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1 I used the pastel pencil for the construction lines and outline then moved on to the harder Black Conté crayon for the eyes, pupils and lower lids. Using the side of the pastel I then lightly blocked in the darker tonal areas using broad strokes. There’s no need for individual marks at this point.
2 I continued with the hard pastels, working with the darker toned ones first to create the under- painting. Even though these are hard pastels I still blend them with my fingers, but only when I have applied sufficient pastel to the paper. I often use Black underneath the Van Dyke Brown (the darkest Conté brown) to give an even darker brown. The lightest areas are almost white fur but looking closely you can see there are temperature changes between this light fur at each side of the face. Fur on the right side of the hare’s face is warm because it catches the sunlight, here I used 061 Portrait Brown. Fur to the left side is cooler so I used Light Grey 052. Note how the browns in the sunlight are a lighter, warmer shade.
3 Using the Brown Earth Unison (warm browns), Sennelier 155 (very dark brown /black) and 002 (rich brown), I started with the darkest first, working into the fur by layering thinly and blending lightly with my fingers. At this stage I like to begin the background, working the negative space to correct the shapes of the hare’s body and ears – this is useful when delicate shapes and angles are needed, particularly when working on finer details at a later stage. Next I started to add the shadows under the hare and some shading to the shadows of the snow. These are cool shadows so I used Unison lighter blues and purples. By making diagonal strokes from the hare upwards and outwards to each top corner I hoped to give a feeling of movement. I will lighten and warm the snow at a later stage.
4 Moving on to the eyes, I applied Sennelier 463 on top of a Black initially applied to the pupil which gives better depth than black alone. At this point I applied a little SAA Deep Purple over the black on the lower lid. I then used warm, darker Unison Brown Earth 12 and Sennelier 002 to work the small shadows under the upper lid to the eye corners. Grey 27 was used for the catch light in the eye with a tiny touch of SAA Cerulean at each side and a touch of bright Lemon on the outer iris. I then graduated this with Unison A16, a warm orange, down the inner edge of the iris finishing with a glow of Lemon at the bottom and a touch of Cerulean on the lower lid below the Lemon. I strengthened the tonal values to the surrounding structure above the eye using Sennelier 129, Grey 27 and SAA Yellow Ochre 7. Using the darker pastels again for the darkest fur tones I next introduced SAA Deep Purple sparingly to the darkest areas to add texture to them. I used the side of the pastel to make more linear marks rather than using the broader strokes used before. Using 061 Portrait Brown and Unison Grey I worked on the pale fur above the eyes and face and with a cooler blue grey I lit the fur on left side.
5 To give definition to the wavy fur along the back of the hare I used mid toned browns to achieve the 3D look, being careful to make the marks irregular. I then added a little more definition to the ears. Next I worked more on strengthening the background and shadow areas with the addition of blue/greys and darker purples as well as suggesting the grasses by them to make the feet go into the snow.
6 The last stage was to lighten the fur, but taking particular care not to lose the darks already created and remembering that fur has a natural movement in the way it lays. Using mid tones and lighter browns, Brown Earth 12 and Sennelier 129, the light tones were worked in, the lightest on the ears and face with Grey 27 on the warmest, lightest fur. I extended the fur into the completed background around the body and finalised the lower ground. The snow flicks, which give a feeling of movement, had to be last, and I ensured darker tones were under-painted for contrast. The final touch was the addition of a few more grasses.
I use two types:
Sanded – I used a Uart 800p for this hare. I always use a sanded paper for my animal work as it has much more tooth and therefore will hold many layers of pastel.
Canson Mi-Teintes Paper is a really reliable paper with sufficient tooth. I prefer using the smooth side and a mid tone like ‘Moonstone’ is best for the beginner. White and very dark tones are difficult to work with when starting out. If you make a mistake on either paper, use a brush to remove most of the pastel and, if necessary, a putty rubber for the rest. Never just try to apply more pastel to correct a mistake as this just clogs and muddies the paper.