Left: Sketch of a Mandrill (a species of Baboon found in Western Africa). 11 x 14 inch Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media hardcover journal. Background pre-painted with sepia and English Red acrylics. Sketched with Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. Color: NeoColorII (wet and dry) and gouache (the white muzzle and other areas). The paper bent a little after the initial background washes and I didn't get it flat on the scanner (I had to scan it in two parts) so you can see the paper bends causing shadow. The outer area was masked with Nichiban masking tape when I painted the background, and left in place until I finished painting the portrait. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
When I come home after teaching an evening class I know that I'm not going to be able to go to sleep right away. I'm still wired up from the questions the students asked. I'm thinking of new assignments I can give them to help them understand first hand the answers to their questions. And finally, because I've been saving my eyes in case I needed to demonstrate in class, I'm anxious to draw.
A while back I came home from a color theory class where the students had shared projects and discussed their process—all had done a great job. One woman still had some questions about white and how white took on the color of other things next to it, reflected onto it, and the quality of light around it.
Left: Detail from the opening image. I blended color on the muzzle and the magenta area down to the nose, with my fingers, but I also added a little bit of titanium white from the tube. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
I sat down to have a piece of fruit and watch a little TV and in moments there was a lovely Mandrill on the screen so of course I had to sketch it. It made me think of all the things we had just been discussing.
Because the snout of this animal is actually quite red I used my cool and warm reds to help with a little bit of recession. I had fun using my blues and oranges in stead of blacks. When I worked on the white part of the muzzle I thought about the vibrancy of white in such a situation and let my choices reflect (really no pun intended) my desire to make it a colorful white.
I elected to use white gouache on the muzzle because I wanted to quickly cover the area, but I used other colors in stick form, or dragged on by my smudge-covered fingers, to give a sense of texture to the that part of the face.
When you click on the detail image you can see the strokes in the white gouache. You can also see how the movement of my fingers as they dragged color onto the white, deposited color in the texture of the strokes. Sometimes I think it's more fun to view these sketches microscopically than at real size.
For me evenings like this are great fun because I get to think over what I have been telling students and think about how I might enhance that telling in the future. It's a good way to unwind.