Here is a slideshow that walks through my latest drawing, "Bee and Cosmos." Click on the arrows to navigate through the sides and hover over the image to see a description of my tools and techniques.
As always, I use Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils on Stonehenge paper. The watercolor I currently use is M. Graham.
1. The Sketch
I first lightly trace my final sketch onto Stonehenge paper. Since I often abuse my sketches with heavy marks and vigorous erasing, I plan everything out in my sketchbook or on layers of tracing paper before transferring it to my more expensive paper.
2. A Light Wash
I then use a kneaded eraser to lighten my pencil marks, especially areas that will be yellow. I don't want the pencil marks to show through in the end! Colors and edges are then [very roughly] blocked out in watercolor (M. Graham). This first layer of color saves me a lot of time when I begin rendering with colored pencils.
3. The Background
I fill in the background using Chrome Oxide Green (#278) and Warm Grey VI (#275). I carefully create a crisp edge along the petals with a sharp point, but fill in the rest of the area quickly with a blunt tip.
4. Filling Gaps
Using pencils with sharp points, I fill in holes and gaps until the background is nice and smooth.
5. Pink Petals
Using Rose Carmine (#124), I quickly fill in the cosmos' petals. Maintaining a sharp point is not too important except for tight areas, such as around the bee's legs.
6. Shaving Pencil Lead
To fill large areas in half the time, I use an X-Acto knife to shave my pencil lead directly onto the paper. I usually rub it in with a finger wrapped in tissue.
7. Cleaning Up the Petals
After shaving and rubbing in the pencil lead, I sharpen my pencil to a point and establish edges around the base of the petals and the bee.
8. Petal Details
Using Caput Mortum Violet (#263), Dark Flesh (#130) and Blue Violet (#137) I add some detail and texture to the petals. I also clean up around the bee's wings to imply wing beats.
9. Bee, Finally!
Using Walnut Brown (#177), Nougat (#178), Light Yellow Ochre (#183), Naples Ochre (#184), Raw Umber (#180), and Ivory (#103), I color the bee. I first establish my darks and work my way up to the lighter parts.
10. Cleaning Up
I clean up the bee and add more shading. The yellow part of the flower is lightly outlined in Nougat and shaded with yellows and light browns.
11. Deepening Shadows
I want the middle of the flower to pop! I make the shadows darker. Finally, I add hints of yellow in the petals and background to help unify the piece. After scanning in the final drawing, I make some adjustments in Photoshop so that the vibrancy matches the drawing in real life.