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 Highland Cow in Pastel Pencil

You will need

Derwent Pastel Pencils:

Pale Pink P180, Tan P570, Chocolate P590, Burnt Carmine P610, Venetian Red P630, Terracotta P640, Blue Grey P690, Carbon Black P710, Titanium White P720.

Derwent paper stump, Derwent pastel pencil sharpener, Derwent battery eraser.

HB pencil, plastic eraser, dusting brush.

Spare paper to test your colours and strokes and to clean the paper stump

Tracing paper or Tracedown paper, drawing board or foamboard, masking tape 





Step 1

Trace or draw your outline onto pastel paper. If drawing it straight on, use a white pastel pencil, as this will merge into the final drawing. Toffee coloured Canson Mi Tiente paper was used here, as it acts as a mid-tone for the cow portrait.





Tip: start at the top and work downwards to avoid smudging. 




Step 2

Apply a base layer of colour; white for the top of the horns, tan for the bottom, terracotta over the face and ears, Venetian Red for the eye with a Titanium White highlight. Use Burnt Carmine for the shadow above the nose, Titanium White for the bright part of the nose and whiskery part, Tan for the gap between the Burnt Carmine and Titanium White and Blue Grey for the chin. Add Burnt Carmine shadows to the side of the face and Chocolate to the neck.




Tip: use a light touch for the first layers, pressing more heavily for the later highlights.




Step 3

Blend the colours into the grain of the paper using a paper stump, working from top to bottom, light to dark.






Tip: apply the colours in directional lines following the contours of the animal’s face.




Step 4

Add more lights and darks and define the features. Layer some Blue Grey on the lower half of the cow’s right horn to suggest shadows. Draw out a few white hairs over the forehead. Add a line of Tan between the left side of the face and the left ear, to make the ear recede. Define the animal’s right ear by adding more Terracotta, even though it will be covered by longer hairs in the next stages. Start to create texture and tone on the darker areas of the coat by adding Chocolate in linear strokes, leaving some of the previous colour showing through. Define the face by adding Chocolate to the bridge of the nose and the throat, more Titanium White to the tip of the nose, Blue Grey to the lip and chin.







Step 5

Continue shading coat and shadows on face with Burnt Umber, then add more Terracotta to coat and face, blending again to fill the tooth of the paper. You can leave it unblended if you want a less ‘finished’ look.








Step 6

Introduce more mid-tones and lights with Tan, Yellow Ochre and Titanium White to bring the Highland cow to life. Bring some lighter strands of hair over the face, starting from the top of the forehead and extending some strands over the eye to make the eye seem deep-set. Draw in a suggestion of the back using the colours previously used on the coat. Make sure some Terracotta still shows on the bridge of the nose and draw a few light hairs towards the bottom of the nose to give more shape to the face. Darken the coat where needed with Carbon Black.


Leave for a while to see if any more adjustments are needed, but resist the temptation to fiddle too much or the freshness will be lost.



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