Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sketching the Mechanical Elephant

Here's a colored pencil sketch of the Sultan's Elephant, drawn a few days ago from observation in Nantes, France. (Click on the image for a big enlargement.)

I took a picture (left) after starting the sketch to show you one way to begin a small drawing like this (about 3x5 inches). The first step was to draw the basic outlines in graphite pencil.

Then I lightly rubbed the surface with a few browns and grays in water-soluble colored pencil. Since there was no delicate detail yet, I could smudge those colors around with a water brush, keeping the white highlights on the tusk and the forehead as untouched white paper.

After that dried, I went back to define the details with a black colored pencil. The whole sketch took about 45 minutes, and I had to finish because the thing started walking.

7 comments:

Will said...

Wow, this looks really great. I have never used water-soluble pencils before, but they might be a really portable option for doing quick sketches like this. Thanks for sharing!

Erik Bongers said...

I'm glad the elephant was home and you finally got to see it.

Ginger*:) said...

Ahhhhhh.... I love it!

Olivier Souille said...

Magnifique !!!

laurent Miny said...

superbe ressenti !!!

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Olivier and Laurent! Please give my best to the students at Pivaut.

Will, yes, one of the best things about these pencils is how portable they are. Erik, it was a treat to see the elephant at last.

P.T. Waugh said...

I drew this elephant a while back but made a few 'steam punk' modifications to it.