This year one of hubbby’s Christmas gifts was a pastel drawing of a Barn Owl (Tyto alba). I have always been fascinated by owls and the barn owl is no exception. The colored banding on their face and dark eyes gives them an other-worldly look.
This drawing was done with PanPastel, soft pastels, and pastel pencils on black charcoal paper. I used the PanPastel to block in the major shapes then switched to the soft pastels and pastel pencils as I added the finer details. The texture of the charcoal paper really grabs onto the pastel so I was able to add many layers in order to build up the different feather textures.
One of the benefits of working in black and white is that you can focus on value (how light or dark an object is) rather than color matching. Value is what makes a piece realistic; the dark eyes look round because I have used a full range of tones. The bright white highlight and light gray crescent under the pupil help create the illusion of the eye having dimension. Placing lighter feather near the eyes helps them appear to sink into the face which gives it a more natural look. The next time you work on one of your drawings look for those areas of light and dark. The more you train your eyes to see them the better your drawings will be!
Until next time…keep those pencils sharp!