Thursday, December 2, 2010

Life Drawing Workshop: color washed paper

Meegin: 2 minute warm up - Graham Smith
The other day, I bought two Leonardo Da Vinci books. I spent some time studying his drawings hoping to soak up some greatness. I tried to figure out what he drew with, how big the drawings were, and stuff like that.

I noticed Leonardo Da Vinci prepared his paper with color washes of purples, blues, reds, and rich browns.

Immediately, I went looking for paint to color wash some paper. I wanted to try drawing on the prepared paper at the next Life Drawing Workshop. So, here are some quick drawings of Meegin, doing 2, 5 and 10 minute poses.

Meegin steps up - Graham Smith
Meegin loves books - Graham Smith
Meegin knees up - Graham Smith
Meegin - colored pencil and white charcoal studies - Graham Smith
I diluted Raw Sienna acrylic paint with water and painted a few sheets of 11"x14" Aquabee 93lb Super Deluxe sketchbook paper, and a few sheets of  18"x24" Strathmore 50lb sketch paper. I used a little pump action misting bottle to wet the paper quickly, and a 2" brush to paint the wash over the paper. Make sure and place scrap paper underneath, so you can extend your brushstrokes past the edges of the paper.

I was not sure if color pencil would draw well over an acrylic wash, or if the paper would lose it's tooth. But, I did know the paper would get all wrinkly if I didn't press it flat after it dried. Place the painted sheets inside a big pad of paper and put some books on top to keep them from curling.

The paper kept it's tooth and accepted both color pencil and white charcoal well. But, the white charcoal didn't want to draw over the colored pencil, too slippery.

You can use a hard eraser to lift the color wash from the paper, creating subtle highlights. If you stain your paper with guache or watercolor, this technique works even better.

Meegin - colored pencil and white charcoal studies - detail - Graham Smith
Meegin - colored pencil and white charcoal studies - detail - Graham Smith

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