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October 17th, 2013

White on White

Kelli McNichols, an artist who specializes in botanical drawings, published a blog post discussing the technique of drawing a white subject (a snowdrop flower) on a white surface. “I think one of the biggest challenges with botanical art is how to depict a white flower on white paper. One thing to remember is that white isn’t always pure white. Shadows fall across surfaces, colors reflect from leaves onto petals, and light striking a surface isn’t uniform. All of these things can help you create form. For this drawing of a snowdrop I chose to use cool gray 30% and grayed lavender for the petals. I lightly applied these colors in the shadow areas and along the edges. Then I used my white pencil to burnish and blend the grays thereby softening any hard edges. At this point I could have taken a very sharp F or 2H graphite pencil and lightly outlined the petals. I would only do this if the piece needed to be seen from across a room. Since this was done in my Stillman & Birn Alpha Series sketchbook, the gray pencil I applied for the shading was enough. The Alpha series sketchbook is wonderful for colored pencil.” Read Kelli’s blog post here:

MEDIA: Colored Pencil
SURFACE: Alpha Series – 100 Lb. (150 gsm) – Natural White – Vellum Finish



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