Practice makes…

… you longing for more materials to practice with! Today I’ve been working on a sketch of my nephew, and even though it looks sort of nice, I’m not satisfied with it. The original picture contained cool tones, mainly, but my assortment of pencils doesn’t have that many soft, cool tones, even after getting some extra pencils recently. I’m also missing some brown tones (both light and dark) that would make a difference in my drawing.

My nephew
My nephew

Look at the blond hair, for example. It looks very yellow, which is because I only have quite saturated yellows, and only a dark brown. I tried to fix it by using some grey, dark red, orange and even green, but I didn’t manage to make the overall look of the hair to my satisfaction. The other hard one is the mouth. I only have very light rose/pink and a dark pink and a red. Actually, the lips are supposed to be a muted, medium pink with lilac/grey overtones, but they turned out too too dark and too red. These two problems combined make the little boy look a bit clownish, which is not what I wanted at all. At least I got the shape of his features right, this time… The “problem” with the colours is that pastel pencils don’t really mix. You can layer them, though. The idea is to start lighter areas with lighter colours as the base, and the other way around. That way, the basis of the area will always be what you intended, and will be toned by the layers on top. Using your finger or a tool to blur the area a bit will help making the colours connect smoothly to eachother, but it will not actually mix top-bottom. The basis stays. So, other than with paint, of which you could theoretically just buy the three primary colours plus black and white to have access to the whole spectrum, with pastel pencils you need lots of different shades, preferably some stacked tones (a light, medium and dark of each tint you want to use). Fortunately, you usually can buy any colour separately, so you can adjust your collection to your needs. I guess that I will need some more pencils in in-between shades, or maybe I just don’t really get the technique yet, which is entirely possible. I will possible buy some extra pencils, though, just to add some more fun to my hobby.

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