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Fashion Illustration Art, Blending Facial Colors

Shadows and Pigment Using Color Pencils


I first started drawing when I was in elementary school and became very good at drawing trees. When I got to middle school it was the first time I had learned that the eyes are the window to the soul. I had an art teacher who was fascinated with eyes. She was very inspired by them, so it inspired me about them. It help that she made us do several pages of eyes for homework. This was the only time I had ever seen a teacher in public school give art homework. But, she did and while everyone else hated her, I was inspired by it. So, she went on to teach about shadows and pigments. She took away our black and white, and always told us to try to use darker colors than what you were already using to darken or lighten, instead of just going directly to you black or white to mix in for shadows. Kind of like math when we are taught to not go to your calculator and do the long division instead. It does work! It kind of trains you to have patients.

Female faces are easy. Soft tints and pastel like colors make blending easy.

Light It up

Did you know that all of these colors work together in a printer just to print words on paper everyday. You would think that all it would take would be just to have a black ink cartridge and that would be enough, right? Wrong! It's amazing that it needs a color cartridge too and not just for printing out color pictures. It actually needs all of it, even though you're just printing out a report!

Adding color to a drawing brings it to life. Color pencils, even though you're sketching, can be like paint brushes in your hand. Just different strokes. It's all in the way you look at it! A drawing can be quite flat, with just pencil or even charcoal but, when blended with color just so can be transformed into something remarkable. Seems to light up!

Bringing Life to a Sketch

I sketched a rendition of this ad out of a magazine. Very simple and flat because it's a sketch, right? Look what happened when I added color. It comes to life.

Starting to Blend Skin Color

Now, you can see how it starts to transform the picture, somehow giving it more depth. It doesn't take much. Just a little bit of color in the right places can make all the difference, and it will change right before your eyes. When you look at the hairline you can see that pulling from the edge of where the first pencil for the hair was draw. When you pull gently from the end line with the pencil, let's say light brown, from that line in nice easy short strokes like a brush, that it makes depth and gives the illusion of shadow so that it actually looks like the hair is laying up on its own. You can also do this throughout the hair when you get the hang of it. But like anything else, that is worth doing, it takes practice so keep drawing! :-)

Fashion Illustration Video

This video is on point when I talk about what you can ultimately achieve when you blend facial features properly. I realize that it may be on a different level, but it makes the fashion drawing come together for the designers as they design the next big thing! The more life like the model on paper looks the better. This video brings that to life! They also show you how to make the sheen on the skin that makes the fashion  design pop all that much more. Illustration like this motivates the designers for the next trend.

Sharpie Effect

I used a fine line sharpie to outline this ad picture. Be careful when using a liner on the face. In fashion drawing it can be devastating if it's too much. Remember, they are permanent markers you cannot erase! So you have to be careful, and put some thought into where the shadows are. Because when you put pen to paper, it's permanent. But, if successfully done can really make it pop! :-)

One More Thing!

There are large, medium, and fine line sharpies and yes, you can do whole pictures and drawings with them. They can really make your drawing pop. 

But, in the world of fashion illustration, moderation is the key. You know, too much of a good thing can destroy a picture in fashion. It will make it or break it. So learn the technique. 

There are also other fine line art pens that are even better. Because sharpies are essentially glorified markers that perform modified basic tasks, they are sold just about anywhere because you can do a lot with them. But if you want your lines a little more delicate, not quite so rigid and more flowing in your hand then it would do you one better go look for art pens. These are sometimes sold in Wal-Mart's in the art drawing section where the sketch pads are. But, for sure in art stores, craft stores and some fabric stores. They are look more like pens or automatic pencils and it says what they are on the package. They can range in price a bit, so if you are new to these you might want to get the regular point and not the finest point they have until you get used to working with them.

Men's Faces

Men's faces are a whole different ball park. They wear all of their emotion on their face, because they don't wear makeup to cover anything up. Frankly, they are not good at hiding it, either. Then, there is the beard you have to contend with. Even when they are shaven there is still a shadow. But, challenging as it may seem, don't stop trying. Take a break and a deep breath. For some artist drawing men's faces is a daunting task. They have more rugged facial features. It takes more study so, take your time. Everybody has some kind of artistic block that stops them dead in their tracks. That's when you need to forge on and do it anyway. It will be conquered, I promise.

Charcoal Pencils

There is charcoal, and then there are charcoal pencils. Sometimes you can get them in packs of three. You get a extra black layout pencil, and a soft and medium pencils. But, nonetheless, it's still charcoal so you are still going to have some powdering from use, after all, it's charcoal! Just in an easier form to control. Your eraser is important too. You need to be sure and get an eraser that says it erases charcoal too. Most regular pencil erasers do not. It just smears the charcoal. So make sure you get one that does say that it erases charcoal. Blending charcoal and color pencil is not an easy task, but it is just a form of using a blending tool or blending your color pencil just as you would a paint brush. Working with a hairline, like the picture below. If you'll notice, it forms the shadow that creates the illusion of the shadow cast from the hairline on his forehead Don by blending the color pencil with the charcoal from the drawn hair.

Charcoal Drawing

This drawing is mostly charcoal. The skin tone is color pencil and shadow but, eyes, eyebrows, beard and hair, also parts of the mouth are charcoal. The hair was particularly challenging because there is so much of it. This was done from a photograph. It took me four days to do. Charcoal , even in pencil form, is not very forgiving, and like regular pencil you have to sharpen it a lot. It goes down very fast. Charcoal is also very soft so you use a lot of it and have to be very careful sharpening or you will wind up with a stump instead of charcoal to draw with! Pay attention to the direction of the light and dark on the face. The nose is always a good indicator of the direction of light and how the shadows are cast. Use this to your advantage. I use a lot of light and dark in my sketches. It can be your friend.

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Fashion Illustration Art, Blending Facial Colors
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