I must admit, I try and work ahead of the seasons because I exhibit my work and make cards from my drawings, so I am always trying to be a step ahead of the weather. I have found that people tend to be drawn to designs that match the time of year and the mood the weather induces in them.
As you will see, I tend to vary the colour palette I use to reflect the seasons. My main subject of choice is wildlife and nature and so the seasons to me, not only means changes of colour, but also the species of animals you may expect for the time of year. Some artists may say that the techniques they use change with the seasons, I wouldn’t say that I notice that so much. I tend to use the techniques I need to draw the subject, mostly the scumble technique to get a blended, smooth look, or using strokes of the pencil to create feathers or fur.
Obviously, when it comes to winter, it usually means Christmas is just around the corner and so images of snowy scenes and warm fires fill my mind. However my style is a little less ‘Happy Christmas’ but more an indication of Christmas. So I tend to use soft, muted tones when depicting winter’s wonderful wildlife.
Having said that, you can’t beat a good flash of orange on a robin’s breast and the plump, shiny red berries of holly.
The turn of spring is the eruption of crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils from the earth and baby chicks and lambs. It breathes of new beginnings and life. I am thinking of crisp blue skies, although that could also be said of winter, but with little splashes of yellows, pinks and purples on the ground and the promise of warmer days to come.
Inktense pencils are great for this, as they allow softer colours to be created when they’re dry but a drop of liquid means the colours ‘explode’ and add a boldness to flowers and foliage, as spring bursts into life.
As a redhead, summer isn’t my favourite time due to the heat and risk of sunburn. However I do love the colours that summer makes me dream of. I find it is the rich blues, turquoises and greens of the sea that invokes creativity in me. I am thinking of tropical islands and exotic animals in brilliant bright colours. Somehow the sunshine makes colours pop and sparkle, both abroad and closer to home.
The shiny shades of Graphitint make underwater images pop but the range of shades created by light means Coloursoft’s blending capabilities are fantastic to create the ultimate spectrum of summery shades.
Autumn boasts swathes of reds, oranges, yellows and browns on the trees as trees detoxify ready for winter. I think of orange sunsets and deep shadows as the sun gets lower in the sky. I also think of harvest and woodland creatures: owls, deer, hares, foxes and hedgehogs to name a few.
The season has a warm feel to it, but the bitterness of the season draws out animals with thicker coats. Pastel pencils duller tones bring out the finer points of animals whilst brighter shades can be created with Inktense or Coloursoft.
A Must have for all seasons
There are a few accessories that I have to have by my side no matter what time of year it is. The Derwent battery eraser is a must-have in your artbox, ideal for removing those pesky mistakes and mishaps that can occur. I haven’t yet found another eraser that matches its colour-removing ability.
The Derwent Canvas Pencil Roll is ideal for keeping your current colour palette separate when working on a piece. I have several that I take out with me when I am demonstrating how to do coloured pencil work. It also saves time trying to find that exact colour you were using!
Emma has been working in coloured pencils for 11 years now. She is a scientist by training, with a Bachelors Degree in Biology and Geology and a Research Masters in Marine Biology. She currently works in science in Flood Resilience at the Environment Agency, surrounded by nature and wildlife on a day-to-day basis. This is continued by volunteering at a wildlife garden, where we use our art to raise money for the garden.
Find out more at www.elkiewildart.co.uk