Switching it up

My go-to artist materials are watercolor and ink, so I enjoyed switching it up this week by using colored pencils. I started with pears during an artist’s “Sip & Draw” with master botanical illustrator Wendy Hollender. Wendy often starts with a single colored pencil to develop the basic form and values and then applies layers of watercolor and colored pencil to further develop her subjects. You can see some of this process below, where I left some leaves and pears unfinished (click to view larger).

In this second piece, I used a single burnt sienna colored pencil for the entire nest. I started with the inner part of the nest to develop the darkest values and worked my way outward to build the form. I like the ghostly quality that came from blowing out some of the lightest tones.

Tips and Techniques– If you are feeling stuck or looking to expand your repertoire of techniques, try a new artist medium. It may broaden your thinking and your skill set or give you new ideas to incorporate into your artwork.

28 Comments on “Switching it up

  1. So beautiful Jean! This was regular colored pencil and not watercolor pencils? Did you draw lightly underneath and add watercolor on top? I was just wondering about the waxy colored pencil resisting the watercolor. Love this technique and a big thanks to you for sharing so much info on your blog.

    • Hi Rhonda- This was regular (not watercolor) pencil underneath and it was not lightly applied. The pencil was done to define the values and the watercolor sort of smoothed things over. I don’t have enough experience with it, but you are definitely altering the paper with the pencil. Still, I was surprised that the watercolor dried on top in interesting ways. You could use watercolor pencil instead, but then you alter the bottom layer, so it would give you a different effect. Worth trying.

  2. This is so beautiful Jean. I adore Wendy’s work and her botanical art technique. If we hadn’t recently moved from Pennsylvania to Florida I would have joined this workshop. Thank you for sharing this!

    Dorothy Person

  3. I love Wendy Hollander. I wish I could have been at that sip and sketch (sigh). The nest you drew is outstanding. You really get the ethereal quality. The pears are beautiful as well.

  4. Wow!! I love how you combined color pencil with watercolor. I have done this before and liked the outcome. I am not familiar with Wendy – does she teach online classes?
    Did you use real pears as subjects for your drawings? Really like the color variations you got. 😊

  5. I love your pear studies and it’s interesting to see some left unfinished so we can get an idea of the process involved…

  6. Really beautiful! I’m a Big chicken when it comes to using reg colored pencils. Maybe one day I’ll try it. Love your subject too. Thanx for the tips.

  7. Thank you Jean. It is a great pleasure to receive your emails. Your work is beautiful. And your tips & suggestions help to get me going. Thank you!!!!

  8. These are just stunning Jean. You have such a light touch. I don’t know if it is the qualities of the pencils or just your skill, but the pears have such an inner glow. Using coloured pencils for monochrome works is lovely too, the brown you have used just gives something else to the nest drawing.

  9. I don’t know how you do it, Jean, but it’s wonderful, the life that breathes through these, while at the same time, they’re as accurate as one could want them to be.

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