The reason why I created this section on my website is because I keep getting asked about what my process is. There are not very many artists that use colored pencils as their primary medium. I came to really enjoy this process and it has stuck ever since. I hope that this might inspire other artists to give somthing new a try. I feel that the best way to create art you love is to just have fun creating it, and this is when I have the most fun. Good luck, and feel free to send me any questions with my comment form !
Go out and buy some Prismacolor pencils (I prefer to have a million colors at my disposal), a sheet of toned archival Crescent board (it is very important that it is archival so that yellowing does not occur from any acids within the board). It is also handy to have a dust brush to brush away pencil shavings and excess wax from the drawing.
I come up with an idea and do some quick thumbnail sketches to plan out compostion. I rarely do a fully rendered sketch beacause I feel like that will take some of the soul and movement out of the final drawing. For this piece my idea was a badass biker girl that just finished someone off using her motorcycle as the instrument of death. I planned the composition around making the girl and the back end of the bike key focal points to tell the story. I then, thought of creative ways to over emphasize (exaggerate) these areas in the sketch. I like to use dramatic foreshortening. I also use a method of adding more detail to areas of importance and leaving detail out of the areas that don't really act in the storytelling, but are there for more of support elements.
I set up a fairly elaborate scene with 3 point lighting (the whole works). I take lots of pictures! Enjoy this part, set up a photoshoot and try to capture a theatrical mood with lighting and good facial expressions with your model. For the backgrounds I usually think of somewhere cool to stage my drawings that I may not have access to. So, I check online or scout around town and take my own photos of cool buildings, rooms, or scenery. Print out the photos.These will make it easy for you to appropriate from. Do not copy exactly what you see in the photo!
I use Prismacolor markers to make a color comp based off of my favorite thumbnal sketch combined with my photoreferences. This way I can plan out my color and mood for the piece before I dive right into the final. The nice thing about using Prismacolor markers is that the direclty corelate to the Prismacolor pencils as far as colors, but you can lay them down much more quickly.
Lightly sketch out my idea with the colored pencils using yellow ochre to draw a basic line drawing first. This makes it easy for me to see on the dark gray illustration board and also allows me to erase fairly easily. (lighter prisma colors are far easier to erase than darker ones). I donít commit to anything right off the bat. I like to work gesturely and see where the lines take me. I donít scientifically plan everything out. I like to keep it loose.
When I get my drawing to the point where all of the proportions and perspective is where it needs to be I start blocking in some basic values. Working all around your composition at this point. Not focusing on any specific area, working the whole composition to give it some color unity. Remember to work from light to dark colored pencils. These pencils act almost like oil paint glazes. For instance if I start with a yellow ochre under tone that color will sort of add a warm yellowish glow through what ever colors I lay on top of it. Painting allows you to mix colors before you apply them to the surface. When you draw with colored pencils you will be mixing them right on the surface as you draw by layering them one after the other. never just grab a color and start coloring in an area using full pressure. Be light with your hand so you can always add more colors on top. This method will allow you to make very complex colors with many different pencils and the surface will remain workable and accept more layers quite easily.
At this point I have everything pretty much blocked in and then I can go into all the areas and mix more colors. It's all about the build up here. I layer as many as 8 or 9 different colors on top of each other before I start to get the color and waxy build up I want. My style lends itself to a very thick oil painterly look. To get that you need to take your time and build up the different layers of color slowly. If you get to dark to soon you wont be able to get the subtle variation in colors to give it that really dimensional look.
Go crazy with detail! I like to work general to specific and leave some areas almost without any detail. This really allows me to control the emphasis of my drawing and use key areas of detail to control the viewers eye path. Remember to step back from your draing through out the entire process so you can alway re-evaluate areas that you may want to change.
I use Prismacolor Premier Gloss Fixative. It says for Pastel, charcoal and pencil right on the can. You can also use Kamar Varnish. The wax of a colored pencil starts to develop a film on the surface if it is not sprayed with some sort of fixative. This allows me to get a shiny protective coat that keeps the drawing safe and also helps to bring out the colors in a pure form.