Snow Day in Louisiana
To my amazement, we actually had a real snow event in Louisiana this week. I think we got about 2-3 inches of actual snow, and it was even cold enough that it didn’t melt immediately! It’s been unusually cold this winter, which is a really nice change of pace. My wife would disagree, but I actually liked the winters at our previous stop in Northern Virginia. We were there three years, and got the opportunity to experience true seasons and occasional snow. DC/NOVA/Maryland’s snow levels are almost just right; some periodic events, but not too many that it becomes a drag. We’ve been in Louisiana now for three winters, and the first two were pretty warm. So, this unusually cold and wet winter for the region has been kind of nice.
Our oldest is fortunately old enough to take outside to check it out. So, she and I wandered around close to the house to experience this strange event. The look on her face was absolutely priceless. It was a look of amazement and extreme joy, and it was so fun to be able to watch her reactions. She had this huge grin plastered to her face the entire time we were outside. I wish our youngest could have joined us, but she still too little for 20 degree weather. This evening, I decided to take a crack at a sketch of us outside.
I actually initially considered trying to draw the snow flakes flying through the air and on our coats/hats. Unfortunately, I really lack the skill and precise hand to handle snow. Maybe someday, with practice, but definitely not with my current colored pencil skill set. The main objective was to capture our girl’s pure joy, and I think I was able to do that for the most part.
A couple of failures on this one though; my mouth ended up being extremely crooked and out of place. It didn’t seem like it was when I was drawing, but looking at the end result, it sort of looks hilarious. I think if I had used a grid on this, like I used to, it would have been better. The other thing is that I still haven’t mastered using black colored pencils. I’ve seen other artists able to achieve a very smooth coloring, but I haven’t figured that out yet with black. I can mostly achieve a smooth look with skin, but that’s about it.
It’s sort of funny, but I actually prefer the version of this drawing prior to filling in the clothes. It might have looked better if I bypassed the black, and minimally colored our clothes with a gray or lighter color. Or even if I kept the skin and hair color, but then went back to my roots with graphite pencil shading for the clothes; that might have been a cool look.
As an added bonus, I wanted to include the earliest progressions of this sketch. On the image below, the left is the earliest outline sketch, then the right is a super creepy early color fill. This one cracked me up, because it has our skin coloring and just a black circle for our pupils. We definitely look like zombies or some other frightening creature. It also transforms her smile, which I think looks genuinely happy in the final version, into sort of a wicked villain’s laugh! It’s amazing how just changing/finishing the eyes affect the interpretation of the smile so much.
Can’t you try charcoal or pastels for the black? They blend in nicely. Unless you want to stick only to coloured pencils.
Oh no, I’m definitely not a “only this way” kind of sketcher. I’m just pretty inexperienced, and haven’t been working with color very long. Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about mixing in other things!
Are pastels difficult to work with?
They’re very fun to work with. Soft pastels are like chalk, you just blend the colours with your fingers, directly on paper. You can get some nice gradients that way.
Sounds pretty cool, thanks for the advice. I definitely want to branch out more, try some new things. Hopefully it won’t take me as long to try paint or pastels as it did going from plain graphite pencils to colored pencils! (It was only 15 years, give or take…ha ha)
The expression on your daughter’s face is the best!
She was so pumped up! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone so excited about snow