Neptune and Working on Toned Paper

Here, I will try to get into my process a bit more for those readers who want to explore my techniques in their own work. I usually start off with a general idea of what I want to draw, with the exception of a few drawings that just explode onto the page. With this piece in particular, I was inspired by a profile I follow on Instagram; @SketchDailies. The page is awesome. They just post random images to inspire the artists that follow; at least that’s what I get from it. The topic was Poseidon. Usually, the God of the Sea is depicted as a human of some kind, usually with a trident… I hate drawing what has been drawn before. I decided to go with a more believable inhabitant of an underwater kingdom. I usually start off with a very, very light line drawing, done with the graphite pencil dancing on its side ( I sharpen my pencils with an Xacto blade to about a half inch exposed lead.) Studying at the Academy of Art has this tip hammered into my brain; don’t focus on the details in the beginning stages of a drawing. So drawing with the pencil sideways lets you more easily be able to draw in vague generalizations.


After I establish the idea, I darken parts of the outline. I only darken the outline in the foreground and where there is shadow. Then, I bust out the equally-sharpened white charcoal pencil. For me, this is where the fun starts. I usually point my actual light source in the direction I want the light source to be in the drawing. I then draw in my strongest highlights (eyes, shiny material, subcutaneous points, jewelry, etc.) I always keep in mind what is in the foreground and only use my white charcoal pencil there. Notice in this stage, I don’t draw in any highlights on the arm nor on the trident. I also keep in mind not to go too heavy on any value just yet. I am still only laying down a foundation. Oh yea, and I lightly draw in my  cast shadows. Observe them under the finned armpit, teeth and the head.


Now, the final stage. This is usually where I have a hard time stopping myself and leaving the drawing with some of its original energy and vibrancy. Fortunately, this one was pushed up right to that edge. Here, I pretty much just push the values. I darken where I want it darker and add more white to where it may need it. It really, really helps to take breaks in between these three stages because I’ve found a lot of times I lose objectivity (God I hope I used that word right.) For example, I noticed there was something wrong with the arm and realized it lacked the cast shadow from the head. Duh, right? Anyway, the break also helped me figure out what I wanted to do with the trident. I added the gem and made the handle spiraled. As for the pattern, it’s like taking  girl’s virginity; go slow. I turn it with the form of what it’s on to help give the illusion that it’s on the skin rather than just a blob floating in space. Lastly, I add the eye color. I used to incorporate about 3 colors into the eye to give it depth, but lately I’ve just been using one and making it more of a solid opaque ball as opposed to translucent.


There is so much more that goes into my thought process, so I will try to fill in the gaps with future posts. But that’s all for now. Hope whoever reads this finds it useful.

Neptune and Working on Toned Paper

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