Wednesday, December 20, 2006

First Snow, Step-by-step Part II

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.



rainchains said...


I am in awe. The picture is beautiful and so real. I feel like I could just walk into the building and talk to the children.


Pam Calvert said...


Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

As Kevin Henkes would say:

"Wow! That's all I can say. Wow!"

JenFW said...

So how long did this take altogether? How long for just the color part, after you printed the under-sketch?

It's gorgeous!

In the 10-12 layers of color on the skin, how many different pencil colors are you using?

When you say alternating between warm and cool colors on the skin, do you mean on each child, or between children? I think you used blue in the fishbowl girl's orange hair (though I couldn't see it)--is this similar?

Thanks for sharing. This is so much fun!

gail said...

Thanks for all the kind words. Wow! Sounds great to me.

Jen, I can check on the dates on my photos and give a timeline, but hours I have no clue. I don't even want to know. If I did, my mind would want to convert to dollars per hour, and I don't even want to know!

I started out with the same two colors (cream and light peach) on all the faces, and then as I built darker tones I brought in different colors for each kid. Think of yellow and cream being warm and pinks and violets as cool. I alternate those on all the kids; it gives more depth to the skin tone. 10-12 layers = 10-12 colors.

Goomie said...

The finished piece looks awesome Gail! Want to see more!

gail said...

Thanks Goomie! Will you be finishing a color final of your piece?


June said...

Thanks for your comment on my small blog :o)
I just dropped by to see your snowflakes... Wonderful work, they are far more complicated than my little piece.
I must admit that mine was digitally coloured, with just the elf outline being hand drawn. It took me a few hours, whereas your work is a labout of love.

Your blog is really good, I shall drop by again, and maybe get some fresh new work on my blog soon.