What I am doing while the Coronavirus spreading and scaring us all is working on new drawings. I started and finished this colored pencil drawing within two weeks, however the idea as been percolating in my thoughts for about two months. I have been working on some new drawings with stacked tea cups as my subject matter (I will post the others later) and wanted to create a drawing with dots reflected from the surface onto the cups. I wanted to achieve a design with brightly colored cups against a dark background.
My reference photo is the last photo, I couldn't find a dotted paper for the tea cups to sit upon so I created my own in Adobe Photoshop, printed them out and taped the sheets together to form the surface. The next step was to place the tea cups in order to achieve interesting reflections on the cups themselves. I moved them around and pulled down window shades so less light was reflected onto the shiny surfaces of the cups. I took many photos and later chose the one I liked best.
I chose UArt 800 grit sanded pastel paper for the surface. This paper holds many layers of pencils and builds brilliant color quickly. It also smudges easily, you can see the marks on the paper below. I used Faber Castell Polychromos colored pencils for the first layer of color. Polychromos are an oil based pencil and keep a harder point than some of the waxier brands. They are perfect for this sanded surface and for burnishing the color into the paper with a bristle brush in order to create a solid surface of color. I continued with Polychromos for subsequent layers but also used Caran d'Ache Pablo and Prismacolor colored pencils if I needed other colors I didn't have in the Polychromos box. Pablo pencils are also oil based and keep a harder point, Prismacolor are wax based and softer so they are better for top layers of color.
I spray the drawing in between layers with workable fixative to keep the color in place.
To create the solid background, I used a Staedtler Karat Aquarelle black watercolor pencil. I loosely and lightly apply the strokes to the surface without worrying about putting them on evenly. I keep the layer light because when I add water with a brush, it becomes a vibrant black (the surface behind the cups). Add just enough water to dissolve and move the pencil around, try to keep it as evenly toned as possible.
I have a solid black surface and after it dries I will add lighter colors that will give me a variation in colors and tones for my background because I don't want it to remain a solid black that will overpower my tea cups. I used three colors predominantly for the background: Polychromos Caput Mortuum, Pablo Greenish Black and Pablo Dark Gray. I spray with workable fixative.
I work on my light colors last because of all the pencil dust that moves around. I add my white dots and punch up all the light colors just before the drawing is finished.
I am excited about this piece! Maybe I should create a series!
Below is my reference photo I took from my still life set up: