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DRAWING WITH COLOURED PENCILS (article first published : 2006-11-5)

The book – Drawing with Coloured Pencils - deals with 16 illustrated lessons such as landscape and city scape, buildings, still life, people (adults, men, women), children, animal or bird, and water.

Each subject is sub-divided -for instance, when drawing a portrait the author deals with skin tone, hair, hands, wrinkles etc. There’s an enormous amount of detail.

Jonathan Newey studied art and design at the London College of printing and has vast experience in all art mediums, especially teaching beginners in watercolour and drawing with coloured pencils. Apart from his own work, the book also features pencil drawings by many other artists. Techniques and methods are carefully explained, but it requires determination and perseverance for budding artists.

As you work your way through the book you’ll notice that the drawings focus is on a specific colour pencil technique.

The chapter on animal drawings is fun. People always show interest in drawing their pets. Another favourite subject is flowers and the author shows how to work “wet and dry”. By choosing the colours, he suggests it will become easier to define details within a flower such as individual stalks or buds, before completing a bouquet.

Another difficult subject is water. The easiest method according to Newey is to use a dark background and a white pencil – the softer the pencil the better the result to create movement of water.

A sky with cloud formations, a horizon, land etc all get their turn. Every project has clear instructions, informative photographs and invaluable artist’s tips, as well as essential information on tools and materials to get you started. It will take some time to master, but the end result is that you gradually do improve your drawing skills with these clear step by step instructions.

Perhaps one flaw of the book is that it leaves very little to the artist’s imagination. Jonathan Newey explains each stage. His method is extremely thorough and by following his method “your own style will start to emerge”. What is important to learn is that excessive work can complicate a drawing and will detract from the image as a whole. The best advice he gives is to keep a limited palette, as it gives the drawing an overall feeling and by choosing a particular coloured support (paper) to work on also helps.

These are fairly simple techniques to master, but it will take practice. Fortunately it all looks quite easy to achieve, and even a beginner can get very good end results.

At the end of the lessons the book gives a Gallery of images – perfectly drawn and lush in colour – which shows how versatile coloured pencil drawings can be.

Written by Jonathan Newey, Drawing with Coloured Pencils is published by New Holland and is on sale at local book stores at R149.95. – Marianne Meijer




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