Friday, August 3, 2012

Fun with a mailorder catalogue - part three - colored pencils

The quicky sketches were easy, the watercolor girls were more difficult and now it was time to do something really challenging with my mail order catalogue. I wondered if I could do a girl in colored pencils. Now I have already told you on several occasions how difficult a medium colored pencils are to me. I love them, but I'm not very good at working with them.  A challenge indeed! Here's what I did.

I chose an image from the catalogue that I liked (sorry about the vague pic). I wanted to do a close up of a face again, not a full body girl. I love drawing faces, I always have and I always will.

I chose a page in my Studio Book that already had a prepped background on it from a time when I was just playing with some left over paint and ink dabbers. I got my mechanical pencil and sketched the girl and then did an outline with a pitt brush pen, rubbing out the pencil lines with an eraser. 

I went over the face with gesso, so the background would be partially covered. I don't mind backgrounds showing through a little, I think that gives a piece character, but I don't want it to distract too much from the focal image. 

You can still see the lines of the brush pen and they were my guide for starting to color in the face with colored pencils. I wondered how pencils would work on the gesso, but that was no problem at all, although of course the gesso does not 'absorb' the pencil as much as a regular paper surface. That was okay, it just made layering in too many layers a bit harder. 

As expected I found it extremely difficult to really get the face down with these pencils (they were Derwent Coloursoft by the way, but that has nothing to do with my lack of ability to handle them). It was interesting however to see if I could layer the colors a little and get some shading going. 

After I was convinced this was as good as it was going to get I decided to add some colored pencil to the background as well, just to tie things together. 

I was only moderately satisfied with the result. That is to say I actually like it as a picture, but I can see way too clearly how flawed I still am in this challenging medium called colored pencils. So I was content, but not overcome with pride. I did have a good time putting it together though and that's what really matters anyway.

Fortunately there was also someone in the house for whom it was love at first sight! ;-)

And that concludes my report of my week of fun with a mail order catalogue. I thought it might be nice to show you how even the most mundane objects in your house can serve as inspiration or just as material for practice and experimentation. Hope I gave you some ideas to try yourself.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!


  1. I've been enjoying these Catalogue experiments. Very envious of your talent for drawing faces. Have a wonderful weekend :-)

  2. Wow Caatje... I LOVE her... fabulous drawing... and what a wonderful experiment... it is always nice to play with different supplies... have you tried the prismacolor pencils... they are my fave...

    Jenny x

  3. I love the way you play and experiment! And the drawing is great!

  4. I have enjoyed watching too. Loved today's drawing and the coloured pencils, they dont like me so much either, but might just give them another try now after watching your results.

  5. toen ik je " mailorder" zag staan had ik er een heel ander beeld bij.. dit is echt een verrassing ;-)

  6. Ik vind het geweldig hoe jij jezelf altijd weer uitdaagt en overal van leert, that's the spirit! Ik heb zelf diverse (creatieve) plannen voor dit weekend (mag mijn luie r*t wel eens van achter de computer slepen wil het nog iets worden trouwens...) maar er komen geen kleurpotloden aan te pas. Wél 'watersoluble' krijtjes en lijm en verf en, wie weet, misschien probeer ik ook nog wel een EDM tekening met potlood? Hm... plannen zat! Ik wens je een heel fijn weekend!

  7. Very nice! It looks like you had fun experimenting and the results turned out well...all around a success.

  8. I'm sure you learned so much in the making of this beautiful image! Peer has it right. He knows a good thing when he sees it.

  9. It looks so great!
    Thanks for showing us the process.

  10. Thanks for sharing your catalogue series Caatje, It inspires me to have a go at this too.

  11. Thank you all for your kind words! I'm happy my little experiments give you some ideas and/or inspiration.


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