Drawings of everyday life

I can’t resist the temptation of bright colors

Danny Gregory writes in his book The Creative License about using color as a beginner:

“I’d hold off on the color for now, too; stick to black ink on white paper. (…) I stuck with one type of black pen for my first year and then added a single additional warm grey marker.”

But I’m a sort of restless and couldn’t resist the temptation of bright colors, so I bought some markers, liquid watercolors and wax pastels after half a year. I must admit: I got overwhelmed. I love the colors, but I have no clue what to do with them.

Sure, I can use them for adding the same color as the subject I’m drawing. It worked very well with these eggs. Without the yellow they didn’t look like eggs and with color they do. The scan isn’t as yellow as the original :-(

Gevulde eieren / filled eggs

In the book Drawing Lab of Carla Sonheim there is an exercise to paint random forms of watercolor and then look at the forms whether you ‘see’ an animal, a foot, a face or anything else familiar. I found this anxious guy.
DrawingLab8 exercise

In film school I learned that one of the best way of testing the color quality of film stock was by shooting a test of the face a woman. We as humans seem to be very sensible of the color of human skin, in this way we can see whether somebody is sick, when the face is green or pale.

As a cameraman I learned to look at shadows and lights, so that is now the way I approach a portrait. I choose three or four colors for the face and attach one color for a different kind of darkness in the face.

Jen / Taranoel for JKPPDolores666 for JKPP

My neighbour and artist Elspeth Pikaar made the remark that when you make a drawing in black and white, your brain fills in the forms. This effect disappears as soon as you use color. Therefore I end with two portraits without colors, so you brain can do the rest.
esta.sketch / Lisa K for JKPPRandy Johnson for JKPP

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7 responses

  1. When I first picked up with sketching after a long while I used a conte’ pencil, and worked only with values, no line. It was very useful for me. Because ultimately you need to worry about the value of colors when they are added, which I find to be a challenge.

    I like all of your explorations – your excitement is contagious! I especially like the last two drawings.

    February 20, 2011 at 1:01 am

    • Yes, that’s the word : ‘values’ in stead of ‘shadows en lights’. I feel a sort of crippled in english, but along the way I learned already a lot of words (among them: cherrypicker).

      Thanks for the commment.

      February 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm

  2. I’m really impressed with what you are doing. Thank you for sharing your process.

    February 20, 2011 at 4:06 am

  3. Love these sketches, and what a fun experiment! I wish I have the time to play like you did as well… this 12-hour day work of mine is really draining me and drawing me far away from what I love doing :(

    February 20, 2011 at 11:27 am

  4. You’re doing a wonderful job and I love watching your progress. Also, your English is most impressive! Keep up the great work. nancy

    February 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm

  5. Interesting thoughts and sketches!

    February 21, 2011 at 7:46 am

  6. That color portrait is fantastic! One thing I’ve been doing a lot lately is picking just two colors, mostly complements, and just using the two for the whole picture. It really helps you develop an idea for how the colors react with each other. It’s an easy way to introduce color without being overwhelmed.

    February 21, 2011 at 11:07 pm

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