The Creative Plan – Day 5 Colour Pencils


It feels so long since I posted and I have definitely lagged in my commitment to this project over the last few weeks even months. I blame the World Cup – damn living in the southern hemisphere and all those early morning matches! Anyways, things are back to normal, I say with trepidation, the English Premier League starts next week…but enough about football!


As per usual I leave the on-location exercise till the end of each project. This is so I can test any learnings I’ve made over the course of my exploration out ‘in the field’. Plus it’s way too hard to make genuine attempts with new techniques out in public what with unpredictable weather patterns whilst dealing with the impracticalities of space or comfort. There have been many times I’ve cut short an outdoor drawing session because of one or all of the above.

Colour_pencil_on_location_Rookwood_1_imageHowever, if I’m going to be somewhere for non-artistic reasons that might be interesting to draw I may pack a sketchbook and a small ‘toolkit’ to take with me. These first couple of drawings were done on a trip to Rookwood Cemetery. I love drawing in old cemeteries but on this occasion I was in a new section so found more inspiration in the landscaping.

Colour_pencil_on_location_Rookwood_1This was after Day 2 of my colour pencil exploration where I drew interior scenes and the success of the bathroom picture was very fresh in my mind. I continued the Impressionist approach whereby I ommitted blacks and greys to shade or outline and it mades such a difference. There is a lighter, more animated feeling to the drawing. The colours may look unusual for this scene but it hasn’t lost the realness of the setting.

As I was eating my lunch a Grey Butcherbird (thank you Google!) rocked up and picked up the crumbs of my peanut butter roll. I threw it some sunflower and pepita seeds to keep it in one spot to draw but it was having none of that healthy sh*t! Despite my failed attempt it still hung around for some time no doubt eyeing off the rest of my peanut butter roll! Though it wasn’t so generous that it remained still…ever!

Colour_pencil_on_location_Canterbury_2_bird2Colour_pencil_on_location_Canterbury_2_bird1A tip for anyone who finds it frustrating to draw animals or people that move around – don’t stick to the one drawing. Like my little friend, it hopped about constantly and turned not only its body but its head in all directions. So I set up a few sketches of it from different angles – whenever it turned or moved back to one of those regular positions I would add to my drawing bit by bit.

Sydney Sketch Club

Another part of my art making that I’ve been very remiss with is promising myself that I would join my on-location drawing groups on a monthly basis. So far I’ve been three times this year, including this last effort. Very sad. I was out with the Sydney Sketch Club on Sunday to Canterbury, an inner west suburb near where I live. 

Despite the close proximity I thought it would be a good colour pencil challenge because unfortuately Canterbury hasn’t undergone the urban hipster makeover that has transformed most of Sydney. This particular section we were drawing around is located on a high traffic road where many shopfronts have been closed permamently for lack of, I don’t know, reasons for or ways of stopping by. So its really dusty, run down and neglected. Thus I thought it would be a great challenge to bring something really ordinary to life.

Colour_pencil_on_location_Canterbury_1_imageEven before sitting down to draw I knew I wanted to draw this building. I Google map’ped the location to check out what was there beforehand and saw it on streetview. This has always helped me decide what materials to take with me, including if I need to take a chair or if there’s ample seating already there.

I had a few comments about how interesting it was that I used colours that aren’t in the scene (not the first time that’s been said to me) but I’m always taken aback by that because they are colours that I do see that’s why I include them, otherwise its not drawing on location.

Close up

I wrote about this on Day 2 where the use of colour, particulary when using visual reference, doesn’t have to be so literal. Sure a tree has green leaves, but with changing light and shadows reflecting off surfaces you get other colours appearing more than just the base colour. 

If you’re still not convinced below is a photo of what I drew which I brought it into Photoshop and eyedropped, or sampled, random sections of the photo to show you what colours are in the image. As you can see it’s not a simple pink building and the eucalyptus tree is not just two shades of green, light and dark – there are blue-grey tones in the leaves, there’s a green tinge in the window panes and blue tints in the one way sign.

Colour_pencil_on_location_Canterbury_1_col_breakdownEven though it is a crappy photo, my next drawing spot shows long shadows were cast across the buildings, but the shadows aren’t grey and the dirty, warm, brown-red bricks have a blue-grey tinge about them. You can even see it in the white panels as well. 

Colour_pencil_on_location_Canterbury_2_imageAdmittedly I gave up on this drawing. My mind was so conflicted about what I wanted to convey – I really wanted to capture the “Buildings” signage and the patchwork nature of the brickwork, but also loved the shiny teal-coloured tiles on the shopfront. However, to include the shop front everything would have to be reduced in size on my A4 page which meant I’d lose the opportunity to detail the lettering. Because I was so indecisive I didn’t achieve what I wanted. Ultimately I took on more than I could handle at that point in time. 


Previous post
The Creative Plan – Day 4 Colour Pencils

Next Post
The Creative Plan – Review

2 thoughts on “The Creative Plan – Day 5 Colour Pencils

  1. Always enjoyable to follow you on your explorations. I find the coloured lines really give a lively feeling to all the sketches. Local colour, well not everyone sees colour in quite the same way, but it’s the artist’s choice how they depict a scene. I also think that slavish copying of detail is, for the most part, better left to the camera.

Comments are closed.

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: