Wednesday, March 01, 2017

It's March

Ok, say it with me. Where did February go? I know it's a short month anyway, but it got away from me as disturbingly as January did. I found myself hustling to get my March spread in the coloring pocket calendar done in time. This one really has few if any true repeats in the design, but I still found myself setting up a few guidelines of approach. For instance, all circles would be yellow. And the outer sections of petals and arcs would also be yellow. Any areas with black dots or other black designs would get the light green pencil while the same shapes sans black would get the darker green. And I also kept reminding myself to limit the number of colors. I wanted this to be a bit calmer.

I think those parameters served me well. That and the fact that I used this spread to try out some of the suggestions in the Colored Pencil Collage book that soon had to go back to the library. I know I've probably read some of this before, but this time I actually did what was presented to see if it worked better than what I've been doing. For instance, she talked about building up layers by varying the amount of pressure applied while either making small circular motions or long strokes. She described the amount of pressure in percentages, as in start with 10% pressure to cover the entire area lightly and then go back in to use about 30% pressure in areas you want to be darker. It never occurred to me to do anything but press hard from the start to get the color and value I wanted. I was amazed at how well this layering with lighter pressure worked, especially in the areas where I blended a brown and an orange in the petals. She also suggested testing all your colors with a band of light to dark pressure to see the variety of looks you can get in a single color, just by changing the value. I did this with the purple pencil where in the inner swirl I left one portion with a single layer while continuing to build up layers and darker value on the rest. That lighter value also fills in parts of the background where leaving it white was too stark. By using the very light value, I eliminated the need to introduce another color.

I also tried to add a little depth to the design by introducing shadows, a technique I learned with my Zentangling. At first I tried just darkening the value of the color to create the shadow but it didn't work very well. Last night I went over the overlapping areas with the black pencil and a very light touch. You might be able to see it if you click on the photo for the larger version. Safe to say this continues to hold my interest and is providing learning experiences and practice that I can certainly use. 


Living to work - working to live said...

Sheila - you even write so well about colouring in! I thought that was water colour.

The Inside Stori said...

Gosh I admire your dedication and of course the results are wonderful If only I could sit long enough to complete one myself!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Hilary, what a compliment! I know those who are really good at using colored pencil can get a smooth look and that has been one of my frustrations - my use of colored pencil lacking good coverage. I know that sometimes is due to the paper I am coloring on, not really the right kind for colored pencil. But I do think it may have been the lighter touch and layering on of color that has made the difference here. Thanks!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Mary, that is the beauty of working on these small, already drawn out for me designs. I leave it and my pencils on the kitchen table and only work on it a bit at a time, 10 or 15 minutes at most. Sometimes I don't even sit down to color in a few sections before I'm off to something else. Believe me, this is progress for one who has always operated on the premise that if I didn't have enough time to do something in one sitting, I had to wait to start. I think it helps that I work on it outside of the studio, have it sitting out where I pass by it often during the day, where it quietly calls out for a few strokes now and then.