Here there be dragons...

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Coloured Pencil Week

So Coloured Pencil Week with the Bonny Snowdon Academy was an adventure.  I learned more than my little brain could take in and I really enjoyed it.  And I was super proud of my "cumulating" project ;).   The focus of the academy is realistic drawing w coloured pencils.   Their work that group turns out is nothing shy of stunning.  However, they also have a collection of material for us beginners ;)

I knew going in that we would learn to draw a cat's eye, a dog's nose, some fur, and an otter.   One of the things I wasn't expecting though, was the whole focus really was colour.  As in to the point of providing you a sketch to trace.  In all cases I used the sketch provided to make mine occur, but the only one I actually *traced* was the dog's nose, mostly cause I was lazy that day and in a hurry ;).  The otter I would've traced just for the sheer overwhelmingness of the project (a scheduled FOUR hours of drawing?!?!) but I wanted to use the "real" coloured pencil paper (still not the stuff they use, but the one I found at Michaels that was aptly named "coloured pencil paper" 😂) and it is too think to trace through even if I'd wanted to.   My sketchbook, however, is not - so I traced the nose.  The eye I've done several variants before and, let's be honest, cat's eyes are as simple to freehand as it gets.   And the fur was just a few squiggly lines on a paper - I figured I could make that up as I went along ;)

There were 5 days of live drawing classes and two days of pre-recorded miscellaneous videos: one about materials which I watched but had actually learned most of from YouTube already and the other about mindset which I half-watched on fast forward, but isn't really my thing.   The actual drawing ones though were excellent.  Unfortunately these were at 7pm UK time, which meant 2pm our time, which meant I only got to go to one (and was lucky about that one); they were posted a few hours later though so I did DO every one of them.   The wknd ones were slightly earlier, but I wasn't prepared for the first one and it wasn't a convenient time, so I made the executive decision I'd watch those on repeat.  

It's a REALLY good thing I did, because there was a lot of watching closely, pausing, trying to replicate.  And that "long" four hours???   Oh my sweet summer child.   It took me closer to 10.   And I really didn't notice.   Which, I've discovered before, this new hobby is one that I can fall into the zone and not come out of for a very long time - the only thing other than writing I've ever experienced that with.  Which is a mental health and interest win, but a productivity fail ;-P

I did a thing!
Also - I used 17 colours to make this little guy?!?!

I also discovered I have no interest in full realism.   I want to get to the point that I can both draw and colour something that people can identify, but it doesn't need to look indistinguishable from a photograph.  I probably already have the photograph ;-P.  I AM super-impressed that other people can do that with pencil crayons?!?!   Like completely mind-boggling.   But it is not something I'm inclined to do - at least not right now.  Maybe when I retire ;-P

So in the course I learned a lot about layering, drawing what you see, not what you think is there (although for the life of me I still don't know how they see some of the colours in the fur (17 colours - I'm not exaggerating; and the instructor was lamenting that she hadn't added more to the list)  It all works out in the end, but my eye isn't trained that well yet!), different types of pencil marks to achieve different effects, a tiny bit on blending, some colour theory (super important to me cause I never know what colours to pick!), lots about values (light and dark) and they basically drilled home that if your values are right, the colour doesn't particularly matter.

I learned a ton, it was a super experience, but the actual academy is probably not the right fit for me at this particular moment.  The instructor is a lovely human though and if anyone DOES want to learn it, I'd highly recommend.   She's got a strong business going and very much runs it as a business, which was refreshing to see.  

I AM, however, taking a sketching basics course (all prerecorded) to learn to draw (rather than colour) that I'm getting a ton out of.  It's more the level I need right now.   More on that if/when I actually finish it.  It got paused for this one cause this one was only open for a week.


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