Saturday, 21 September 2013

Elephant No. 19: Graphitint Pencils

This morning I went to a demonstration of Derwent and Conté art materials, and received a fantastic set of Graphitint pencils as a present for attending. So of course I decided to use them for today's elephant.

This is a new kind of pencil for me. It's essentially a watercolour pencil made with tinted graphite. Because the base is graphite, the colours are somewhat moody, which I really liked when I played with them at the art store this morning.

I decided to draw a baby elephant today. For some reason, I rarely draw baby elephants, so I thought I should start adding them to my repertoire. This is the photograph I chose.


It occurred to me that the form of this little guy might be a bit challenging, but I liked the curled shape, so I figured I'd give it a try anyway. It was a lot easier than I expected, so I guess I should stop avoiding things that look hard to draw.

I began, as I often do, by doing a very faint pencil sketch with a regular pencil. Once the shape looked okay to me, I began adding some purple.

Since this was a watercolour medium, I took a small brush loaded with a light amount of water and went over all the lines and some of the shaded areas.

I added blue next, then green, again using water to disperse the pigment.

After this, I forgot to photograph each stage, but I added a bit of red (which I felt was a bit of a mistake), some lighter green, and black. I also added some of the lighter green to the background to suggest muddy water. I wasn't sold on that effect, either.

At this point, I didn't love the drawing. The red bothered me a bit, and I didn't like the lighter green. In an effort to tone things down a bit, I added grey over the red, and purple over most of the rest. Oddly enough, the purple was almost darker than the black in some areas.

Aside from my odd colour choices, I liked these pencils for a couple of reasons. The colours are more muted than Inktense or many other watercolour pencils. Adding grey or black to a colour is said to "sadden" it, and that holds true with the Graphitint pencils and their grey-black base.

The other thing I like for all watercolour pencils is that you can create washes and other paint-like effects, as well as sharp lines. This gives you a style that's somewhere between drawing and painting, which appeals to me.

Although I wasn't sold on my colour choices by the time I was finished, they're starting to grow on me. In fact, the colour palette reminds me a bit of illustrations by Edward Ardizzone, and that's not a bad thing at all.

Elephant Lore of the Day
Sometimes elephants just want to play. In a video posted in the online Daily Mail, a baby elephant tries his best to wake a sleeping dog.

Reaching through a wooden fence, the baby elephant pokes at the dog repeatedly, to no effect. It snuffles air at the dog, also to no effect. It even sucks up sand in its trunk and gently blows it over the dog's nose.

The dog remains asleep, waking only briefly when an unseen human hand tickles its ear with a long blade of grass.

According to the people behind the camera, the baby elephant eventually gave up, falling asleep with his head resting on the fence.

To Support Elephant Welfare
Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary (Thailand)
Wildlife SOS (India) 
The Elephant Sanctuary (Tennessee)

1 comment:

  1. Oh my Sheila, you really captured the soft essence of the little elephant here, & the appealing quirky colouring is lovely.