Exercise Drawing with other colour media

Aims of exercise: To experiment with mixing media while making some drawings of the same subject as in the drawing for the previous exercise. Reflect on how the task changes with the different media, on how they work together and how does the change in media affect the style and outcome of the drawing.

What I experienced and what I learnt from that:

Completed 11/10/12. Having drawn very tightly in the last exercise I was determined to try and work much looser for this one and to just enjoy trying out the different media. I think that I achieved my goal and I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise. I drew some Lilies, as previously, but also tried some Gerberas as somebody had kindly given me some.

Figure 1
Lily, metallic and stardust Gelly roll pens with waterbrush

For the first drawing I just aimed to relax and started simple, A4 sketchbook p.94 (please see figure 1, photo taken in electric light to show the metallic effect). I experimented with Gellyroll metallic and stardust gel pens and then used a waterbrush over them. I drew direct and rapidly. The pens are smooth and glide nicely over the paper. I still lose accuracy when I draw fast. This has ended up a scruffy drawing, badly drawn and badly shaded. I got decidedly carried away with the background which is far too scribbly but I had great fun doing the drawing and under electric light the metallic and stardust particles really sparkle, although in daylight they are not very noticeable. Knowing that the marks made by the gel pens would be permanent encouraged me to just go for it and press on regardless. The gel ink dissolves in water to a certain extent giving quite a pale wash of colour. This can be strengthened by picking up colour direct from the nib of the pen onto the waterbrush and then transferring this to the paper.

Figure 2
Lilies, Coloured biro’s, gel pens and waterbrush

I moved onto combining colour biro’s (Staedtler) with ordinary gel pens (Tesco’s) and a waterbrush, A4 sketchbook p.95 (please see figure 2). I’ve not used colour biros before and enjoyed using them, again drawing directly with them. I tend to be quite scribbly when I use black biros for drawing and found I was rather too scribbly with these as well. I need to try and find some middle ground between being free with drawing and being too scribbly. The colour biros and gel pens combined well together, the gel pens adding extra contrast and watersolubility as well. I find that pens encourage me to not fiddle and also encourage adaptability as I need to adjust to any marks that go wrong and turn them either into ‘happy accidents’ or emphasise the correct line more.

With the next drawing I decided to throw caution to the wind and try lots of different media together, small square sketchbook p.54 (please see figure 3). I used Stabilo point 88 fibre tips, colour biros, Neoart Aquaralle watersoluble wax pastels, Cretacolor Aquastic watersoluble oil pastels, Inktense pencils, and waterbrush.

Figure 3
Lilies, Stabilo point 88, colour biro, Neoart Aquarelle watersoluble wax pastels, Cretacolor Aquastic watersoluble oil pastels, Inktense pencils, waterbrush

I drew direct with the media and I found combining the media encouraged me to be free and just enjoy using them in combination. I am still struggling with backgrounds and all the drawings in this exercise highlight how clumsy I am with them, but I am enjoying experimenting with what may work, even if the experiments are not neccessarily successful. As I do more, hopefully I will be able to gradually improve on these. I was pleased with the feeling of light on the Lilies I’ve achieved. The media all worked well together as long as I was careful with the order that I used them, using the fibre tips, pencils and biro’s before the watersoluble wax or watersoluble oil pastels as otherwise they had trouble going over the top of them. The watersoluble wax and watersoluble oil pastels appeared to have no problem combining, and either went over each other happily.

Figure 4
Lilies, Crayola crayon for resist, Winsor and Newton inks

For the next drawing I was influenced by the student drawing example in the folder for this exercise and wanted to try for a more abstract approach. I used Winsor and Newton inks and Crayola crayons as a resist. I drew the flower heads as a semi blind contour drawing, but checked positioning at the end of each petal so that I started the next in roughly the right place. I used a white crayon on white watercolour paper to act as a resist and then used a pale green crayon as a resist for the stems and leaves. After dampening the paper I used a large paintbrush to add swathes of colour. Once everything was dry I wasn’t sure that the white resist was strong enough and I added black watersoluble oil pastel over the white lines but I really did not like the effect once I had done it, it looked heavy and stiff. I removed all the black lines by lifting them with water, a little staining was left in places but mainly I was amazed as to how well it lifted from the wax resist lines. I used the Winsor and Newton inks to increase contrast against the white lines in places and then left the drawing as it was. Overall I am pleased with it. Using the resist and inks encouraged me to be free and give it a go and though the drawing is clumsy it is completely different to anything that I normally have done.

Figure 5
Gerberas, FW Acrylic inks, Papermania dual tip brushmarkers, Stabilo point 68 and 88 fibre tips

For the final attempt I aimed for semi abstract/decorative. Previously in my sketchbook I had tried spraying colour over my hand and also some parsley, using them as a mask, ending up with a spritzed background and white paper in the shape of the object (A5 sketchbook pages 32 and 33 and can be seen in the sketchbook section of the blog). I decided to try and take it a stage further this time. I laid some Gerbera heads and some of the foliage that had been put in with them onto some watercolour paper. I mixed up some FW acrylic inks with water and spritzed them onto the paper. I did try adding some rock salt to the wet background but it seemed to have a minimal effect. Into the spaces left once I lifted the Gerbera heads and the foliage off, I penciled in the rough position of the petals and then combined Papermania dual tip brush pens, Stabilo point 88 and point 68 fibre tips for the flower heads and foliage, aiming for a decorative effect rather than a direct representation. I also added some of the colours used into the background. I thourougly enjoyed this drawing and liked the brightness of the fibre tip colours. It hasn’t, however, been hugely successful. I kept getting lost with the light source on the petals and overshaded. I hadn’t realised until I took the photo that I had sprayed the background into almost two halves of colour, they looked more mixed when I was spraying them. I would need to be careful of this another time. The flower heads are all face on as that it the shape left once they are lifted off the paper after spritzing the background. It might have been better if I had also used a paper mask of flower heads in some different positions as this would have given some variation. It was a good experiment and great fun even if not an overly successful drawing.


Combining media has encouraged me to be more adventurous and freer with the drawings that I have produced. I found that I was tightest when using the fibre tips, possibly because the flower heads were more complicated and the colours were so strong that I was nervous of overshading (which I have). I need to try become less scribbly with the colour biros and it will be interesting to experiment with hatching with them. Combining media can give richer and more interesting textures and effects. Using a wide range of media has also helped to give me more confidence in my ability to combine media, something which I have not really tried before and I have produced several drawings, that prior to this exercise, I wouldn’t even have thought to have attempted. I appreciate that they are not good drawings, but for me, they are certainly different to what I have produced before and the exercise helped me to become more imaginative and spontaneous with these drawings. I have been able to let go more and not worry so much about how they will turn out, just to enjoy experimenting with them. It really has been a very enjoyable exercise.

This entry was posted in Part 2 Observation in nature, Project 5 Drawing plants and flowers. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Exercise Drawing with other colour media

  1. Mags Phelan says:

    I think you’re being very hard on yourself – these are good drawings! I especially like 3 & 4 – they have a looser quality, and give the impression that you were relaxed as you did them (whether or not you were!). Very inspiring, the wax resist and coloured inks…. I did a tiny square of that in my mark-making exercise, so it’s good to see it taken further in a full drawing. Well done, Chris. 🙂

    • christedder says:

      Hello Mags, thank you very much for your encouraging comments, I really appreciate them. I did enjoy this exercise and it was good fun.
      Your blog is looking really good and you look as if you are enjoying the course.

  2. Mags Phelan says:

    Thank you, Chris… that’s kind of you. It’s taking me a while to settle in to the course, if I’m honest, but over the past week something seems to have changed and it’s flowing a little more now. Hoping it was just teething troubles!

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