Since I was a child I loved Greek myths and thought that whole world could give me enough scope to develop some ideas. It also gave me the chance to move away from more natural colours to the fantastical.
Earlier in the week I designed layouts for three pieces. Compared to the last exercise this one was going to be a much more controlled drawing execution. This was also a stylised interpretation so there was less concern about anatomical correctness but more importance on the narrative.
All artwork was created using Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils and Canson paper.
The Golden Fleece
The pencil work was laid down to compliment the contours and textures of all the different surfaces. To really offset the goldeness of the ram’s fleece I wanted to set the scene at night.
Despite using a dark blue pencil, Helio Blue Reddish, once I brushed on water the colour became lighter and despite adding more colour it didn’t seem to matter much.
Originally the skull was coloured in too but I removed as much as I could and its a nice soft balance to the rest of the illustration.
There is probably about three layers of pencil in this picture. Even though I kept adding darker colours to the scene every time I added water it diluted the intensity so I could never reach that “stillness of midnight” feel and I was also loathed to use black or grey as a “get out of jail free” option. The glow worked a treat however.
Because the god of fire is a bit more hands on and continuously labouring away at his noisy, gritty, crackling forge my base layer was done using really rough, heavy cross-hatching. In this instance I was happy for a lot of that texture to come through as it would make the scene really intense.
Again, after using a dry brush technique with a short-haired brush it desaturated the colours.
When I finished the drawing it still seemed a little flat, particularly the fire. Despite it being a close interior there still had to be contrast between the foreground and background for more effect.
I only applied a second layer which was hard going. I dry brushed the flames and dragged the colour up and out in large strokes. There still wasn’t enough depth of field so I heavily wetted the coals to make them blurry. Later I sprinkled some dark brown shavings onto the coals and spritzed them with water to create a hazy, flying ash feel.
This one I soaked in water and it practically obliterated the pencil work. In fact it took three to four attemps because every time I wetted the colour all my shaping would dissipate, and with each additional layer of colour and water it became harder to work on the paper surface.
My final layer ended with me applying the pencils but not wetting it. The effect is really nice and even the paper texture works well with the snake patterns, though its still not dark or detailed enough for me.
The Creative Plan – Day 3 Watercolour Pencil