On asking some of my students what topic would interest them for a workshop theme, the subject of coloured pencil on black paper arose. Hmm... I had not tried this myself other than the white pencil only on black paper, so I had to plan and start a project to gain some knowledge and procedures to pass on to my students.
Using Faber Castell Polychromos, my first attempt was on a tiger portrait and all proceeded smoothly for this one and I felt it was too straight forward, especially with the colour range. I then chose a bridled horse with some heavy shadows on the neck that helped silhouette the head and made for an attractive composition.
This drawing had many more challenges and I was therefore able to learn and adapt to the issues presented to me. The one area that commanded attention was the temperature change using black paper.
The colours that I would normally use were looking quite cool and I would have to choose a much warmer version to balance the temperature range overall. Where I would normally use a mid yellow, I would have to use a much warmer yellow/orange. The greys in particular needed needed to be warmed up too and I would use a Warm Grey III instead of a Warm Grey I.
The other main issue is the reversal of laying colours down since the darks are already there and the mid tones and light colours have to be laid in more heavily. The paper itself is lovely to work on and the Polychromos work well, as it is best approached with many light layers rather than heavy ones.
To sum up drawing on black paper, I loved it! I enjoyed being out of my comfort zone and working in a different way. I enjoyed the process of choosing different colours to the ones I would normally use and I love the subtle qualities that appear in the final image from choosing to use black paper. If you have any questions on this post, please email me.
Polychromos on black paper
10" x 9"