Welcome back to the second portion of the making of an ACEO. I should note, before I begin my artsy babble, that I find it odd that I chose to do a cat ACEO as a WIP because if you've been reading my posts for awhile you'll know that cats are not my strong point. In fact, I really only started doing them because I committed myself do completing the Big Cat Challenge that was started in the Coloured Pencil forum over at WetCanvas. Anyhoo, I'm sure you're more interested in seeing more on the ACEO so on that note, let's begin:
In the above picture you'll notice that I've pushed my values more and added more punchy colour overall. I've also done more with the eyes by brightening the catchlights and adding more value to them. I have yet to add in any background and I'm not even concerned with it at this point.
In mentioning that I should note that I waffle over backgrounds. Sometimes I don't like to include any bg (background) and choose to leave it as is, and sometimes I like to include one. Sometimes they're intricate and sometimes they're not. Also, with larger works I will almost always start adding in the bg about half-way through. With ACEO's I'm a little more flexible because they're often a quick piece to get done or they're a study for a larger work.
At this point in the piece I'm also paying more attention to the colours and details that make a subject unique. In Bill's case there are a few things such as the fact that his eyes actually do point off in different directions ever so slightly. He has a scar on his nose from my barn cat, Sushi, beating the snot out of him. I'm also trying to get his correct colouring down and at the same time, punching it up a bit to make him pop.
Below I've included a detail of the eye/ nose area:
Hopefully this close-up can show you a few things about my work. You'll notice that there are many colours in this. Layering, and layering well, are the keys to getting good depth and interest in a coloured pencil piece. This doesn't mean you have to slap on 15 layers of pencil every time work in coloured pencil. That's time consuming and why do more work than you have to? That said, if you need 15+ layers to get the look you're going for then that's what you do. For my style and technique though that just doesn't jive.
You'll also notice that you can see bits of the paper showing through. I am not a heavy handed coloured penciller (is that even a word??). I like light, even strokes and I let the paper do some of the work for me which is why I'm quite deliberate in my paper, and paper colour, selection. Another reason I'm light is that I like the appearance of the paper showing through and the texture it lends to a piece. Again, this is personal preference and you have to do what feels/ looks right to you.
Now we come to the end. Bill's done and a bg is in place:
I decided on a green bg so his eyes would come out more since this is a close up of Bill's mug. I've also gone over and darkened my darks, lightened my lights and added a few more bits of punchy colour around the eyes and muzzle. All in all I'm quite happy with this one. If there's something I haven't been clear on or if you'd like to ask questions about what on earth I'm doing with art please just ask away. As teachers say time and time again, the only stupid question is the one that isn't asked...and it's true!
In total this one took me about 2 1/2 hours since I'm still not as familiar with doing cats as I'd like to be and because I'm experimenting more with colour. I'll probably do another WIP next week or the week after but I'll choose a horse for that one, a subject I'm much more familiar with!
Hopefully this has been of some use to someone out there and you'll be able to find this ACEO up for auction on Sunday night. Until tomorrow!