California, USA, Blu, dry media, 10 x 8" (25 x 20 cm)
My inspiration for any given piece is its natural beauty! I have always been infatuated with Nature and this piece was no different. With this subject, I was drawn to the fact that this toucan did not represent what most people think of when considering this type of bird. Specifically, its beak not having the array of colors we associate when picturing a toucan. Second, what stood out for me was all the wonderful blue around the eye and how that tied into the blue in the feet. Lastly, the Bokeh background occurring in the reference photo allowing the focus to be solely on the toucan and how this pulled the toucan more forward allowing for more definition and isolation among all the colors.
My Design Strategy
Before beginning I spent a great deal of time considering my colors. Colored pencil painting can be a timeconsuming process due to the need for layering to achieve a certain level of detail as well as values and hues. I also layer to burnish/mix the colors to achieve a smooth painted finish. Blu, Initially, I break the main subject up into pieces working lighter areas first (the head and upper chest). In the case with the black feathers, I choose light colors to layer first, so they could show through the darker strokes. This process provided the ability to reflect feather direction and definition. Beginning with the lighter base allowed for easier application of the blues and greens for the iridescent glow on the back.
My Working Process
Initially, my goal is to get the image on paper, so I will consider my timeframe. If limited time, I will transfer an image otherwise I freehand sketch. For Blu, I sketched the main parts, which included the stem, bird and the large branch in the top left corner. Once outlined, I began the application of color layering in the same order. The background was completed in pieces afterward. I’m fastidious about achieving certain color results and will go over my work with more layers until satisfied. Still experimenting will different surfaces to find the ones that will endure my level of punishment to achieve the desired results. Upon satisfaction, I apply the final step of spraying the completed piece with fixative for preservation.
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