It’s about time that I got my ass back in the coloured pencil saddle and what better subject than the reason that I have been out of the saddle for so long – my lovely beagle puppy Brodie. After taunting her with a treat for about 15 minutes, I got the perfect pose that I wanted and began. For this piece, I am using a slightly bigger than A4 sheet of blue/grey Mi-Tientes pastel paper and Prismacolor Premiers.
I began by sketching an outline onto tracing paper and transferred the image to my support. A very faint outline that I can barely just see but this negates the need for erasing the line or getting mucky graphite mixed in with the coloured pencil.
I spent a while selecting my pencils from my drawers, covering blues, greys, pinks, browns and oranges as I see fit. Plus black and white of course. Clay Rose will form a huge part of the muzzle as beagles have a very minky-coloured muzzle – lots of brown, pink and white.
I started on the nose. I am using the waffle/rough side of the Mi-Tientes paper, you can almost see the texture in this photo of the nose. This is the first layer of colour, mapping out the tonal ranges before adding in the tiny details. Now, tiny details – one of the reasons I wouldn’t normally pick up Prismas. There have been increasing numbers of artists complaining about the quality and standard of Prismas since they shifted production to Mexico. Many CP artists have sworn off them. And this is the reason –
Broken leads. I long stopped sharpening my Prismas with a machine or battery-operated sharpener. I only use a metal hand sharpener and still…this happens. After I took this photo and re-sharpened, the same thing happened again with both pencils. Then the white joined in the party. It is a huge problem that the manufacturers will have to address.
Anyway, I pushed on to the eye and the right side of Brodie’s muzzle (as we look at it). Immediately, you see why, despite the problems, Prismas are so beloved. Creamy, blendable laying down of pigment that make drawing a absolute pleasure. I use white, clay rose and sepia – with lovely blush pink for the warm glow just coming out from her lip. The eye, I have just started laying down the basic colours and highlights. That’s it for now, but I know I made the right choice with the support. Mi-Tientes is lovely to work on, it’s thinness belies its strength and durability. Filling the tooth is not difficult either, especially with the thick and creamy Prismas. The colour, blue/grey, is allowing Brodie’s white fur to leap off the page and this can only be enhanced with the oranges and browns of her coat. That’s all she painted for now.