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We’re already halfway through Inktober!

Inktober 2018 Day 12 - 'Whale'

Wow I can’t believe we’re already on day 17! This has been a really fun challenge so far and I’ve been really enjoying making drawings every day and sharing my experiences and thoughts with those of you over on Youtube. I’ve been experimenting with a variety of different styles and tools throughout the challenge. I’ve especially been playing around with Posca pens and have been loving the results they’re producing. Here are just a few of my favourites:

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If you want to see all of my drawings so far then be sure to check out my Youtube channel if you haven’t already! I’ve been uploading every day of the challenge. Throughout these videos I chat with you about techniques, finding your art style, experimentation and much more. You can watch all the days so far at the playlist below:

 

If you’ve not managed to participate in Inktober yet but still want to join in, don’t feel pressured into the thought that you have to “catch up” to everyone else – it doesn’t matter if you’ve missed days. The whole point is getting you drawing so don’t be afraid to just join in and have fun 🙂 And if you’ve made it this far with me, you’re doing a great job, keep it up because we’re over halfway now!

Once Inktober is over I will be doing a sketchbook tour of my Inktober journey as well as making select prints available of some of the artwork I’ve created throughout the month. I’ll keep you updated for when those are made available!

Hope to see you over on Youtube. Until next time!

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Preparing for Inktober 2018!

This week I made quite a daunting decision to participate in Inktober for the first time ever.

For those of you who don’t know, Inktober is an art challenge that happens during the month of October, where you have to do one drawing a day for the entire month. Given the name the main medium to use is of course ink in some shape or form, whether digital or traditional, but you can incorporate other mediums into the piece too.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since it first started back in my DeviantArt days a long, long time ago, but somehow I’ve just never had the time for it.

I’m going to be using a Stillman & Birn Beta Series 270gsm cold pressed watercolour sketchbook for the challenge. It’s my first time using this brand and I’m already really excited about it, good watercolour sketchbooks are hard to come by and the paper is so lovely and thick.  All the main materials I’m using this year are linked at the bottom of this post.

My goal for participating this year is not improving my drawing skills- I mean improving would be nice and all – but my personal goal this year is consistency. I’ve struggled for a long time now with drawing and posting YouTube videos on a regular and consistent basis. It’s partly to do with my health issues – I have chronic pain which can be very exhausting, and I work in a day job where I’m on my feet all day. Most of the days I’m not in work I spend recovering. But it’s also because I’m not a very organised person and I find it tricky to stick to deadlines.

I’ll be uploading on a daily basis to my YouTube channel for the whole month. I’m hoping that Inktober and its very tight schedule, plus the accountability of you guys watching, will get me in the habit of editing, doing voice-overs and uploading on a regular basis.  I’ve got a lot of goals for the channel going forward which I really want to stick to, so I’m hoping that Inktober will give me the motivation and routine that I need in order to do this. I want to teach myself self-discipline and prove to myself that it is possible to set aside time to draw and and work on content every day regardless of what I’m doing.

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This year, I plan on using the official 2018 prompts, but with a twist! All of the drawings that I’ll be doing from these prompts are going to be animal related somehow.  There are quite a few tricky prompts on this list which I’m a little bit nervous about but I am up for the challenge and super excited to see what I can come up with that somehow relates to some of these more difficult prompts.

The best part about Inktober is that we’re all in this together and the community and artwork shared during this time of the year is so awesome and motivating. So if you are joining me in participating in Inktober this year, good luck, and stay determined! I believe in us! Even if you’re not participating, I hope that this inspires you to pick up a pen and get sketching. I would love to see what you come up with for each day as well, so please do tag me in your inktober posts over on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too!

My Recommended Inktober Art Supplies (sponsored Amazon Links):

Pentel brush pen
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Size 2 squirrel brush
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Indian Ink
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Stillman & Birn Beta series 5.5 x 8.5 inch hardbound sketchbook
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Uni Posca Ultra Fine Paint Markers
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Uniball Pin Fine Liners
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That’s it from me for now, I hope to see you over on my Youtube channel for Day 1 of the Inktober challenge!

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Upcoming Exhibition!

Hi guys! Quick update this time around and it’s something I’m very excited about! I’ll be having my very first solo exhibition very soon! If you are local to East Cheshire, then please do come along to Tegg’s Nose Tea Rooms where I’ll be displaying my artwork and photography between the 21st April and 16th May. A lot of my newer pieces will be there, along with a couple of my photographs taken of wildlife from the surrounding local area 😀 Hope to see you there!

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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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4 More Tips for Beginner Coloured Pencil Artists!

The next installment of my new coloured pencil tips series is out! If you are hard of hearing or prefer to read I have also included the transcript for this video below. It’s something I’d like to do more often in my videos but it can be pretty time consuming. I’ll try to do it when and where I can. I hope you find these tips helpful!

4 More Beginner Tips for Coloured Pencil Artists

 

Hi everyone, Wild Portrait Artist here! A while ago I did a video on four beginner tips for coloured pencil artists. This time around I’ll be bringing you 4 more tips, but be sure to check out the previous video if you haven’t already. Let’s get started!

Tip #1: Start with an accurate rough sketch

 

Without an accurate sketch, no matter how skilled you are with coloured pencils, your end result is going to end up looking wonky.

If you’re drawing freehand, be sure to use helpful tools like proportional dividers or a grid to better judge distances between lines and areas of the subject being drawn.

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For even greater accuracy,  use methods such as tracing. This is especially important when doing pet portraits, where clients expect an accurate painting or drawing of their pet. This is also a massive time-saver and something that I use often. If I freehand my work it can take me up to 8 hours just to get my rough sketch down, depending on complexity. Tracing cuts a massive chunk of time out of this process and allows me to get straight into the nitty gritty.

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Whether you’re tracing or free-handing, do your rough sketch on a separate piece of paper first, then transfer it using graphite paper onto the surface you’re going to be working on. This keeps the surface you’re working on nice and clean, and free of graphite smears and eraser marks. You can also use this to keep checking your drawing against your original sketch to make sure no features have accidently shifted or gotten larger or smaller as you’re working on them And if you mess up, it’s far easier to start over because you still have your rough sketch to hand!

You can make your own graphite transfer paper at home using tracing paper and a 9B pencil. Simply cover the entire surface of the tracing paper with graphite, and then blend it smooth using a paper blending stump. Apply two to three more layers in the same way, and hey presto! Homemade graphite paper. It lasts a good while and you can reuse the same sheet over and over again. It just needs topping up with graphite again every once in a while.

 

Tip #2: Use reference photos

 

Reference photos are a great way to supplement your artwork, no matter whether you’re drawing illustration work, people or wildlife. As a wildlife artist, I often find myself drawing animals I can’t easily draw from life. I use reference photos to help me understand my subject better. They’re especially important in pet portraits where you need to be as accurate as possible. You can use them to get an idea of a pose or composition, or to help you get a better idea of how fur flows around a subject, for example.

Be careful when selecting reference photos to directly draw from, though! Don’t use photos without seeking permission from the original photographer first or you’ll end up breaking copyright law. There are many websites and groups out there that offer royalty-free photographs that you don’t have to ask permission for in order to use in your artwork. Here are just a few of those websites to get you started:

 

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Make sure when using reference photos that it’s a good quality photo. You don’t want to use a blurry or badly-lit photo to draw from, because it’s really hard to see details and ultimately it will result in an inaccurate artwork. However, if you’re a little more experienced, you can also incorporate other reference photos to help supplement a bad reference photo.

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This is a reference photo I took last year of a great crested grebe. It’s really blurry, but I really liked the pose and wanted to make something with it. I brought in other reference photos to help me better understand what the beak and the brown crest on its head look like from close up even though most of that detail was lost in my reference photo.

In a future Art Tips video I’ll give you a more in-depth discussion on how to use and “read” reference photos and incorporate them into your artwork. Keep your eyes peeled for that video by subscribing to my channel!

 

Intermission:

I’ve seen many people (most often not artists or artists lacking in experience) try to argue that tracing your reference photo, or even using a reference photo at all, is cheating, and that there’s no point in “copying” off a photo because the photo itself already exists. I disagree. Please don’t feel guilty using tracing or reference photos for your artwork. Nothing in art is “cheating” –  this is not a video game or a school exam! As artists, we use whatever tools we have available to us to create. Even the old masters used a projection technique called ‘camera obscura’ to allow them to trace images onto their canvas.

As artists it’s our job to take the reference we’re working from and make it look even better than the photos we work off. For the grebe drawing I just showed you, I took a blurry photo and improved it by making a highly detailed drawing from it. Many pet portrait artists, for example, do much the same very frequently – they take often poorly-taken photographs from their clients, and turn them into beautiful fine art portraits of the clients’ pets. At the end of the day, the client wants a beautiful, accurate portrait of their pet. They’re not going to care what techniques were used, as long as the end result is good!

While I’m on this mini-rant, don’t let anyone tell you that your style of art isn’t art. Just because someone doesn’t like a particular style of art or the methods used to get there, it doesn’t mean that they get to decide what is and what isn’t art. Create what you love to create, not what other people tell you to. Okay, so that was kind of off topic. On to the next tip!

Tip #3: Keep your pencils sharp and don’t use a blunt sharpener

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When using coloured pencils it’s especially important to keep the points of your pencils nice and sharp. By having a sharp pencil, it’s easier to get into all the nooks and crannies of the tooth of the paper and it prevents all the little gaps of the original colour of the paper from showing through. What this means is that you get much better coverage with your pencils, and consequently you won’t need to burnish out – allowing you to fit many more layers in before running out of the tooth of the paper.

While we’re on the topic of pencil sharpeners, let’s talk about breakages. This is more often than not down to the quality of the pencils that you’re using, but your sharpener may also be the partner in crime for breakages too. When a pencil sharpener blade goes dull it is much more likely to cause the core inside your pencils to snap because there is greater friction between the blade and the pencil as it turns in the barrel. You can tell when a pencil sharpener is blunt when the wood from the pencil sharpens off into small flakes rather than one long curl of wood. When it starts doing this, it’s time to bin that sharpener

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Now, I’m not going to get into the whole manual sharpener vs. electronic sharpener vs. hand-crank sharpener debate. You can waste a whole lot of money on an expensive sharpener that does exactly the same job as a cheap one. Personally, I prefer manual sharpeners, as long as the blade is of good quality and not dull. I use just a cheap, 2-hole sharpener called the KUM Magnesium for sharpening my pencils. This pencil sharpener costs me just £1 and lasts me a good few months. When the blade goes dull, I throw it away and buy a new one. With some brands of sharpener you can even just buy replacement blades instead of having to replace the entire thing, which works out even cheaper still.
When sharpening lots of coloured pencils, this can result in the blade getting clogged with coloured pencil binder. Keep your pencil sharpener in tip-top condition and make it last longer by sharpening it with a graphite pencil every so often. Graphite acts as a lubricant, making it easier for the pencils to swivel around in the hole more smoothly. Doing this keeps the blade sharper for longer, and your pencils sharp as well!

 

Tip #4: Values are more important than hues

 

Before I really get into the crux of this tip, I’ll just quickly go over the essentials of what values and hues are. This explanation is very brief and I strongly recommend looking at more in-depth tutorials relating to colour theory to get a better understanding of this topic if you don’t have one already.

 

Hue explains whether a colour is more red than yellow, or more blue than green, et cetera. What it doesn’t tell you is how close to black or how close to white a colour is – that is where value comes in.

hue diagram

The term “value” explains how light or how dark a colour is – in other words its closeness to black or white. A darker shade of a colour will be closer to black than it will be to white, and vice versa for a light colour.

value diagram

Getting the values in your drawing right is arguably just as important as having an accurate rough sketch. If your drawing doesn’t have enough depth it’s going to end up looking flat, boring and ultimately not realistic or believable. It’s very easy to want to rush straight into getting the details down on your artwork but it’s really important that you get the values of your drawing properly balanced first.  You can very easily create a beautiful piece of artwork that doesn’t have much detail in it, as long as you get all the shadows and highlights in the right place.

One example of my own that comes to mind is my Hyacinth Macaw drawing. In this artwork I ran out of the tooth of the paper too early, and consequently wasn’t able to get it as detailed as I would have liked. But because I had taken the time to get all of my shadows dark enough and my mid-tones and highlights properly balanced before worrying about the details, it meant that I was still able to produce a piece that still looked realistic even without those tiny details.

Another key thing to do is to get the very darkest areas of your drawing in first, and that way it makes it much easier to judge how light or dark you need the rest of the piece to be. Look for the deepest shadows on your reference photo, work on those first. Don’t be afraid of going in really dark with your pencils. Be careful not to burnish too soon though – you still need to be able to adjust and tinker with those areas later on when you’ll be working on finalising and refining your drawing.
A super easy way to better judge the values of your piece and whether or not you need to go darker or lighter in areas is to take a photo of your artwork with your phone, and then turn it greyscale in a photo editor. This completely gets rid of all the colours in your work allowing you to just see the values.

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It’s much easier to see how light or how dark something is when colour is removed. You can also do this on your reference photos when working off them for the same reason. With a bit of practice you’ll soon easily be able to see where the darkest shadows and brightest highlights in a photo are without needing to do this.


And those are my four beginner tips this time around! I have quite a large list of beginner tips lined up now so keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment of my coloured pencil beginner tips series. If you have any suggestions for what to include in the next video of this series I would love to hear them. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section below!

 

If you’re hungry for more coloured pencil tips and tutorials why don’t check out my other videos? You can also click that subscribe button for more future art tips, tutorials and art product reviews. I also have a Patreon, where you can pledge in order to get extended, fully voiced-over art tutorials, royalty-free reference photos taken by me, signed prints and posters, and occasional bonus content.
Thanks so much for reading. The support in the previous beginner tips video has been unreal and I hope you found this one just as helpful. Until next time!

 

 

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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!

troy video patreon ad

 

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!