Work in Progress 9: On the Waterfront

First stage.  You can see my rough tracing.  Almost no colour has been put on yet.

First stage. You can see my rough tracing. Almost no colour has been put on yet.

Second stage: This is my 'colour map' stage - just a light layer though I have left the seagull alone at this stage.

Second stage: This is my ‘colour map’ stage – just a light layer though I am leaving the seagull until last.

Third stage: Now you can see the strong colours being built up.

Third stage: Now you can see the strong colours being built up.

Fourth stage: I've done as much as I can around the bird.  Now it is time to begin work on the seagull.

Fourth stage: I’ve done as much as I can around the bird. Now it is time to begin work on the seagull.

"On the Waterfront" is now complete.  Once I had drawn the seagull I had to strengthen all the colours throughout the composition.  There was a lot of adjusting to do in the final stages.

“On the Waterfront” is now complete. Once I had drawn the seagull I had to strengthen all the colours throughout the composition. There was a lot of adjusting to do in the final stages.

Click on the images to enlarge if you would like to see the details.

“On the Waterfront” is the third drawing of a series about seabirds around the port of Fremantle.  As most of the drawing is out of focus, I require soft use of pencils to create blurriness.  A tool which is very helpful in achieving this is the pencil extender.  Though it is actually made to put nearly-used-up pencil stubs in (so that the pencil has a longer working life) it is also great for use with full length pencils.  If you look at the way I am holding it in the photo below, you can imagine that I don’t have tight control of the pencil.  Rather, I am using it in a way that is extremely loose – resulting in barely-there marks on the paper.  Doing enough of these sort of wispy marks builds up a gentle haze of colour.  It is a pencil equivalent to a wash (watercolours) or a linseed oil glaze (oil paints).

Holding the pencil extender this way, one achieves a very light loose stroke.

Holding the pencil extender this way, one achieves a very light loose stroke.

While I was working on this drawing I received a packet of blenders which I had ordered  from the United Kingdom.  The blender is made from a mixture of oil and wax and contains no pigment.  It is used to blend colours and burnish them.  If you click on the photo below to enlarge it, you can clearly read what it says on the packet about the blender and its various properties and uses.  It is made by Caran d’Ache.

Front and rear of the packet which the Caran d'Ache blender comes in.

Front and rear of the packet which the Caran d’Ache blender comes in.

Information on the blender and pencil extender is repeated on my Art Materials page.

Related post:  On the Waterfront     Related page:  Subject 6: Birds in a landscape

6 Responses to Work in Progress 9: On the Waterfront

  1. Anne Mccaughey says:

    Fantastic Julie. The bird looks great and I LOOOOve the port in the background. You’ve captured that battered almost mangy character that gulls project so easily. Try as I might I cant quite dislike them…..I’m also amazed at how generously you share your expertise when so many artists like to keep their special little tricks to themselves…not me or indeed any of us who are friends, but I do know others who always hold back that last bit from their learners!

    • Thank you, Anne. Honestly – I do like seagulls. People call them ‘rats of the sky’ or some such thing but have you ever noticed how spotlessly clean they always look?
      I love to share my methods. I swear I have nothing to hide. Any question will be answered.

  2. This is a wonderful insight into building up a great picture! Thank you so much!

  3. Another lovely work, Julie. Do you use a light box for the tracing? Any suggestions about where to get one that is not too expensive?
    Thanks,
    Sue

    • Yes, Sue, I do use a light box. In my case we had one built into shelves when we moved into our house in 2009 by a cabinet-maker. However before that I simply used a window. That works just fine. It is just that I find it easier on my back to be tracing from a horizontal situation rather than a vertical one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s