Grevillea 5 – Anatomy of the drawing Part 1

Grevillia 5

Grevillia 5

This is the current drawing that I am working on, and as I always find it fascinating to see how others go about constructing their paintings I thought I would show you how I work.

The Photograph

Australian Garden

Grevillea Australian Garden Nov 2011

Most of the time I work off photos that I have taken.  I am not a good photographer and a lot of my photos are taken with the iPhone, but as I am not a botanically correct artist, I don’t require the level of detail that they do.  I am looking for interesting shapes and colours.  I will take a lot of photos of the flower and then play around cropping it until I get a composition I like.  Some times I will join together a couple of bits to get what I want and other times it works in the photo like this one did.

Cropped photo

Cropped photo

The Sketch

I then do a rough sketch on thin paper and get an idea of the shapes and composition of the painting. I like to take particular care on the shapes and the curves of the plants so that painting will have lyrical lines and the shapes are pleasing and give the feeling of the flower that I want to convey.  I also like to show people parts of the flower that they might not take the time to see.

Sketch Ready to transfer to good paper

Rough Sketch

Transferring the Image and Inking up

Once I am happy with the image I will transfer it onto my thicker good quality rag paper.  I like to use heavy paper around 300gsm.  Mostly because I enjoy the feel of this heavier paper and because it handles the paint and doesn’t buckle.  I use the highly technical method of holding the two pieces of paper up onto the window and tracing the back image onto the front.  Once the image is transferred and touched up I usually ink it.  I find if I leave the HB pencil lines they often bleed into the paint and colour pencil work, dulling and changing the colours.

Inking in outline

Inking in outline

Under Painting

I like to under paint my colour pencil work, it gives it more intensity and makes the pencil work quicker, which is helpful in the size of work that I undertake.  Most of my paintings are either A1 or A2 size.  It also gives me a chance to check on the colours to see if they are working and if the overall composition is ok, before I embark on the colour pencil shading.

Under Painting

Under Painting

Shading with Colour Pencils

Now the part I like best, but also the most time-consuming part, shading with the coloured pencils.  I really enjoy taking these flat objects and making them into living moving flowers, bringing out the lovely shapes and colour, it is a little bit of magic.

But this is where I am up to at the present so you will have to wait until I finish before I can show you the last step and how this painting will turn out.


14 responses to “Grevillea 5 – Anatomy of the drawing Part 1

  1. Thank you, that was so good hearing a step by step. I’m like you and love hearing that stuff and how others do it.

    • I was spending some time over the holidays reading blogs and thinking about what I liked reading about and incorporating some of that into my blog. I like to know about the process and person behind the art, so I want to write about these things more.

  2. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Karen, it is very interesting to hear and see what goes into one of your paintings. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Seeing process is so interesting. This will be a beautiful painting, very strong. Something I like to do is make loose drawings from the reference material, deliberately not being too accurate, then redrawing and refining, letting the imagery take over a bit. The results can sometimes end up a long way from the initial reference!

    • Thanks Anna, I am often too impatient to start on a painting, and don’t take enough time to work through the composition like you described. But I am interested in pushing the drawings a bit further so will be doing some experimenting soon. There is always so much to learn and try. Karen

  5. I’d like to know which blogs you like to read. Have you considered adding a blogroll to your site? Daily Post had a post a couple of weeks ago on how to do it.

    • Hi Ruth, there are a lot of blogs that I read, but not so many that I follow. It has not been easy to find artists blogs that have work that I connect with and share about their process and creative life, not just post pictures of their work. It makes it so rewarding when I do, though. (Oh my, I just checked out your blog and you have me on your blogs that you follow, you do me much honour thank you.) I will have to consider this, as I find it interesting to follow those links on other peoples blogs. Mmm food for thought and more technology to master. Karen

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