Time for a new direction as the job I had, was no longer fulfilling. With depression plunging me mentally to new depths, it was my partner who after watching me dabble in line drawings of leaves and flowers, drew my attention to the many “YouTube” demonstrations that were available.
I was a bit sceptical, but nevertheless started watching them and well… got sucked right in! At that stage, I was happy to stick with graphite pencils and build up my skill using shading techniques to create the illusion of depth.
After attempting a baby’s face, I was inspired to go further and tried some animal faces. I was particularly pleased with my attempt at an otter.
Around the same time, I invested in some charcoal and began experimenting with texture. I had some successes but more notably a number of failures. The drawings of roses were particularly disappointing. (Please note the image looks better than the drawing). It was then back to “YouTube” for more instruction. I needed a greater understanding in order to rectify the problems.
After a go at a Badger in charcoal, which I was pleased with, I then had a go at a wolf, then a prowling lioness, a little owl, a snoozing fox and a hedgehog. Each had a different texture to try. The long hair on the wolf, the velvety short hair on the lioness, the feathers on the owl, the dead log that the fox was snoozing in and the spines on the hedgehog, were all suitably challenging.
In the lioness and fox drawings, I started to use pan pastels for the first time and loved their smooth texture.
Through the use of a small makeup sponge, I could quickly and lightly map out areas of shade, as well as the direction of the fur.
By now, I had the desire to incorporate colour. But, which route to take?
Do I take the pastel route or do I take the colour pencil route?
I started with pastel pencils and found it difficult to get the effect that I wanted. Then in my frustration, picked up a pack of colour pencils and began to experiment. Still following “YouTube” videos, I then managed to turn out a half-decent blue tit. By this time, I had now treated myself to a tin of Faber-Castell’s polychromos pencils. There is no way I would now part with them.
As for the pastels, I have not abandoned them. Through perseverance and experimenting with different papers, I am now beginning to understand them a bit better, incorporating them more and more into my work. There is no doubt that a lot of the earlier issues I had, were to do with not fully understanding the layering process and what can be achieved on particular papers.
What I have also found important, is to persevere through the “ugly stage” of a drawing. Don’t give up, see it through to the end, even if you do think you have overdone your giraffe’s nose. Finish the drawing and learn from the mistake.
So from here, the journey continues…