Linda Hampson 10th June 2022
Drawing A Pet with Pastel Pencils
Linda Hampson is well known to members of OVAS and a regular exhibitor in our Summer Exhibitions where her work is much admired. On a wider canvas [ahem!] she is a prestigious member of the Society of Botanical Artists and in 2013 a recipient of the Derwent Award for "outstanding work in the coloured pencil medium".
She has also exhibited in her native South Africa and in New York, concentrating on depicting the living world in all its manifestations, not just domestic pets, as tonight, but plants, birds and wild animals of many sorts.
East Devon is lucky to have her working as a popular locally based tutor.
For our OVAS demo, Linda used pastel pencils to work on a portrait of a domestic cat. She usually uses Pastelmat paper as it can take quite a lot of layers without becoming clogged up, plus it takes acrylic paint or granite paste , and you can do an under painting if you want.
Her preferred choice of pencils are Fabre Castel , Caran D’Ache or Rexel Derwent as you can mix all three. She advises beginners to buy the tin of 60 Fabre Castel pencils to get the full range of colours, and a white Caran D’Ache pencil for fine details of animals.
For the important job of sharpening the pencils to a fine point, she uses Abronet, which is a metal sanding material, and a Stanley knife.
Linda offered the advice, if using a photo reference, to be very aware of copyright, so it’s a good idea to use your own, or a mixture of photos.
Linda mentioned that you can use a grid or tracing paper to transfer your image to the paper.
Linda’s method of working is from dark to light and she starts simply and roughly with the local colour of the animal for the first layer. She likes to get the roundness, shape and form with lively strokes , working in the direction of the fur, and leaves the eyes until later.
Linda has an ‘eye recipe’ for animals. In this instance she used yellow colour all over the iris, plus some orange, before using black for the pupil. She drew a vertical line in the middle of the pupil, then one side and the other.
As a subtle touch, she used a warm brown to darken the top third of the eye horizontally. To soften the straight edge she blended with a lighter brown and went back in with some of the orange. She used a soft white pastel for the highlights in the eye, sepia for the lids and white highlight.
The stripes or spots of an animal come last in the process and always follow the hair direction. She sometimes uses colour pencil on top of the pastel, to finish off, (eg the whiskers), but never the other way round.
Although unfinished, it is easy to imagine how this would develop into one of Linda's extraordinarily vivid artworks.