2017.08.04. A Celtic fairy girl surrounded by glowing orbs, commissioned drawing. Drawn with Conte and Derwent pastel pencils on white Ampersand pastelbord, 11″ x 14″. Photo reference provided by commissioner.
This commission posed a particular challenge for me. I rarely draw people, and that was one challenge. I used a new method to make sure the anatomy and proportions were right: the grid method, which I have never used before. Also, I usually lay down color with a heavy hand. But this time, I lay down very light layers and blended them on the board, which worked out much better! I used an “underpainting” technique, where a light overall ground color is added first, then the highlights and shadows are added later. Doing this will help to eliminate white from showing through. For the background I used three different colors and used a soft painbrush to blend them into the sanded paper. The pixie wings needed to be somewhat translucent and yet iridescent, and I feel like I was able to pull this off ok. Drawing clothing was another challenge, for someone who usually draws animals! I had to study how light and shadows fell on clothing that had some folds in it, and tried to replicate that on the board with the pastels. And lastly, I needed to make sure the hair looked natural, this was achieved again by light layering of many different colors.