Hello again readers, I thought I’d let you have a peek at the commission which got in the way of my little bee and left it sitting wet but as yet unfinished on its wet flower.
This was somebody’s much loved pet until he sadly and suddenly passed away after a brief illness. There is always just the extra bit of pressure in jobs where the subject is no longer alive, to get it exactly and absolutely right to do justice to their memory. And, of course, there is a limited supply of photographs, which can be a bit of a problem at times if they lack sufficient quality for drawing.
This was not the case with this one though, there were a number of excellent pictures to choose from, supplied digitally, which I like as I can easily manipulate and enlarge them as needed.
I decided to jump into the deep end for once. You see, I usually use a large scale grid system to transfer the outline and major features from the photograph to my paper. The reference photograph would usually be divided into sixteen squares or rectangles which would then be enlarged or reduced to the appropriate size to fit the subject on to the selected paper. A lot of artists who use this system will work with a much finer grid to make the transfer easier and more accurate, but personally I found having to get rid of or hide so many lines in my drawing to be too annoying to bother. For the same reason I don’t draw a full grid on my paper, either, but I simply mark the points where the lines cross with dots. I can live with having to make them disappear.
Well, to cut a long story short, I did not use a grid in this drawing. A bit of a personal challenge, really, as when you use grids all the time you come to rely on them and I wanted to ensure I was actually able to do without. Turns out I found the procedure incredibly stress free and I think I even got the proportions right, too.
The other thing I did differently from usual was to use a wider range of pencils instead of my trusted 2B mechanical pencil. Now that was a challenge and I have yet to get to grips with this. I love the ability to achieve better contrasts and dark shades by using the very soft pencils, but found the softest of them, the 8B, to have a different, very matte, appearance compared to the rest. I am not sure I like mixing matte and shiny.
I was not particularly experimental with the paper, with it being a commission, it is a heavy weight Daler Rowney (220g/m²) drawing paper, so other than that it is heavier than what I normally use, it has a similar tooth to it. This became quite apparent during the drawing process but it didn’t present much of a problem.
All in all I am chuffed with the way this turned out and so is the client I am pleased to report. I hope you like it, too.