Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fur and Feathers in Colored Pencil

 The beautiful colored pencil illustrations by Heidi Snyder and Dorothy DePaulo have amazed me since I first encountered them.  So intricate and detailed, many of them look photo-realistic.  Hanging on the fabric wall in the Members' Gallery through the end of May is a nice selection of their botanical and wildlife pieces.

Heidi and Dorothy offer workshops at the Lakewood Arts Council Gallery on occasion, the most recent being Feathers and Fur in colored Pencil.  For materials, I did buy the suggested 24 pack of Prismacolor Pencils, but I also was glad I'd saved all those student packs of colored pencils my kids demanded at the beginning of each school year.  The secret ingredient in these artists' recipe for a striking work is drafting film.  This semi-opaque substrate allows for luminosity and subtle effects, and is very forgiving.  Not only did we draw on the front of this double sided drafting film, but we also used some different techniques on the back.  And to learn these secrets, you'll just have to sign up for their next class!

 During the first session, we all worked on a photo of a fluffy squirrel, some of us slower than others.  But the amount of talent in that classroom was impressive! As I walked around to peek at everyone's progress, I found the students were all enjoying the process -- starting with the face to give the little guy some personality.

Dorothy says to start with the eye, so they can watch you as you work. During the second session, we finished up our squirrels, talked about backgrounds and mounting, then started the second project, a cute little bird.

I'm so thrilled to learn this new technique and look forward to drawing some of my own photos.  The only problem is when do I find time for my watercolors, or pastel, or collage or...  So many mediums, so little time!

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