I thought I would do a detailed, step by step on doing horse hair using watercolor pencils. This painting is being done on Arches 140# hot press watercolor paper. If anyone has any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Here, I applied the base colors dry. I tend to scribble with little thought, other than following the directions that the hairs run.
Colors used: Chocolate, Dark Blue, Indigo Blue and Violet/Wine
Note: The colors mentioned are descriptive names, NOT the actual names on the pencils. Why did I do it this way? Well heres an example, Sanguine. . . what the heck color is Sanguine? (It’s a ginger/pumpkin color for those who are curious.) Also, I usually use multiple shades (2 or 3) of each color listed.
Here, I added water and blended out the color. I tend to use small brushes (For this, I used a #5 round.) I prefer to use cheap brushes, as the scrushing action (not a real technical term) of lifting the pencil into a liquid paint, tends to ruin the brushes.
I select the area to work in by following the muscle shapes or shiny coat lines. I do this, so if there are any heavy lines of pigmentation around the edges, they work with you in laying in a denser color for the shadows. In this instance, I worked the main neck muscle up to the shoulder line.
I wet a small area at a time, working quickly, so there is a minimum of hard edges. Again, try to follow the hair growth. It will look a little patchy. But because multiple layers will be applied, how it looks at this stage is kinda irrelavent.
Note: You could use a larger brush. Just be aware that this will put down more water. You may want to consider using heavier papers or stretching your lighter weight papers if buckling becomes a problem.
After the paper has dried (approximately 1-2 minutes) I add the second layer, again following the direction of the hair.
Colors Used: Chocolate, Purple, Terra Cotta, Indigo, and (very limitedly) Black.
Then apply water wash as before.
Hair effects are created by scraping a sharpened pencil through the existing layers of color, while the paper is still wet. I generally don’t do this over the entire painting. On this painting, I will only use this technique for the extreme highlights on the face and crest of the neck, as this is where I want my attention to be. Most of the neck will be done with a dry pencil.
Here, along the crest (top of neck) the scrape marks are freshly done. While the scrape marks in the area of the neck have had additional color applied, with a dry pencil for more subtle blending.
Note: If your paper dries before you finish with scraping in hair, just re-wet the paper using your brush. A Q-tip also works well to wet, as well as to lift off areas of intense color.
The neck area is now half done. All of this work was done dry. I burnish in color until the paper no longer accepts more. Then if necessary, I go in and wet the paper again. This will allow me to continue to add more layers of color.
Colors Used in Shadow Area: Chocolate, Purple, Terra Cotta, and Indigo.
Colors Used In Highlights: Cinnamon, Ginger, Periwinkle and Light Blue.
This is pretty close to being completed here. I say pretty close because as I work, I tend to go back in and adjust coloring to fit the rest of the painting. Nothing is really considered completed until I have signed the painting.
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