Aurora Equus–Colored Pencil & Aquarelle

Aurora Equus - Tricia GriffithInspired by a photo of an Arabian horse that I came across, with this piece I first aimed for as much fine realism detail as possible. I wanted to work on drawing the anatomy and bone structure of the horse just as I saw it on the photograph.

Next, I started going over the shadowy details in purple colored pencil, thinking I wanted this horse to combine realism and not so realism. This led me think it might be fun to just layer the colors of the rainbow, so I began adding them in reverse order from the purple; moving from there to blue, to green and on through to red.

There is no black used at all in this work. All shading, including the darker colors of the eye and nostril, is created using a mix of several colors. Once I was finished with the horse, I wanted to so something with the background to make the horse pop out a bit, but I didn’t want to add heavy layers of colored pencil.

I debated using watercolor, but the paper used is Strathmore Bristol Board, and that doesn’t hold up to watercolor very well without a heavy layer of sizing coating it. So, I went to the next best thing, aquarelles, which I enjoy using as an add-on medium in a lot of my artwork lately.

The aquarelles are essential a watercolor colored pencil. It reminds me of the paint with water books I’d get as a kid. Once you draw on the paper with the aquarelle, you can then go over it with a wet paintbrush, which then dissolves the marks into a watercolor-like texture and allows you blend spread the color out.

So, to finish out the work, I blended purples and blues in aquarelle to create a slightly more dense, dark background which is still lighter than it would have been had I slathered on the colored pencil. 🙂

The original of this work is available, or you can order prints on my Fine Art America site!


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