4.2 coloured pencil tondos

The scenes I chose were my painting materials, a bookshelf and a jumble of shoes.  Coloured pencil can be quite a slow medium to draw with, taking time to build up layers and blend colours, so I chose a fairly small format for all three, a 14×22 cm oval, drawn around a kitchen dish, on Arches fine grain cold pressed watercolour paper.  This gave me a bit of tooth to help with the layers.

Paints and brushes 

The viewpoint is from above, with some quite dynamic diagonals and vertical perspective.  After applying some masking fluid to preserve highlights, my first layers were loose watercolour washes, laying in pale tints of local colours.  My aim was then to build up colours and tones with coloured pencils, and to really try to depict textures.  I think the brushes are fairly successful, in this respect, especially the central mop brush.  Despite the highlights the watercolour pans don’t glisten as they should.  If I did this drawing again I’d try to create more depth, to make the paintboxes recede more, and really bring the focus on to the brushes which are reaching up to the viewer.  The work can be viewed any way up, but I prefer it with the large round brush head at the top, as this orientation seems to put the focus on the brushes generally.  The intense colours seem to work well with the black background.



Done in coloured pencil without underlying washes, there’s a lot I like about this drawing; the patterned marble floor comes across well without being intrusive; the gradual building up of tone in the red shoes creates a 3d appearance; there is some nice detail in the white sandles.  The dark sole of the green shoe looks a bit flat and dingy, and doesn’t seem to integrate all that well.  A black background seemed to drown our the more delicate colour of this piece; white complements the drawing and seems more restful.


This is made using watercolour pencils.  In some areas I’ve left the pencil marks visible and in others I’ve applied water to convert them into washes.  The dark areas of shadow were built up gradually (apart from the markings on the cat-bookend I avoided using black).  The black background works well; it seems to enhance the bright, warm colours of the drawing.


I enjoyed making these oval compositions.  The format seems to create a feeling of containment and intimacy, like a vignette.


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