Drawing in colour & toned paper

Well, I got the William Maughan book – Drawing the head – (right two heads below are copies from the book)

it's excellent, but is a specific method (2 colour pastel pencils = white and sanguine (caput martuum, in fact)) on toned paper (mid grey – strathmore velvet grey).

I also decided to try to further benefit from the Rob Liberace DVD – The portrait in 3 color chalk – by drawing along with him. Again it's a specific procedure – 3 colours of verithin pencils (sanguine (terra cotta, in fact), white and black) on a toned paper (watercolour – e.g. yellow ochre + shellac coat for a more 'toothy' surface). Here's my version of/from Rob Liberace's video tut.

The Prud'hon copies I was doing earlier are black and white chalk (chalk = pastel sticks or pastel pencils) on, according to Rebecca Alsofon's great Prud'hon tutorial, blue paper from 2 particular manufacturers.

My poor copy of part of a Prud'hon drawing

It seems to me that, at present, I prefer to draw with those solid graphite type 'pencils', preferably 6B (I don't know what you call them – leads? sticks?). Coming from painting and the use of a brush as I do, the fact that you can layer in tone and mass with them really suits me – I guess what I really love to use is charcoal – but I have a problem with the fact that it's hard to get fine lines with it and its messiness... ... I think that for people who know what they're doing (e.g. Scott Burdick, Susuan Lyon), it must be the king of drawing media.

Back to the toned paper – it occurs to me that rather than having to order special papers you could just as easily tone the paper with a pastel rub-in (I mean, if you're going to use colour in drawing, pastels are the obvious thing to use) or a water colour wash à la Liberace (you can even erase through to the white of paper as water colour lifts off – one reason for not replacing it with acrylic. Hmm, must get me some shellac.

PS If you don't know him, I suggest a visit to Adebanji's blog


  1. Very good drawings.

    The female torso is interesting placement ... the navel is slightly above and left of center (I always pay attention to what is in the bulls eye center) ... and the repeat of the "V" shape is interesting repetition. You cleverly added variety...to the negative spaces.

    The bottom pencil drawing is also very nice in the expression of the eyes. I often think ... "what would I do at this point...and I think I might be tempted to increase the darkness of abstract shapes to add a heightening of drama a bit .... but really it is very nice as it is.

    Very nice work Jon...

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Patti, remember they're copies - so I can't claim much at all - except the deviation from the original - it makes you appreciate how subtle the masters' hands are when you realize you can't get nearer - even just copying!!