About 5 months ago, I posted about a few drawings I was planning to make for my brother, James, and his wife, Rachel. Although I pretty much figured out what I wanted to do for the drawings back in October, I didn’t have a chance to work on it. I had hoped to make it a Christmas present, but with so much going on around the holidays, I realized that wasn’t going to happen. With my brother’s birthday coming up at the end of March, I decided to finally finish them up for a nice birthday surprise.
After talking with Rachel about the previous sketches I made, we zeroed in on three that they liked best. Rachel also had a fun idea to add a little “surprise” element to each drawing, which I was happy to explore.
I did some more sketching to work out the composition of each drawing, including the new added surprise elements.
Once the planning was over, I started drawing the originals with black and gray markers.
Since I’d done so much preparation with sketches, the final drawings came together really quickly. Most of each is drawn with only black and gray marker, but each of the added surprise elements is a bright color that I added using prismacolor colored pencils.
I added a branch, bird’s nest and leaves to the abstract birch forest. Initially I had planned to only color in the egg, but I couldn’t resist adding a fresh green to the leaves. Although having two colors in the drawing is a little different than the other two, I think it work for this drawing, and I also think the three drawings still work as a set.
All the drawings were done on 13″ x 13″ Canson drawing paper. I cut a few extra sheets when I was getting ready, so once the birthday drawings were done, I got to work on another large gray drawing of a pattern style I’ve been working with lately in sketchbooks and on smaller pieces of paper.
If you’re an artist, how do you like to work on final pieces? Do you do a lot of sketches beforehand and plan out what you are going to do, or do you start with a blank piece of paper or canvas and dive right in?