For this ThrowBack Thursday (TBT), I am looking to my early days of blogging.  I published this post in August 2015. These sketches were completed from free online tutorials before I began taking different online courses. While I still love painting faces, I am slowly  transitioning to other subjects for my art.  


“It is good to love many things, for therein lies true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

pencil portrait of Katy

I don't know if I agree with Van Gogh's statement especially with regards to art. For now, rather than try (love) many things, I am going to work on "what I love much" and improve my technique.

My Prismacolor pencils have been getting a good workout in the last week. I recently discovered Dede Willingham's inspiring work (Inkiwell) on Instagram.

Dede uses Strathmore Toned Tan sketch paper for her pencil art and since I had a 5.5x 8.5 toned tan sketchbook collecting dust, I had everything I needed to experiment with more faces.

From Dede, I learned to start with the highlights. Apply the white wherever the light is shining on the face. In this sketchbook, the white really pops right away. Very impressive.

I was surprised at how well the Prismacolor works on this paper. However, here is what I learned on my own along the way:

1. I must lightly sketch in the contours of the face and then, before applying any colour, make sure to erase the pencil markings or they are near impossible to remove after the colour has been added.

2. Use a very light touch with the application of the Prismacolor pencils. The Strathmore Toned Tan sketch paper will not take as many layers as the Canson Mi-teintes for example.

3. Select the colours in the planning stage rather than on the spur of the moment. I think that it might be better to use fewer colours than in a regular painting simply because there does come a point where the paper is saturated and will no longer want to absorb the pencil. This occurs much sooner than on a better quality paper.

pencil portrait of Scott Eastwood
Pencil portrait of Gwyneth Paltrow

I am loving filling in my “new” sketchbook with all these portraits. I am also loving seeing a progression and improvements in my technique.

The lesson for anyone I suppose is just to keep drawing or painting no matter the subject, no matter the medium. If art makes you happy, you are doing the right thing.

4 Responses

  • Don’t you dare every doubt yourself Louise. I know I keep saying it, but you never cease to amaze with what you are naturally talented to do. I know you loved being an English teacher but perhaps Art should have been your subject.

    • My original idea long ago was to study fashion illustration. But we sometimes think we are going in one direction and end up in another….I look forward to seeing your artwork. Your teacups are a great start! Now you must decide if you will colour them. Keep me posted.

  • You are very creative Louise , love your beautiful art work !!
    Talented in many ways , keep up your passion in life xox

    • Thanks Fran. I can get lost in it for hours….but I am also a little unfocused at times wanting to try everything.

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