Mission Statement

The Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists is an open and diverse group of artists, collectors and admirers who share a love for the practice and perpetuation of botanical art and illustration with a fond focus on plants in the Rocky Mountain Region.
We encourage and participate in educational outreach, juried and non-juried exhibits, lectures, workshops and regular chapter meetings. The RMSBA is proud to be the very first chapter affiliation of the international organization, the American Society of Botanical Artists.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Drawing a Day 18 and a Challenge

Sketching with a Copic Pen, Renee Jorgensen's freehand work

The "Wrong" Color: Have you ever had a problem separating form from color? It's a pretty common trial for us all, and especially difficult when we're working with deep colors. Here's a tip that might help you figure out what you need to do to draw a map of the deep tones needed just for form.

Select a specimen. I have some crab apple blossoms from the tree in my front yard - probably destined to freeze! But, they're drawable.
Crabapple sprig, #2B Tombow pencil on paper, Libby Kyer

Now, let's think about form for a minute. We know fast, creased changes require at least 2 tones. Leaves, for example. Round objects require a minimum of 3 tonal changes, and 5 is so much better! Throw a piece of tracing tissue over your outline. Now, select a colored pencil, a medium dark tone,  that has nothing to do with the local color of your specimen. I'm using blue. Start laying in the  tone, to represent form, laying in tonal values in broad areas that are only about shape. Since the color I'm using is the "wrong color", I find I'm more likely to just deal with dark areas that are about form, as I have no access to local color.

Polychromos pencil on tissue on top of graphite drawing, Libby Kyer

Here's my tissue, on top of the drawing. You can easily see, I'm talking about light and dark, not local color.

Pull the tissue away from you sketch. You'll still see  "shapes" even though there are no outlines. This means, you've got the right tonal values in the right place to create good form.

Form separation, showing using the "wrong color" to explore tonal values needed for form, Polychromos on tissue, Libby Kyer.

You can see that it's hard to confuse form and local color if the color you're using doesn't relate to your specimen. You separate thinking about form into one exercise, and mapping local color when you're planning your palette with another. This works really well for specimens that have local color that is tonally very close to that needed for form. The blossoms in this image in reality are a deep rose hue, with no white anywhere. The leaves are deep green, that is about the same tone exactly as the rose hue.

Give it a try! Don't forget to share your successes with us on the blog!

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