|Step One: With a color photocopy of a reference photo, I rearranged and cropped elements of the poppy composition. Using an HB pencil and light pressure, I drew my composition onto four-ply, 100% cotton museum board (frequently found among framing supplies.)|
|Step Two: Using very light pressure, I started applying the first colored pencil layer, adding more emphasis where the values will be deeper. Note that the pencil application still appears granular and that the texture of the museum board is still visible.|
To create the veins in the leaves and the fuzzy texture of the pod and stem, as well as the individual strands of stamens, I put down a sheet of translucent drafting paper. (Heavy tracing paper works as well.) With a very sharp 7H graphite pencil and heavy pressure, I drew the lines for veins, fuzz, and stamens on the drafting paper, impressing them into the surface of the museum board. Following that step with a contrasting layer of darker color, these features show up dramatically on the leaves, stem, pod, and center of the flower. I also added deeper values of rose in the shadowed areas of the flower petals.
To intensify the colors and to make them appear less granular, I began blending with a clear, alcohol-based blending marker. The solvent within dissolved the binder (which may be wax or vegetable oil) in the colored pencil layer, releasing the pigment in a fluid manner. This also helped to "fill in" the flecks of the tooth of the paper, making the color appear more dense.
I continued intensifying the color, using a non-pigmented blending pencil over a previous layer; then I repeated a layer or two of color, much like a "color sandwich". This process is called "burnishing" and can be repeated for subsequent layering of color, like a double-decker or triple-decker sandwich. The rich, dark negative space was done in this manner, layering colors and burnishing, then repeating the colors for a deep, rich saturation. The deep, smeary flecks of pollen were rendered by heavily applying "freckles" of burgundy, then slightly smudging them with the tip of a blending marker. Finally, a few of the tiny wisps of fuzz on the pod and stem were scratched carefully into the board with a sharp X-acto knife, to achieve a striking contrast of light against the deep background.