Nigel, the Brown pelican – Part 1

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… Nah, it’s just a brown pelican named Nigel.

In my last post, I talked about some goals I had and one of them was to finish artwork I started last year (and the year before, and the year before that, and so on).  Well, the brown pelican will be the first colored pencil that I should get done.  This is the first of two posts that I will write about the progression of this bird illustration.

Six months ago, I started adding color to the brown pelican drawing I did last year at this time.  And yes, I have decided to name this pelican — he shall be called Nigel (of Finding Nemo fame).  Nigel resides in the Field Museum’s North American Bird Hall exhibit (photo below).  I decided to use the same pencils I used on the Snowy Owl; Derwent colored drawing pencils which are a non-wax based pencil with a smooth, creamy texture (read aloud sultry commercial voice, LOL).  Although, some people thought I was crazy for using something that only has 24 colors in it’s color range, I found it to be very calming knowing I didn’t have to search for the perfect colors.  I was able to just use the 24 I had and mix them to get the tones of what the snowy owl showed on the mount.

Okay, enough of that.  Back to Nigel, the little brown pelican.  I started with the outline.  I used an aqua green colored matte board as my ground.  I have come to love working on matte board and have also found that I can seek out matte board scraps at any art, craft, or hobby shops framing department.  More likely it’s just an unhealthy relationship with matte board that I crave when I go to these stores.  But back to the matte board.  I like the durability of it the most; it stands up to erasing, is hard to bend and just looks really nice.  For any dark colored board or paper, I use a white pencil and this drawing was no exception.  So, now the best thing I did was just to start the sketch, then I moved onto my regular routine of “measuring, crawling, measuring, crawling” to get the portrait just right.

Drawing the brown pelican in the exhibit with the pelican mount.

Drawing the brown pelican in the exhibit with the pelican mount.

Yes, that is a six inch pink dinosaur ruler I use to line out my drawing.

Once I finished the outline, I started adding color.  I am using that same color range of 24 colored pencils which is a limited palette but I like the challenge of layering the colors to achieve the final result.  I started with a thin, light layer of color over almost the whole sketch.  I like to look for colors that you would not naturally see within the subject for that reflective effect when more colors are added on top.  This is what the underlying layer is used for in all my illustrations; those unusual colors that you may not see in the object become incorporated into the picture to not only enhance what you see but create that visual life-like feel to the animal.

The part that I like the best is detail.  DETAIL, DETAIL, DETAIL! SAY IT WITH ME: I love doing detail work! Details sum up everything that I have done so far into the finite finishings that will make the piece worthwhile in all my effort.  😉

So, with this glorifying statement of how I LOVE doing detail work, Nigel has become one of my favorite birds to work on.  I started the detail by slowly adding more color to fill in the shaded and lighter areas of the pelican.  For any other piece, I would normally work over the whole thing during this process.  However, the elongated dimensions of the pelican make it a bit daunting so I decided to start at the top and work my way down.  I cannot stress enough, the detail is always the best part because this is where the drawing and underlying colors come together.

IMG_20141018_134140248

Detail started on the head and beak.

So, I will leave you now until I finish the piece within the next month.  I hope you all enjoyed this post and also learned a little something about the drawing process (and how much I LOVE detail work, LOL).  Until next time, CHEERS!

Coming in Part 2:  How on earth does Nigel the brown pelican look so realistic?  It’s all about the proportions, color and DETAIL!  Stay tuned.

Throwback Thursday – #2

image

This is one of the reasons why I love to draw things from nature. Some living organisms trust humans to do the right things. After saving him from getting stepped on, I carried him to an area with lots of tree cover and placed him safely on one of the trees. His camouflage was excellent.

image

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone in cyber world!  I am back with plenty of ideas, some new artwork started and lots of good things to write about.

If you are someone who makes resolutions then I have some good ones to share with you.  More like self improvements for me to accomplish so I can have a more full and satisfied art career and life in general.  So here is what I came up with:

IMG_20150109_223417

As these are more about self fulfillment, the 2015 GOALS are a bit different.  They are directly intertwined with my art life.  They are also small goals (for me) in comparison to years past.  I already have number 4 checked off the list.  Started the Instagram account last night, YEAH baby!  So here are my goals for the year:

IMG_20150109_223613

If any of you have resolutions or goals planned for this year, keep your chin up and held high.  You may not be able to get them all done but it’s trying that counts.

See you all later and keep your eyes open for new posts.

 

Throwback Thursday – #1

This is from the year 2000 when I was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The second stipple I ever did in pen and ink.

Beetle, ink stipple on vellum, 11×17.

Beetle, ink stipple on vellum, 11x17. Copyright Rebe Banasiak, The Brush Hilt and Banasiak Art Gallery.

Beetle, ink stipple on vellum, 11×17. Copyright Rebe Banasiak, The Brush Hilt and Banasiak Art Gallery.