12 hours

12 hours into my latest colored pencil piece, this is what I have so far.

Crystal Cove at 12 Hourss

Crystal Cove at 12 Hours

In any book of poses, there are usually a few that lend themselves to mermaids.  I hadn’t drawn a mermaid in a while, so that’s what I chose to do this time.  I’ve given this piece a working title of “Crystal Cove”, but I may change that later.  There are going to be some crystal formations in the background.

Before I commit pencil to paper, I first have to work out the composition.  The placement of the figure is crucial in a piece like this.  Then I have to figure out where the horizon is.  Since the pose was shot in a studio I had to infer where to draw the horizon.

Once I know where the horizon goes I can start designing the background.  Sometimes I have a solid idea of what I want in the background before I start.  Queen of Ravens was like that.  In this case I figured it out later.  It’s hard to see in this view but there is a large rock arch that surrounds the figure’s upper body.  The beach will be a diagonal that’s lower on the right side, leading into the distance.  The water is on the right.  There will be some large green crystal formations at the base of the rock arch and cliffs in the background.

I outline everything in a faint color (I like peach for some reason) when I start.  After everything is outlined it becomes a coloring exercise.  I like to start with the eyes and work my way out from there.  When I scanned this piece after 12 hours I had the head done except for hair.  I’d made a start on the shoulders, back and arms.  The tail is little more than an outline.

Achieving solid color with colored pencils is a matter of going over an area again and again until all the white disappears.  The paper I use has texture and the pencil hits the peaks first.  It takes time to work the color down into the crevasses.  When doing skin tones I work slowly.  Skin tones are subtle and require a lot of attention to get right (at least for me).

I intend to scan the picture again after another 12 hours of work.  I’m curious to see how much progress I will have made.


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