Saturday, 12 October 2013

Elephant No. 40: Pastel Pencils

For today's elephant, I decided to try a medium I don't really love: pastel pencils. The last time I tried to draw with these, it was a sort of wispy, pale drawing that didn't much appeal to me. Today I thought I'd try to go bolder, to see if that made a difference.

I decided to draw from this cheerful little photograph.

Baby African elephant.

I used an 8 x 10-inch (20.3 x 25.4 cm) piece of heavy paper made for acrylic paint. I probably should have gone with something less expensive, but it's what was handy in a size I liked.

I began by sketching the outline with a pink pastel pencil.

Next I added some blue for shadows, as this little guy seemed to be mostly pinks and blues. I hadn't decided yet whether I was going to draw him in a realistic way, or with lots of colours, but I was leaning towards lots of colours.

After this, I filled him in with every colour in the box of pastel pencils, including two purples and an extra green that didn't come in the set. I also used white and black, and did lots of smudging with my fingers.

I wasn't particularly happy with how muddy it started to look, so I took a kneadable eraser and began removing colour from the areas that are white on the original photo.

I also went back in and added sharper lines with a dark red pastel pencil, black and dark purple.

I'm not sure what I think of this final drawing. In some ways I like it, but it's neither as bold as I'd like, nor as realistic as I'd like. However, I did learn a lot about how to use them, which may stand me in good stead the next time I decide to try something like this—although I still can't say that pastel pencils are my favourite medium.

By the way, I'm going to take a short break from daily art production to give me time to catch up on other things, but I'll be back soon. In the meantime, I'll either be posting some of my favourite entries from the original Elephant a Day blog, or profiling the work of others.

Elephant Lore of the Day
Anybody who's looked after a tired toddler knows how completely they can conk out. The same is true of baby elephants. In this clip sent to me by my friend Sylvie Morel, a young elephant calf sleeps on top of its mother's food.

No matter how much the mother pulls at her food, the baby continues to sleep. It isn't until the mother yanks the entire bundle of grass away that the baby finally rouses itself.

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

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

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