Sunday, February 21, 2010

Latest commission - Raela and Dom

Raela and Dom
8x10 inches
Graphite, black pencil, Cretacolor negro and pan pastels on drafting film
One of the challenges I find working with graphite is achieving strong contrasts. I know a lot of artists combine charcoal and graphite very effectively in their artworks, but I find pure charcoal and even charcoal blends don't go well on the drafting film. I picked up a bundle of darker coloured drawing pencils from the artshop to have a bit of a play. Most must have contained predominantly charcoal, and basically scratched at the surface of the drafting film, but one - the Cretacolor Negro (we must have old stock, because I read the name has since been changed to Nero) works well on the drafting film. Apparently, it is charcoal based, but oils have been added making it much smoother than regular charcoal based pencils. I do use pure black pencils in my portraits sometimes, but then it can be a challenge blending the black with the graphite for a natural transition. In this portrait, Dom's hair was done entirely with the Cretacolor Negro, and you can blend it slightly with the tortillon as well. This pencil gives a softer black than a black pencil, which I was really happy with. The decoration in Raela's hair had no definition in the reference photo and was actually quite hard to pick out from the background, and for this I used a Faber Castell black pencil, followed by black Pan pastel for a smoother result. Always learning!!!!


AutumnLeaves said...

Karen, this is a beautiful portrait! I so enjoyed hearing your thoughts on the medium as well. This is sure a cute couple and I know that they will always treasure this piece!

Dors said...

Absolutely stunning Karen. Thank you for sharing the tips with us on the Creatacoler pencil. (Nero) I will look out for them. It's always hard to get those blacks really black. You certainly aced this one.

Great job.

Miniature Art by Karen Hull said...

Thank you so much Sherry and Dors for your thoughtful comments - I always appreciate them!!!!

Mona said...

Karen, this portrait is exquisitely rendered, and thank you for taking the time to go over the advantages of the Creatacolor Nero pencil. If I can find one I will try it.

Miniature Art by Karen Hull said...

No worries Mona - I hope you can find one and thank you for your very kind words!!! :)

Miniature Art by Karen Hull said...

Whoops - I just realised there was a typo and that should have read Cretacolor Nero, not Creatacolor :)