Strokes - Rainbow Bird of Paradise

Below are the strokes you will use for the Rainbow Bird of Paradise project.

Loop stroke: The Loop is created by holding the pencil at a 45-degree angle and making overlapping whorls without lifting the pencil off the paper. The size of the loops and the pressure I use while making them depend on what I am working on. If I am working on the backside of the film, trying to cover large areas with color, I will typically make a pretty large loop, perhaps a quarter inch high, and I will use medium pressure, the same pressure I might use when writing. This stroke really works better on film when the pencil is slightly dull because the strokes become softer and blend better.

Feather: Similar to the loop stroke but smaller. When I need a very smooth and blended look, my loops will be much smaller, smaller than the diameter of the pencil lead. I use this stroke to blend or feather one color into another. Starting with a medium pressure away from the feathered area, and lightening up to very light pressure as I approach the feathered area.

Directional: To create directional lines, you hold the pen at about a 45-degree angle to the surface, gripped just behind the exposed wood of the point and lay down a series of parallel lines side-by-side, like the weave in a cloth. Holding the pencil in the manner gives you the control you need to create the strokes.

Fretting: This is a type of cross-hatching that I have developed and use in just about all my artwork. Frets are four parallel lines crossed at a 90-degree angle with four other parallel lines, sort of like small tic-tac-toe boards. Fretting needs to be done with a very sharp pencil held just as you would when writing. This gives you the fine control needed to create this stroke. Create frets at 45-degree angles to each other, trying not to have adjacent frets angled the same direction. Here is an example of how it's done:

Keep adding new blocks (frets) at angles to the ones already created.

Though fretting may at first seem tedious, I love the relaxed and meditative aspect it, and my students have told me they do as well. Unlike other aspects of colored pencil work, fretting requires very little problem solving and is excellent for escaping into a relaxed state of mind.



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