Today’s critique comes from an anonymous artist. She said that her goals were to create a realistic piece while playing with her prismacolor colored pencils.

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The thing I like most about this piece is that the initial drawing was done quite well. The perspective is nice as is the shading done on the tiger. All of the shading and highlighting work together to create more dimension in the piece, very well done!

 

Looking at a few things we can adjust to improve on it even more, first is in the blending of the colored pencils. While some artists prefer the grainy look (and that’s totally ok if that is the look you prefer), for the purpose of this lesson, I’m going to come at this assuming that because you said you were going for more realism that you want a more solid coloring of the pencils. Colored pencil, when not blended by either burnishing  or with paint thinner, will just set on top of the paper. It won’t get into the tooth (little crevices), leaving you with the white dots of the paper showing through. There are two ways that I prevent this from happening. First is with an odorless mineral spirit (I use Mona Lisa Odorless Paint Thinner). The solvent will dissolve the pencil into the paper itself. This will give your colors a bolder look, plus cover all those little white dots of the paper.

Colored pencil, when not blended by either burnishing  or with paint thinner, will just set on top of the paper. It won’t get into the tooth (little crevices), leaving you with the white dots of the paper showing through. There are two ways that I prevent this from happening. First is with an odorless mineral spirit (I use Mona Lisa Odorless Paint Thinner). The solvent will dissolve the pencil into the paper itself. This will give your colors a bolder look, plus cover all those little white dots of the paper.

The second method I use to cover all those little white dots and to get more boldness in my colors is with burnishing. Burnishing is  done by applying the pencil with a very heavy hand. You’re flattening out the tooth of the paper when you do this so that none of those white dots show through. You can burnish with whatever color you’re using, with another color (like white), or with a colorless blender. Prismacolor makes their own colorless blender, as does Derwent (which I didn’t like) and Caran d’Ache. I find that whichever brand of pencils you’re using, the colorless blender by that same brand will work the best. The main drawback of using burnishing is that in flattening out the paper, the paper won’t take many layers. Save any burnishing for your final layers because of this.

If my blending descriptions are making no sense, don’t worry! I have a video showing you exactly what I’m talking about!

 

One more thing I want to bring up is just in the crop of your piece. The back leg just randomly seems to end. I would add a bit of grass there, so it’s not just a floating leg 🙂

This piece is beautiful! I always giggle a little when someone says they were “just playing around with the pencils”. That is some pretty awesome work for just playing around!