Heron – Mixed Media

I do really love herons! I know they are the bane of many Koi enthusiasts due to their tendency to snack on much loved fish but they do have a certain predatory beauty. This week I drew an ink drawing of a heron and toned it with smudged pencil. I am continuing to work on integrating my textural studies into actual artwork.

Here is my rough pencil sketch…

This shot was taken once I’d refined my pencil work…

This was taken in the middle of inking the drawing…

Here is the completed picture…

Once I had my inks finished I felt I really needed some greyscale tones to help give the viewer the feeling of looking at water. Previously I’ve either done this digitally or with a range of grey brush markers. For this drawing though, I really wanted to add some smooth grey gradients so I decided to mix up my media a little and use pencil for this. Rather than drawing the graphite onto the paper I used the graphite shavings from a mechanical pencil sharpener…

…and rubbed them on with a tissue. I had to practise this technique on some scrap paper a few times but I found I could get a lovely smooth gradient this way. Then I use my putty eraser and a fine mechanical eraser to remove the shading from the places where it went over a line. I am really pleased with how this turned out. I will use this technique again.

Reviewing this particular picture, I can see that my textures are very gradually improving. I would still like to develop more range and finesse with this. I am also quite pleased with the way the water ripples around the heron’s feet read. I think the smooth gradients really help this effect.

I also keep wondering if I should have added some indications of lanscape in the top left corner. It might look good to see a vague sense of a horizon line. Just a few marks to give the viewer an indication. At the time, I refrained from doing so because I liked the striking outline of the heron’s head and I thought putting in some landscape would detract from that. Sometimes drawings seem to ask for a change but I don’t always know exactly how to handle it. In the end I decided to leave it and just sit with the picture as it is. Sometimes, when doing this my unconscious mind seems to keep working ont eh problem in the background and days or even a few weeks later I figure out the answer.

12 thoughts on “Heron – Mixed Media

  1. I know what you mean. An image that hints at something allows the viewer to almost take part in the picture by filling in the gaps from their imagination. It actually only looks like that because my camera can’t pick up really light pencil work! Lol


  2. It can be really invigorating to give yourself a change of scene like that. It sounds like you need it with 50 hours a week studying! Goodness, I couldn’t handle that much work. It’s good that you’re giving yourself breaks. Take care!

    PS: Lol Stratford on Avon!


  3. I needed to see this post about a year ago when my daughter and I took one of those canvas painting classes together. Nobody else was in the class. Anyhow, we chose the Blue Heron to paint. I kept my daughters painting and she kept mine. What fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I so love drawing birds. Here we have a Brolga, which is similar to the heron you have drawn, only so much wilder. You have done a good job with the heron Jo. I am into week 5 of my Masters now, and also of my theology post grad. I spend about 50 hours per week studying so not a lot of time to paint, or write for myself. Today I took the day off though and drove into the country, to have morning tea at a cafe 80km away and lunch at a pie shop 150km away. The whole exercise was to get me away from the computer for the day and to take some photographs of old rural buildings. I did enjoy the day. I went through a village called Stratford, which just happened to be upon the Avon river. so you see I didn;t need to come to England at all. Keep well and safe, and love your work

    Liked by 1 person

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