Three stages of a drawing

Initial 20 minute set-up

I took some photos of a beautiful native Nikau palm while walking last week, which I felt compelled to draw as the bulb was large and particularly colourful. I needed a break from my writing, and the time to let new ideas gel, so I started the initial sketch yesterday and finished it today. Sometimes I wonder why I write or draw, as it often more difficult that first envisaged, or let’s just say, either art form can be hard work when in progress, but feels great when done. Similarly with the novel. You get an idea, sketch it out and keep going until the work’s finished. It’s just the tools which differ. The tools I used for this sketch are: artist-quality polychromos pencils. The colours: Apple green, permanent green, chrome oxide green, lemon cadmium, dark sepia, brown ochre, van dyke brown, Indian red, sky blue, and light grey.

Second stage of sketch

Here, I began to build up the contrast between light and dark, then added more colour. There is always the decision of what to put in, or what to leave out when preparing a sketch. I believe I overdid the intensity of dark around the bulb of the palm, but there is no way to completely eradicate such heavy marks with the eraser. I decided here also to just have a hint of blue for the sky, and not add the buildings which were in the photo on the right. I always look at the shape/s in front of me and sketch my lines accordingly. ‘If it is round, draw around’ is my motto.

Third and final stage

At this final stage I am developing the texture, and observing the image closely. I layered the various greens, using the citron yellow for the highlights. I could have added more fronds, but they were almost black in the photo, and I thought it would detract from the focus on the front palm if I made the background too dark. I added a few more rings on the trunks but kept the line light deliberately. I like to leave some unfinished bits, which I think off-sets the finished areas.

I hope you like the native New Zealand Nikau as much as I do.

13 thoughts on “Three stages of a drawing

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