictive as new art supplies!
Until next time!

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Finished cheetah drawing and tutorial

"Relaxed Afternoon" 42 x 29.7cm coloured pencil drawing on UArt 600 Sanded paper using powder blender. Own ref photo used. Art by Wild Portrait Artist. Available for sale.

Whew! It’s finished! Up till now the only things I had drawn using the powder blender were invertebrates, which are generally very shiny and easy to shade. I wanted to see how easy or difficult it would be to draw fur using the colored pencil painting kit, so I decided to draw this!

I discovered that it was so easy to draw in light hairs over a darker base colour, which made drawing fur miles easier! I used Uart 600 paper for this piece, instead of the Uart 800 paper I used in previous pieces, so it had a little more tooth. I found I could layer a lot more before running out of tooth, however the tradeoff for this was that I had difficulty in getting fine details and thin pencil lines. It was a fun drawing! It took me around 20 hours in total.

"Relaxed Afternoon" 42 x 29.7cm coloured pencil drawing on UArt 600 Sanded paper using powder blender. Own ref photo used.
“Relaxed Afternoon” 42 x 29.7cm coloured pencil drawing on UArt 600 Sanded paper using powder blender. Own ref photo used.

 

You can watch my commentated tutorial on how I created this drawing here:


Last but not least I just started working on my next graphite drawing! This time I’ll be drawing my grumpy old ragdoll, Suki this is the second in a pair of portraits, matching the one I did last year of Toto. I’ll be using Mars Lumograph pencils for this portrait for a product review video, and will let you know what I think of them next week! 🙂

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Meerkats in spaaaaace! (speed drawing, art tips video, and update on my Cheetah drawing)

Work in progress, coloured pencil and powder blender on sanded Uart 600 paper.
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“Asteroid Runner” – 9 x 12 pen and ink sketchbook doodle

 

I’m still working on my cheetah drawing in coloured pencil so this week’s update is about a sketchbook doodle I did recently! What made me put a meerkat in space? I have no idea. Kind of works though! Reference used was my own from one of my trips to Chester Zoo 😉  I used Rotring fine liners, waterproof calligraphy ink and a sword liner brush for this drawing. My sketchbook is a Strathmore Bristol Smooth 9×12 inch Visual Journal.

You can see the sped up video of me drawing this here:

 

In this week’s Art Tips video I show you some very easy and quick drawing exercises that will help you to become more confident and accurate with your drawing skills!

Last but not least I’ve progressed a little further with my cheetah drawing. I’m using powder blender and drawing on UART 600 sanded paper for this piece. I’m really enjoying how easy it is to draw fur with the colored pencil painting kit! You can go light to dark or dark to light, it doesn’t matter! So fun 😀

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Work in progress, coloured pencil and powder blender on sanded Uart 600 paper.

 

Busy bee! Hoping to have the cheetah finished by next thursday so that I can get the video tutorial for this drawing out on time. See you next time!