WIP – It’s Done!

I’m done with the artwork for the banner but need to let it sit and look at it for a couple of days just in case I decide any tweaking is needed. Or, if I notice anything else that needs to be cleaned up.  First thing next week, it goes out for digital capture.  Once that is done, the digital file will go to the printer to add the text and print the banner.  And the really fun part of the project?  Delivering the banner to the school’s gardening club.

I am very pleased with the results. I have not used both Prismacolor and polychromos in a single work before.  As I have noted in earlier postings, they each have their attributes and challenges.  I won’t say weaknesses; it’s just knowing when the best time is to use each one.  I will say that I am anxious to create a piece with an animal as the subject, using only polychromos.  I’m curious how they handle for detail like fur on the Dura-Lar film.done1

I feel the use of a number of different colors and making sure they were balanced and complimentary works well. I thought about that quite a bit while I was working on the layout and choosing the subjects.  I was definitely willing, and prepared, to make changes at any point if it started to fall apart or not work.  Happily that was not necessary and only a few minor changes were needed as I was working.

This was absolutely one of the more enjoyable projects for me since a lot of the works I take on are portraits, and that does get repetitive. Getting to pull a composition together from just ideas is fun and rewarding.  It was a real treat to be able to work on so many botanical subjects, especially fruit and vegetables and the insects.

WIP – Grapes and Butterfly

The banner project is moving along pretty well.   It’s nearly done and I’m really looking forward to getting it scanned so the text can be added to the digital file.  I’m debating on the background color.  I’m thinking it could be sky blue or white.  The beauty of working on the Dura-Lar is its transparency.  The finished work can be placed on background colors to get a pretty good idea of how it will look when printed.

As with the honey bee, the monarch butterfly required fine detail so the polychromos pencils were perfect. I prefer them for this type of work.  No breaking of points hence no swearing and massive frustration.  I also think the color saturation is more delicate and I able to get a different effect than I do with the Prismacolor pencils.  A more pastel palette if you would.  Not the look I want for everything, but it’s nice to have the choice.grape leaves2

The grape leaves were fun, especially since I decided on fall leaves. I think a little less green is not a bad thing for the composition.  Shadows and color variations on the yellow leaf took a while and some testing on scrap to make sure the results were what I wanted.  Picture included and I hope you enjoy.

WIP – Urban Garden Banner

It was nice long holiday weekend used to catch up on errands and visit with family in from out of town. In spite of all the activities there was still time to work a little on the banner.  I think I’m done with the sunflower, or at least the center.  Tiny, tiny little seed pods.  I think I’ll need to get stronger reading magnifiers after that.  I’m really appreciating the polychromos pencils for the fine detail, but still like the Prismacolor for color choice and for their layering ability.  The effect is wonderful.  You can see the individual colors but still get a richness and depth as the final result.

I’m pretty pleased with the tomato plant. I think the choice to include fruit in various stages of ripening worked out well.  It was an interesting problem to capture the variety of greens and delicate reflections of red and yellow.  I don’t know how well that comes out using my phone for photos so sorry if that doesn’t read.grape2

I’m holding off on the monarch butterfly and purple cabbage leaves until I finish the grapes. I want to spend as little time as possible exposing the tomato fruit to heat from my arm since that causes some very light smearing and takes a lot of time cleaning up.

I’m working on the grapes now and will use fall colors for the leaves, red, yellow and green, for balance. I also think they will read well from a distance.  Makes me want to do a little wine tasting.




WIP – My Grandfather’s Garden

As I am working on the tomato plant, I am recalling fond memories of my grandfather’s garden. His family was from a small farming village in Croatia.  When his parents emigrated to the U.S., they continued in agriculture and eventually owned fruit orchards.  There was always a vegetable garden.  Even when my grandparents retired and moved to a suburban home, my grandfather still had a garden.  He spent many loving hours tending fruit trees and vegetable plants.  Of course, we always benefited through bags and baskets of fresh produce and a wonderful education.

I can still smell the tangy and sweet scent of fresh tomatoes as we picked them off the vines. At least a few never made it out of the garden and were sacrificed as impromptu snacks.  Grandpa had the sweetest white corn.  He spent years cultivating just the right seeds and I still have some in my freezer.  We have, on occasion, grown corn from those seeds and it is still pretty amazing.


sunt5My grandmother would make sweet zucchini pickles because the plants were so prolific and we just kind of got tired of eating it. Really, there are only so many ways you can prepare it. Those pickles were one of my favorite treats.  Happy memories I am enjoying as I spend time on this piece.  Working on the sunflower and tomato plant now.  Tiny, tiny little sunflower seeds.  Thank goodness for magnifiers.

WIP – Bee and Blossoms

I think the biggest challenge I am dealing with on this work is the size of the subjects. I’m not used to working that small unless it’s a piece in graphite or ink.  Based on some helpful information from others who work in color pencil, I decided to use polychromos for the bee because the pencils are harder than Prismacolor and I needed that for fine detail.  With some of the Prismacolor colors, the points break off, making it time consuming to get through the work.  Pleased to say the polychromos worked well and I’m happy with the results.

I switched back to Prismacolor for the squash and they worked fine. I have to keep reminding myself this is for a banner, so the work does not need to be as detailed as my standard illustrations.  Because of that, I am trying to not dwell too much on capturing the translucence of the squash blossoms.  I will probably revisit them before I finish because that’s still bugging me.  Photo of the bee and squash included.


I started working on the sunflower today so hopefully an update on that in my next post.

WIP – Orange Tree Done!

I finally finished the orange tree. It was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be because the leaves are monotonously the same color.  The lack of variegation meant I had to rely on highlights and shadows although I did take some liberties and added colors for interest.Feb 03 2016

I’m pleased with the end result and am anxious to move on to the next subject. I don’t know if I will start on the squash or work on the honey bee.  The delicacy of the squash blossom is an inviting problem to solve.  Although, after the orange tree leaves, fine detail required for the honey bee might be welcome.  I’ll let you know what I decide in my next blog.

I have not had time to test time-lapse filming of work in progress yet. Don’t know if that will get done this week.  I’m trying to get as much work done as I can because I will be away from the drawing table most of the weekend.  Fun distractions so I don’t really mind too much.

Work in Progress –Oranges for Banner

Busy weekend…I made good headway on the orange tree section of the banner. This includes blossoms which are a lovely warm white.  An interesting characteristic is they seem to absorb some hue of colors close to them creating depth and delicate shading.  I am working in very soft pinks and slates with a very slight green.  I think once the foliage is completed, the blossoms will need a little more work and will stand up to the oranges and greens nicely. orange5

The oranges offered the challenge of having to work in a smaller scale while trying to represent the classic orange peel texture. After a few trials I found that using very tiny circular strokes with each layer of color, and no blending, resulted in a very pleasing appearance of texture.  Here too, the Prismacolor Black Grape and Tuscan Red served very well for shading.  Progress so far shown in the photo included.

I also tested time-lapse filming of the work in progress. I am still testing software programs and camera positioning.  Hopefully I will have something worth posting this month.