Traditional costume study in colored pencil

This piece was inspired by traditional costumes of Russia. There are a lot of details in the costume that I was curious to see how they would come out. Since colored pencil drawings come out really good when colors are properly layered, it is important to go slow, layer-by-layer. So, I decided to go slow with the work and not try to finish it all in one sit.

The canvas size is 14″ x 17″ to make it a bit more challenging. Pencil brand “Prismacolor” as they are preferred for soft texture. Somebody suggested smudge sticks in the online portrait painting group, so I decided to give it a shot.

Overall, smudge sticks don’t work to the same extent as they do with graphite or charcoal. But they still help to blend colors together and add smoothness.

Day 1

Prepared the sketch. Since the drawing was planned in colored pencil, thin outlines were placed on the paper. I did use a grid method for transferring the image as oppose to free-hand sketching.

In the past I had to make the grid twice manually over the original and then over the fresh canvas. Luckily, there is now an app that could be downloaded from the Android app store and used over digital images on tablets.

Day 2

Personal preference is to start coloring from the top, or the obvious center piece, and work downwards and around to minimize smudging by the hand. Face is always a natural starting point for me.
Continue working on individual portions of the drawing. The trick is not be burned out too fast. The face I will have to come back to later on, once the background is placed, and it can be outlined better. I like illustration like feel, so I did not want the face to be hyper-realistic, but rather more stylized.

Day 3

Progressing thru the costume to get it to the stopping point before deciding on the background. Additional details will have to be adjusted later on to add contrast, but for now the main portion is closer to completion.

Stopping point to decide what’s next.

Day 4

I have to admit that after couple of days of looking at the drawing, I did take a lazy route. The background was finished with pastel pencils. White colored gouache used to place what should be a snow on the fruits.