Thwarted by the humble (but demonstrably evil…) coloured pencil

Illustration Friday strikes again! This last week has been something of a mélange of frustratingly non-illustrative activity (although I should admit to many of these alternative occupations being quite fun…), so I have pounced, rather desperately and inelegantly, upon this reliably tasty morsel of a diversion to wrest back some drawing time from the jaws of those other, largely less creative pursuits:

She seems puzzled by the emphatic absence of even the smallest remnant of delicious, frozen creamy-chocolate dessert (bar those last meagre droplets that have dripped perilously near her un-socked toes), but given last week’s aural torture of poor Ted, I really don’t see that there’s any mystery to unravel here…!

As so often seems to be the case, I was quite pleased with the shape the initial sketch was taking, but taking the decision to apply a coloured pencil highlight proved disastrous – particularly once it had burgeoned from the initial, fairly innocuous suggestion of colour to a full-scale annihilation of the original pencil lines… Thoroughly annoyed with myself, I retraced over the drawing with fine liner – to, arguably, even worse effect…

…before condemning it, with masking tape restraints, to re-rendering-by-lightbox, in an attempt to excavate back through the execrable gunk of coloured pencil to retrieve some semblance of the original drawing:

Alas, the inevitable leaching of energy exacted by this process is, I think, evident in the resultant graphite-only version – it certainly doesn’t hold the same appeal for me as the original, unadulterated version – but the whole exercise has proved a valuable lesson in the importance of trusting my instincts at the now-leave-it-alone! stage of drawing. And of scanning the original draft (before I do anything rash with a coloured pencil [a medium I briefly and, it transpires, ill-advisedly, returned to favour – now to be re-banished to the depths of my materials cupboard in disgrace, with immediate effect… *Sorry, what’s that you say about a bad workman blaming his tools…?*]). Actually, though, I think I still prefer this re-incarnation than either of the colour-sullied atrocities above…

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About illustratedbyamanda

Illustrator and time-fritterer extraordinaire
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11 Responses to Thwarted by the humble (but demonstrably evil…) coloured pencil

  1. I like your illustration

  2. Susanna says:

    i like all of them, but i like most how she looks puzzled!!

    • Ah, thank you! I have to say that Ted isn’t being particularly sly about his ice-cream theft, but he is owed some payback for having to endure her ‘singing’ last week… 🙂

  3. Cindy D says:

    Well, I’m going to have to agree. I like the graphite-only version best. And it’s really great and I do love your drawing style. I haven’t done much in the way of colored pencils for many years, though once upon a time I was a huge fan of those super smooth Prismacolor pencils. But they are less like pencils and more like, hmm, pastels, maybe, with more vibrancy of color. I think colored pencils sometimes look like crayon? Perhaps they need many coats to achieve a satisfying result?

    Of the colored versions, I like the top one best. It seems the blue worked out quite nicely, while the red and yellow are rather anemic and less than ideal. Maybe because you got a wider range of color with the blue? (Darker darks and lighter lights.) But these are all just wonderings-aloud as I already admitted to being quite not-knowledgeable re: the colored pencil business.

    Love Ted! My guess is, he is just being silly and sneaky, and will in fact share the bounty after the joke has run its course (despite the ear injury he suffered momentarily in a previous post – which was also a great sketch and adorable illustration).

    • Thank you, Cindy! And yes, I think coloured pencils (well, certainly the cheap, ancient ones I dug out of my bottomless pit of long-accumulated art materials for the purposes of this experiment, anyway) can make for a pretty crude finish in the wrong hands! Those Prismacolour ones sound pretty amazing, though – maybe I’ll have to try and find some of those to see if I can find the ‘genre’ acceptable again! Someone who IS amazing with coloured pencils is Jill Murphy, and I think you guessed right, that she achieves the amazingly rich effect she does by patiently and expertly layering the pencil work: http://www.illustrationcupboard.com/artist.aspx?aId=206

      I welcome your wonderings-aloud, and am in wholehearted agreement re. the colourings here. For now, I think I need a comforting bout with the watercolours, but I’m inspired by your mention of Prismacolours, so haven’t exactly abandoned all hope of a reconciliation with the coloured pencil just yet!

      Ted is not, as you so astutely observed, the selfish type, and that IS a rather generous dollop of ice-cream for a small bear – I reckon he’ll offer her the chocolate flake, at the very least… 🙂

  4. BEAUTIFUL! You have a terrific style!

  5. I enjoyed seeing all the versions of this! Great illustration! so glad to see Ted got a little pay-back for last week! 😉

  6. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who goes through this. The way I console myself is that this “experimentation” is how you learn what works and doesn’t work. So yay, for experimentation!

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