Well the hustle and bustle of a very busy year has finally subsided and ready or not I need to get down to brass tacks and get some art done.  I have a number of shows and competitions to participate in this year and my horoscope says it’s going to be a great year so I need to do my part in making that happen.

I took some pictures of all the wild roosters running around in Hawaii when we were there on our honeymoon.  It’s really amazing to see them in their vibrant colors and they’re everywhere it seemed.  Now I know where the joke comes from, “Why did the chicken(rooster in this case) cross the road?”  Anyway, I’ve always wanted to do this dandy fellow in colored pencils so here’s the first post in the series.


Cock a Doodle Dandy

When I first looked at the reference photo I knew right away that it would be very challenging to do all the hundreds of feathers and make them look real so I’m really taking my time with those.  For those of you who have followed my step by steps, you might remember that I begin by lightly mapping out the piece either in whole or by a given section which is what I’ve done here.  It may  look as though I’ve all over the map on this one because I am.  When you work in seclusion in an area especially in this medium because it is so time-consuming, it’s easy to lose your sense of value and saturation of color, so when I’m near the look I want in a given area I will often move to one not adjacent so I can review how those aspects are coming overall and I can immediately go in an adjust as I go.  I’ve become very in-tune with values and colors so it’s easier for me to do but for someone just starting out in this medium, it’s important to step back when you think you’re done an area and look at it as a whole and refer to the values in your reference photo if they are correct or what you want. (hope that made sense!)

So I began with the sort of Royal Blue feathers and mapped in the lightest colors and highlights in the feathers and then added the darkest shadows, then began the process of adding a variety of blues to get the shade I wanted.  For the orange feathers I began a little differently.  I first, free-hand drew in with a Bluish Turquoise all the shadow areas between all the feathers and the lines that make up the veins of the feathers.  Why turquoise? – because it is the compliment of the orange-reds used for the rest of the feathers and compliments almost always make good shadows.  I applied the same technique to all the feathers so far.  For the large area of the darker orange feathers I loosely mapped in all the highlight areas including if you can see it at all, the light blues that  are actually light creating blue highlights on the sheen of the feathers.  This will be more evident once that area comes together more.

The white fluffy feathers between the tail feathers and the body I started by applying color to the negative space with Prisma Mediterranean Blue so I would know where the white should be.  For whites this is sometimes the best way to approach it and finally I began the head using Pink Carmine as the crown of the rooster is often more pinkish than red and I randomly mapped in color leaving out some tiny white areas to represent the areas where light hits the bumpy surface of the crown creating highlights.

There will of course in every area be touch-ups and final touches to create to the final look but that is yet to come.  See you in a few days with an update and Happy New Year Everyone and to all my Canadians – STAY WARM!


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