Tuesday, November 11, 2014


First - Thank You, Veterans!!

Now, on to "lighter" stuff.

Polar On!

Taking up a page in a Strathmore Toned Gray 5.5 in. x 8.5" sketchbook and stealing a pose from a real bear's image I start with a quick scribble with White Prismacolor pencil.

Just to see how the pencil plays with the paper. Sort of "slippery" and sliding on the "medium" tooth of this surface. Not as catchy as I'd hoped, but, what the heck, let's move forward.

Staying with white pencil I blocked in shape of bear. No real thought of real finished drawing. Trying to channel polar bear. Trying to channel polar bear. These bears are large, lanky, fast, and heavily-furred. Drawing to convey bulk and weight. And design. Polar bears are very well designed for their environment. Dense, yet Streamlined. Ears lie very close to head; not the large furry loops seen on black bears. Scribble scribble.

 Now, playing with adding bulk, shape, and a bit of shading. Because I seldom want to convey my bears as realistic beings I am more concerned with getting a spirit in the piece rather than making an exactly anatomically correct drawing. These bears aren't really loose collections of bones twirling in  white fur bags - but I sort of like to think they could be. On to some color!

A little bit of this. A little bit of that. Playing with graphite pencil; Violet, Cool Grey 30%, Lemon Yellow, Olive Green, Poppy Red, Crimson Red, Coral (Prismacolor). Playing playing. Working to get sense of Warm Sun playing across right side of head and most of body. Changing shape of mouth from source image. This is one Calm but Happy Basking Bear. Scribble scribble. Starting to see where the yellow will go. Starting toward making bear's form more solid. Slippery layer upon layer upon layer.

Adding Black to the mix, and fun with Derwent Metallic pencils - Yellow and Purple. And. gasp!, Crayola Sky Blue. Why Crayola? Because it was the first medium blue my fingers touched while searching through pencil bag. (In addition to the pencils stored in the beautiful cloth pencil holder our daughter stitched up I have a few stashes of pencils kept in gallon-sized plastic bags. And two small stashes of really short pencils in old Altoid boxes. (Focus, Susan - back to main topic!)

More layering and pondering. A touch here a wonder there. Knowing that head isn't drawn EXACTLY correctly, but practicing not caring too much. Layer Layer Layer. Longer strokes. Shorter strokes. Experimenting with subtle areas. A few darker marks to lips, eyes, and ears. Lots more Yellow. Lots more White. More shorter strokes. Think "Thicker Fur. Thicker Fur." Trying to decide what my mission is which this bear. Words and sentences come to mind, but I do not add them to the drawing. Hmm. And didn't write them on a scrap of paper or in a notebook. This was probably a mistake. Always try to have a blank piece of paper nearby incase THE Idea strikes. I know that three or four useable sentences floated in and out of the brain. Bye bye, Ideas. But if you care to come back, well, this time I've got paper.

Here is what I decided was the finished bruin:

And, as with so many of my sentences, the above is a lie. Now this "final" photograph shows clear areas that can be improved. And they will be. but not right now. The day holds many other tasks. But this was Fun And Educational to me. And I hope that you learned something, too!

Here be Pencils (sorry, you few that got left out):


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susanjs said...

I love his face!! Keep going!

Sue Bear said...

Thanks! I think he's "done." now. You never really know!