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Draw With Me!

Canning Jars Supplies 

Unscented “Swiffer” to remove pencil dust 
mechanical pencil                       eraser shield
Scotch 3M “Magic” tape              graphite transfer paper
kneaded eraser                            white artist tape
tracing paper                                burnishing brush

Stonehenge Hot Press 140lb white
Prismacolor pencils:

True Blue                            903
Indigo Blue                         901
Muted Turquoise              1088
50% Cold Gray                  1063
30% Cold Gray                  1061
10% Cold Gray                  1059
Putty Beige                        1083
Jade Green                        1021
Sao Green Light                  120
Rose Pink                           1018
Grayed Lavender               1026      
Terra Cotta                           944
Tuscan Red                          937
Raisin Black                         996
Black                                     935

Beginning with True Blue (903), I worked in the body of the jars while referencing the photo. I paid particular attention to the small bits of white reflected on the jars from a window.  In this first step, the color is kept lighter and softer than the denser colors in the body of the jars. 

This early into the drawing, referencing the original photo frequently is important to capture the details.  Towards the end of the drawing, I rely more on my own experience and intuition.

HINT: Not too much pressure and NOT too much color.  Going slow and carefully applying a complete but light coverage is my secret to creating transparency and light.

The background should not be an afterthought.  Plan what goes behind the main subject before you start coloring. For this drawing, a muted and grayed background pushed the jars forward as the “stars” in the drawing.

I started with 30% Cold Gray (1061), filling in the entire back board and using more pressure behind the left edge of the center board for the cast shadow. I then switched to 50% Cold Gray (1063) over the first background, starting at the shelf edge and bringing the color up to about 1/3 of the background and again, deepening the left side shadow behind the center board.  This center board is very thin, but it does have a dimension that needs to be expressed. I left a narrow white edge on the right-hand side to make it pop away from the background. The white of the paper is all that is needed here.

I then used 10% Cold Gray, working over the previous colors, and blending to the top of the drawing.  Under the shelf, this process is reversed, starting with 50% Cold Gray (1063) under the lace to indicate the shadow created by the shelf. Then 30% Cold Gray is blended from the lower lace to the bottom of the paper. There are small openings in lower edge of the lace, don’t forget to color them in as you work the area under the shelf.

The shelf top is blocked in with Terra Cotta (944). There will be additional color used to finish the shelf, but this first layer it is important to get solid coverage.  Using a very sharp pencil is my best advice when getting into the paper crevices. Tuscan Red (937) is used for the shelf edge and I hinted where the shelf edge is peeking between the lace opening and the ribbon with this same color. 

Now that I have a first layer of color in all areas, I turned my attention to the deeper colors in the glass.  Jade Green (1021) is a smoky green color that worked well for a muted color in places I felt were too blue. Referring to the photo I worked Jade Green into deeper values to bring out the letter distinctions, around the rims, shoulders, and base of the jars.  I also worked this color around the lettering and in the vertical streaks of deeper colors in the body of the jars. 

I added Terra Cotta over the shelf top for another layer and this time I brought the same color down into the shelf front edge and up into the bottom of the jars.  Adding the reflected colors of the shelf into the jar bottoms will give them a weighted bottom that visually helps them sit on the shelf surface and not float above it. Again, bring the shelf color into the spaces between the lace openings and the ribbon.

Staring with Black (935), I went into the deepest colors and thickest parts of the jars, I carefully worked around the rims and darkest areas of the shoulders, bottoms, and bits of the lettering.  I also used Black to color in the metal lid clasps. There is no need to add to much pencil here, the black is a base color, and the metal clasps will be finished further into the drawing.

I carefully layered the Indigo Blue (901) over the black. I then repeated working these same areas, layering with Black Grape (996). These two colors work together for a rich but solid black color that is not “flat”.

Indigo Blue is used for the darker values. But it is a staining color, so I am careful to sweep any pencil dust off the drawing.  A piece of tracing paper under my drawing hand also helps me keep the work surface clean.

Because I raised the horizon line of the shelf, I needed to change how the shelf is viewed through the glass jars.  The original photo does not show this color change, so adjustments like this depends on experience and observations.  I imagined “seeing” the shelf through the jars and VERY carefully used four colors to create the shelf through the transparency of jars. 

I worked the bottoms of the jars with Blue Indigo, Black, Black Grape and Terra Cotta.  Indigo Blue, Black and Black Grape are the colors to create the illusion of thick glass, Terra Cotta is the color of the shelf that is reflected up into the glass.  The glass is solid, but transparent, so some areas will be lighter, others darker, and this should not be a solid line of color but a suggestion of what is behind the jars.

To bring out the turquoise hues, I choose Muted Turquoise (1088) to completely cover the previous color layers on the jars. The blues needed to be grayed down, but rather then reaching for a gray pencil, I felt Muted Turquoise would be a better choice and a brighter color without altering the colors I had already established.  I varied the pressure as I worked the pencil around the jar shoulder and other darker, grayer areas. I was much happier with the overall color.  This change is almost imperceptible, but it will make a difference in the finished piece. There is a hint of green in the glass, and after selecting several colors that didn’t work, I settled on Sap Green Light (1200).  Using this color sparingly around the neck, shoulders and base, I achieved the slightest hint of green without overworking the color and dimming the blues. .

With Black Raisin and Black, and alternating these two pencils, I worked and reworked the very darkest glass around the top lids, bottoms, and jar necks until I had the color and depth of value I was looking for. The color is dark but not a true black, so I made sure I sandwiched Black under and over Black Raisin. 

It was now time to work on the metal clasps. I had already used black as a first color, but black can be flat.  The metal locks are the deepest color and the hardest edges, so I wanted them to have the panache they deserved. The smaller jar locks also have light reflections that will be left white. I used a VERY SHARP Indigo Blue and Black Raisin; I alternated and layered these two colors until I had a deep metal color and the hard edges I was looking for.  One last over-color of Black to tone down the blue / purple cast and I considered them finished!

The shelf is darkened with Tuscan Red.  Use this color on both the top and front edge for solid layers of color that looks like aged wood.  I deepened the color of the front edge by applying more pressure. Along the top of the lace, I “scrumbled” to achieve a bumpy edge. To make sure the jars were “seated” on the shelf, I used Black Raisin and darkened the shelf around the bottoms of the jars and carried this same color off to the left.

The next step is to burnish both jars and shelf, blending and diffusing the darkest colors.   A short bristle brush works best for me as I carefully blend the deepest colors being careful not to smear the pencil dust into the background.  I use a piece of paper, or an eraser shield to keep all un-burnished areas clean.

The last step to complete the shelf is to burnish for a solid, rich color.

Hint: Use an eraser shield as a guide and edger when working the top of the shelf edge.  You want it to be crisp and precise.

The smaller jar has a different lid, and although some color reflection from the body can be seen on the lid but it is really a smoky gray.  To complete the lid, I added a gray tint with 50% Cold Gray.  Not much is needed to indicate the shape and thickness of the glass. The metal clasp does cast a brief shadow which I included with Black.

The lace fabric is almost solid except for openings that show a ribbon woven through loops on the back and smaller openings along the bottom. 
To make the ribbon appear behind the lace, I used 50% Cold Gray on the left and right side of the ribbon to hint where it enters and leaves the opening.  Vary the shadow in each one. A very light layer of Putty Beige (1083) softened the 50% Cold Gray. Peeking through these lace windows is the shelf edge in a deep shadow so I selected Black Raisin and Black and used them interchangeably to get a deep brown shelf edge behind the lace. 

The gray background under the shelf peeks through the bottom row of openings, and using 50% Cold Gray and Black, I worked these small openings, again keeping each one slightly different by varying the amount of pencil used, which color is used first and the pressure applied.

With Putty Beige (1083) and working in the “folds” of the lace, I added a hint of shadows and changes of color to contrast with the white.  I then added Pink Rose (1018) to warm up the colors. This should be only a hint of color, just enough to create movement and texture.

Hint: Don’t be afraid to make changes!  If it doesn’t look right – it probably isn’t.

I had used almost all “cool” colors. To warm up the drawing, with a VERY LIGHT touch, I alternated and layered Grayed Lavender and Pink Rose over the background, under the shelf and into the blue shadow behind the large jar.  I took these two colors about half up the background and it helped to give a warm glow that was missing.  The area under the shelf still bothered me.  Added to the wash of Grayed Lavender and Pink Rose, I did a color layer of True Blue. 

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