The humble pencil shows up in the most “everyday” places; crammed into school desks and forgotten locker corners, in office drawers and underneath the living room couch. Likewise the plain ballpoint pen, stacked in boxes on the store shelves, a “dime a dozen.” In contrast to the glossy bottles of Artists’ paint, carefully packaged sticks of pastel or individually slotted tubes of watercolor (for example), that are generally only found in certain stores, the aforesaid mentioned pencil and pen seem very common, indeed.
Browsing an art store is a little like walking into a candy shop; the choices are (usually) many and everything seems applicable and desirable. There the comparison ends, though…it isn’t likely that you’d have to pay over fifty dollars for a few cartons of jellybeans, but four small tubes of paint will easily run you up that amount. Factor in specialty paper, specialty paints, specialty paintbrushes – well, the proverbial wallet is definitely much lighter on the way out than in.
I do love the possibility of art stores, though. I love paints, and specialty papers, and beautiful paintbrushes, and new sticks of soft pastel, and…
But, I began to consider what other materials/ mediums could be used to great effect; in other words, I began to consider thinking outside of the “official art mediums” box.
I’ve done some exploring; I’ve discovered that 1/4″ panel is a lovely surface to work on. The downside is that it does need to be cut to size with workshop tools. I’ve fallen in love with the effect of tissue paper (both the runny nose and the gift box kind) with glue. I’ve been inducted into the joys of candy wrappers.
Most lately I began to wonder whether I could combine four very humble implements – the mechanical pencil, the ballpoint pen, the pencil crayon and the felt marker – and use them to create a piece that would still be sophisticated, beautiful, detailed, nuanced and desirable, despite the commonplace nature of the tools involved.
First came the pencil outline.
Then the eyes, in a combination of pencil crayon, ballpoint pen and felt marker.
Then the base layer of dark (black) hair in black ballpoint pen.
Followed by the base layer of darker-tinted hair (and glints) with progressively darker brown hues.
Oranges, yellows and more browns were inter-layered. A second layer of black hairs was laid with black pencil crayon.
Darker areas, including some shadow, are laid in with additional layers of pencil crayon, as well as felt marker.
The white hair was the hardest to do; shadows and light are a difficult thing to balance when it comes to white, regardless of the medium…
Here’s a close-up:
Adding more warm tones…
Another close-up, although not quite as close this time.
A bit more shadow here and there…
Here is the finished piece. Do you think I managed my goal?