experiments in pencil

So I don't normally use just colored pencil. I've had a box of Crayolas sitting in my desk drawer forever, and they've been relegated, for the most part, to the foundations of water media pieces. A long time ago, like back in middle school (which was over a decade ago, giving you an idea of how infrequently these things were used), I think they were used to flatly color in some bullshit faux-anime-style fantasy characters. Yeah. We're not getting into that. 

But I saw some colored pencil work online, namely this piece by a deviantART buddy (which is like, way, way more accomplished than mine here), and started to get interested. It helped that the figure pictured looks like Boyfriend. 

So what I've found after working with pencils is that they're just like watercolors! Just without the water. This is because with both media, you start with the lightest colors and build up to the darkest, with the paper itself serving as your white. It's basically the opposite of oils, where white and light colors are added last, as highlights. You can do that because oils are opaque, while pencils and watercolors are transparent. Make sense? Good. 

(Full disclosure: I cheat at water media by using white gouache for highlights, which is opaque. I can't help it. I'm an oil-painter at heart.)

The other thing is that I've been working on leftover scraps of Arches watercolor paper, which is wonderful for water media, but a bit rough for pencil, making it hard to get very fine detail. I'd like to try out a smoother paper and see what happens. I don't dislike the roughness, but I think I could get more out of a picture on a smoother surface. I have two other pencil pieces, but they were purely experimental and frankly kind of suck, so I'm not going to show them.

So yeah, I decided that for this piece I'd use my fallback subject of Boyfriend/Beast Boy and all his teeth. Yes, the size of his mouth and teeth are exaggerated for effect. But it's more about capturing the murderous rage personality. I've also been really into eyeballs lately, and capturing the correct shine. I've yet to hone the wet-shine look with pencils, as I'm used to just glopping on some white pigment.

Isn't he cute?