And here's the reveal...
I'm going to jump right in and show the color final first. It looks so much more...well, finished than the first steps do. They tend to look a little odd until I get enough layers of color down. This piece is mixed media. I use a combination of color pencil (Prisma Pencil and Derwent) and pastel dust (NuPastel ground into a dust and rubbed into the paper).
Here I’m layering in the color pencil (CP). This is where I feel like the characters start to come to life. This is the "odd looking" stage, but it’s a good way to show how I work. The three kids on the left have the skin tone and mouth and eyes pretty far along. The boy holding the paper snowflake has the base colors, plus some shading started on his skin tone. The two girls on the far right have just the first wash of color. I will end up using around 10-12 layers on the skin.
Moving on to the hair. I want to start getting some surrounding values in now so I can make adjustments to the skin tones. Again, adding very light layers of color. I'm alternating between warm and cool colors for the skin. And getting some dark values in for the hair.
Now I have the faces and hair done. I will keep checking them as I get more surrounding colors down and tweak as needed.
Now I've gotten the shirt colors in. This is still all color pencil. And I'm still going very slowly.
On to the brickwork. This is where I’m using the pastel dust method... and moving a lot faster! The brickwork is pastel dust rubbed into the paper in layers (NuPastel ground into a fine dust and applied with tissue and make-up applicators). Then I lift the mortar areas out with kneaded eraser and will be detailing with CP. (Started the mortar and added some CP on the far right.)
Finished the detail work with color pencil on the bricks. At this point I’m thinking the classroom scene is a little too light. Plus, it seems to need something to tie things all together, so I decide to make some changes to the classroom, darkening, bringing in some warmer brick colors for cohesion, and going a little more realistic, less outlined.
And the final piece! Made the adjustments to the classroom. That helped tie in the brickwork. Finished the window frame and snowflakes.