Cafe Wednesday – the hat

It only took one look to decide what the subject of this week’s drawing would be. Strong light was delineating the rather dashing hat being worn by a man at a nearby table.

25May2016

Magic pencils and white pencil on toned tan Strathmore paper

The light also cast a dramatic diagonal across his face.

Shades of grey

I’ve just finished working my way through my Strathmore Toned-Grey sketchbook, some 50 pages, most of which both back and front have been drawn on with coloured pencils. I’ve used coloured pencils since childhood, but as an adult I’m discovering these materials anew.

Unlike watercolours it’s hard to satisfactorily mix new colours using pencils. I wished I had a range of more subtle colours on many occasions. So my recent pencil buys have been of greys and neutrals, colours which are not strongly represented in the pencil box.

From left to right are: Green Ochre, Sandbar Brown, Slate Grey, 50% Cool Grey, 30% Cool Grey and 20% Cool Grey. On the right hand side of the pictures are the Sky Blue Light and White which I’ve been using for some time, but which fit also into this colour range.

New pencils, ohh goody!

New pencils, ohh goody!

I’ve drawn them onto Strathmore Toned Tan paper below. I had started using them in my previous sketchbook but I don’t have any spare pages to show them on the Toned Grey paper.

I already find these colours incredibly useful additions to my palette. Having now swapped to the Toned Tan sketchbook I’ll be interested to see how they go on the warmer background.

test colours on toned-tan paper, greys and neutrals

test colours on toned-tan paper, greys and neutrals

And just because I can , I’ve forced myself to buy even more watercolours that I’ve seen written about by several artists whose work inspires me. All the colours are from the Daniel Smith company.

These paints have been tried out on watercolour paper with a medium tooth. I love the granulation of the Lunar Black and I think the Buff Titanium is the sort of colour I’ve been after for some time. The Perylene green is for my partner who was after something dark for shadows in vegetation and the Mayan Blue is just because I like it.

Testing new watercolours

Testing new watercolours

Getting the ‘lead’ out

I’ve been using my Koh-i-noor Magic Pencils as my main sketching material for a few weeks now. Apart from being caught up in the sheer fun of multicoloured pencils that would be the envy of any pencil case, I find that they are ‘magic’ in other ways as well.

Koh-i-noor Magic coloured pencils

Koh-i-noor Magic coloured pencils

 

Koh-i-noor Magic Pencils

Koh-i-noor Magic Pencils

They are ‘magic’ because you can’t quite control where the colour will turn up.

Cafe drawings, Magic Pencils (America), with white chalk on the right hand side, on grey-toned Strathmore paper, 30 January 2016

Cafe drawings, Magic Pencils (America), with white chalk on the right hand side, on grey-toned Strathmore paper, 30 January 2016

They are ‘magic’ because they encourage me to play.

Two men, with multiple arms, Magic Pencils (Original, Fire and America), on grey-toned Strathmore paper, 13 February 2016

Two men, with multiple arms, Magic Pencils (Original and Fire, left; Original and America, right), on grey-toned Strathmore paper, 13 February 2016

They are ‘magic’ because they remind me to focus on the structure of my drawing – where is the light coming from? – not what colour is her t-shirt?

Woman and unfinished man, Magic Pencils (Fire and America, left; and Original, right), 13 February 2016

Woman and unfinished man, Magic Pencils (Fire and America, left; and Original, right), 13 February 2016

They are ‘magic’ because paying attention to the key elements of a subject is more important than ‘completing’ the picture.

Tatooed man, Magic Pencils (America, Fire and Tropical, 13 February 2016

Tatooed man, Magic Pencils (America, Fire and Tropical, 13 February 2016

They are ‘magic’ because they show me that drawing can be much so much more interesting than straightforward representation.