I selected four fruit or vegetables that I had not drawn before and which offered some variety in colour and texture, and arranged them in a very simple composition. My aim was to differentiate the texture of their skins using coloured pencils; to show the polished surfaces of the pepper, persimmon and the aubergine, which do not reflect light in identical ways. The skin of an aubergine has a bloom, compared with the pepper, which is shinier, more reflective. The pomegranate has a thicker, rough, and pitted surface whose base colour is pink with deep crimson and magenta streaks, and a few brown scars. This drawing was done with Derwent’s Inktense pencils, applied without a wash.
I am quite pleased with the aubergine and have been fairly successful in differentiating its texture from that of the pomegranate. Although the composition is not very interesting, I think that I have achieved a good balance in the colour and I am quite pleased with the way in which light plays on the different surfaces, which shows the pomegranate’s surface to be duller than the others. Finding realistic greens was a bigger challenge than the reds because the available green shades tend to be too vivid / (I have heared viridian referred to as “toxic” green) or too dull. I have tried to distinguish the brighter green of the pepper stalk from the olive-brown tones of what I assume are the sepals on the persimmon and the duller green of those surrounding the aubergine’s stalk.
The next stage was to consider ways to neutralise the brighter greens. Using the same medium, I made a colour square in which I drew strips of greens and offset these against various shades of other greens or complementary reds. This is shown below.
I extended this exercise to consider the neutral greens that might be produced if green pencils were used on different coloured background applied as washes. I used some of the same shades (various reds, sienna gold amd apple green) that I used in the previous exercise and then applied water to give a square of pale colour. I applied the same greens to each of the four sections of the square. So, for example, the top left square in each of the six samples shown is felt green and the effects of the different underwash can be compared. A central cross in each sample shows the colour of the underlying wash.
I continued with yellow / orange washes for felt green and fern. The warm sienna gold produced red-brown tones when used under these greens. I could use pink / red / gold tones with greens to mute the more vivid shades and to produce tonal shifts. The colours reproduced here are not exactly the same as those in my sketchbook.
I also used Inktense pencils on a dark blue paper (Daler Rowney Murano pastel) and selectively applied a wash to bring out their brightness against the darker ground, with soft pastel pencils for highlights. These were small, quick sketches and are shown below.