​'Binary Movement' Charcoal and Colour Pencil Drawing WIP

 Hiya guys, So I got hold of this lovely deep plush Murano Pastel Paper, which has 45% cotton content, and wanted to create something special with it… Unlike many of my figurative works, this one was not quite going to be completely nude.. The characters ‘individuality’ in that respect left ambiguous and private.. The flawed black and white gender binary representation, either in the roles each play in society or biologically, the quiet lived experience of many who do not quite ‘fit’.. 

With the idea in mind, I was ready to begin…

To ensure the paper did not get overworked, the figures were first lightly traced on to the paper as a guide.

Then with a charcoal pencil, more expressive lines were established that conveyed the weight and volume of the figures. In this piece I tried to do this through the contouring lines alone, the shading etc.. came secondary to this..

 The darkest darks were then established first, to help me get a handle on the overall tones of the piece and how far I would be going when it came to adding my lightest colour pencil hues..

The tones and hues I would be using and where, had to be very clear in my mind. Though I could rub off parts that I wasn’t happy with, sometimes colour pencil can leave unwanted residue behind that mars the overall look of the piece. 

My colour pencil lines (and to a lesser extent charcoal, as they were easier to remove without trace) needed to be clean and sure, and any effect where I muted their tone etc. would be done intentionally to create dimensionality to the figures or mood to the piece..

Woman charcoal drawing in progressMale charcoal drawing in progress

The silverleaf was added right after the initial charcoal drawing was done, rather than later, to avoid any accidental blurring or smudging that might happen to the final drawing in the process.

The DNA pattern was designed on some tracing paper first and then transferred to the artpiece where I started the gilding process by applying waterbased gilding paste with a size 1 round synthetic brush (dipped in hand soap first, for easy clean up!)

The bottom right of (left panel) is gilded with goldleaf to represent the Y chromosome, while the silver, the X.

On the easel - laying the silverleaf
Silver/gold leaf laid and left to dry overnight before brushing off.

  With the silver/gold metal leaf done I now started in with the colour pencil in pretty much the order shown below - charcoal, grayish purple, deep purple, fuschia, dark yellow ocher.... and then a mix between the nude and light yellow ocher, finished off with white. 

Charcoal and colour pencil hues in order used.

 Of course I would still go back and forth between hues when the need arose, but it helped to work this way to ensure firstly that I created harmony between the two panels by working on them at the same level as much as possible, and secondly, darker colour pencil hues do not go over lighter hues very well, thus it is my understanding (and experience) that it is usually best practice to work from dark to light with colour pencils (and pastels as it so happens)

Colour Pencil Crosshatch Drawing detail
Going in with the lighter hues.

 Careful attention was given to rendering the parts of the figure with more detail or light depending on how I wished the eye of the viewer to be lead..

Rendering the whole of both the figures with an equal amount of detail would have created a lack depth and focus.

I was also careful not create too much layering to retain the clear linear quality of the patterned cross contouring lines and to ensure the paper underneath showed through.

With the figures done, the gold/ silverleaf was given a slight copperish tingh with a burnt umber+glaze acrylic coating.

Finally, the silver/gold metal leaf was given a final touch of indented lines that matched that of the patterny colour pencil lines on the figures..

Charcoal and Colour Pencil Figurative Drawing with Silverleaf on the easel

It was complete! Here it is after a protective coat spray of UV Resistant Clear Acrylic Coating (Krylon).

Here’s 'Binary Movement' scanned and colour corrected and if interested you can find more close ups, concept info or collect at 'Binary Movement'.. !! :)

Thanks so much for dropping by!!..

p.s latest youtube video showing this piece (as it should be viewed) illuminated in light and motion..


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