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artbykarieann
I am a part-time pet portrait and wildlife artist living in the deep dark forest between the Royal Forest of Dean, Herefordshire and the Welsh border. A beautiful and inspiring place to live and create pet portraits and wildlife art.
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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Leopard by Wildlife Artist Karie-Ann Cooper

Well I'm going to call this finished for now, I'm sure I'll be crisping up a few details but really it's 99% completed now. I've really enjoyed this one, and during my work on this piece of wildlife art, I've discovered a few things that are a must...
1. Always use sharp pencils, this is not only a must for any pencil art but particularly for fur when details need to be so fine, but also because a dull blunt pencil seems to drag across drafting film leaving a poor covering of colour.
2. Wax based pencils are more difficult to use on drafting film, the pencils does not enable much layering, and although it is limited on film, oil based pencils seems to work better.
3. If your film gets dirty, simply wash it!!! I did have marks on the bottom of this piece, but I used a well known cleaning brand of wipes and cleaned all around the image. I did find though the cleaning agent on the wipe left a residue all over the film and I nearly had heart failure when it dried out, however after a little bit of experimenting, I found if I used the cleaning wipes (just water did not clean the areas at all) and then dried it with a tissue, the residue was removed and the film was left perfectly clean. If you miss a bit and find more residue just go back over it with a wet wipe and dry it again until you are satisfied.
4. Avoid using an eraser as this will prevent many colours being added after, the eraser leaves a sort of residue on the film prevent much more pencil being laid down.
5. For whisker highlights or bright white areas I recommend a stabilo white pencil, although it is creamy and can drag if not kept very sharp, it goes cover over everything and gives a good clean line.
6. Try not to block areas of colour, the pencil strokes do tend to show up more on drafting film so a flecky appearance is best using lots of tiny pencil marks and filling in gaps with similar shades.
7. Try different coloured backgrounds behind the film to see which looks best, I think it depends on the colours of your portraits, although white does look a little drained.
8. Don't take shots of draft film pieces in sunlight, the image always looks drained of colour (this is true for any support really)
9. Drafting film does seem to dull the pencil colours a little in comparison to paper and board so perhaps a touch of slightly more vibrant colour than expected will brighten up your portrait no end.
10. Blacks do not seem as deep on drafting film and pencils strokes will show through, although this is acceptable, even desired for fur, but a solid black area will not look too good on drafting film so choose your subjects carefully.
If anyone wants to know anymore details please feel free to ask, but I will be using drafting film again, if anyone is interested I've used derwent artists and prismacolor pencils.

If you like my work please take the time to leave me a comment or become a follower (see bottom of page). If you would like to win a pet portrait of your dog, cat, horse or any other pet please see my new competition. It costs nothing to enter, all you require is internet access.
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16 comments:

Sally McLean said...

I love this artwork! Do you mount the finished piece over a coloured card? In a past life i was a draftsman and we used a couple of different film types. I am guessing that you have used a smooth plastic type rather that textured more papery surface. I remember this textured film was sensitive to moisture and could change size overnight. Just wondering what the archival properties of the film are like?

pencilportraits said...

Hi Sally, All I know about this drafting film is that is is used by architects so I assume it's properties must be stable otherwise houses would change size overnight! Also because of my washing technique I can say for definite this does not absorb any moisture otherwise it would have disintegrated! It is a very smooth surface which is the only issue I have with it, in that multi-layering is not really possible, but you can use this to your advantage for quicker coverage and if you just use the fact that you can 'fill in the gaps' left between pencil strokes. I also assume as with any medium it is best not left in direct sunlight to prevent fading, but I'm not sure if it does fade quicker than pencils on any other support.

Sheila said...

A masterful image of a magnificent beast. Bravo Karie. I appreciate you taking the time to lists all those tips too! Say hi to Willow for me.

pencilportraits said...

Hi Sheila, thanks for calling by! Willow says hello, she's a bit tired out today after being on a steep bank, she's not the only one!!! Drafting film seems to be something everyone wants to try but never gets around to it so perhaps a few tips will help them all love it as much as I do now!!!

Kathleen Coy said...

It is gorgeous, Karie!!! I can almost feel how soft his fur is.

Judy said...

Hi Karie, I didn't know this was colored pencil. I use dura-lar with color pencils and I'm wondering if it is similar to your draft paper if you can wash it like I can wash the dura-lar. anyways, you did a beautiful job. I love your cat.

Gail H. Ragsdale said...

Thank you Karie for posting your tips! I'm always interested in how other people do things.

Sally McLean said...

Thanks for all the tips Karie!

Vic said...

Superb portrait Kari,love the pose too. I still cant quite get to grips with drafting film, but thanks for listing those tips and I will bear that in mind at my next attempt.

Gary Keimig said...

Great job, Karie. Really has come out nice.

pencilportraits said...

Thanks for all the comments everyone, it does bouy me up. The drafting film is the same as dura-lar I;m sure but probably sold under a dofferent name here in the UK. I do recommend everyone try again, it irritated me madly the first time I used it, but trying different things again sometimes pays off.

Blaze said...

This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing your process, it really encourages me to show mine, too, and inspires me to get to work on some of my own paintings again. :)

Grahame Butler said...

Great Job Karie as always, and thanks for all those handy tips, Ive never heard of drafting film, but might give it a try, whish supplier do you get it from?

pencilportraits said...

Hi Grahame, you can buy drafting film from Artifolks or Ebay, it's not expensive if you buy it in sheets rather than rolls.

Ruth Welter said...

Hello Karie, a pleasure to meet you...your artwork is stunning!!!

Thanks for your visit, I hope your sweet little guinea pig is feeling better now. Little Dudley has recovered from his flu. Keep on painting.

Ruth

Mona said...

Karie, beautiful work, especially in the direction and feeling of the fur, and thank you for going over some tips. I might like to try colored pencil on film. I have some old prismacolors and a few derwents.

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