Monday, November 29, 2010

Colored Pencil: Times Square

I took a bunch of photos in New York last month and some will become reference material.
I did this one from Times Square over Thanksgiving weekend.
Below is the original photo. I cropped it quite a bit to focus on the people in the center section.

I wanted to make the picture fairly large so I printed my reference out on 11x17 paper and gridded it off in 1" squares. I know, that's probably considered "cheating" but I don't have the time to invest in a drawing that's going to turn out dis-proportional! (I saw a "cartoon" by a Renaissance artist that had holes punched in it so his assistants could pat chalk through the holes to create the guidelines on the wall to help him begin his mural. If the Old Masters can do it, so can I!)
I put crosshairs on my paper at the intersections of the inch marks. I didn't sketch any outlines;
instead, I just laid down the all light and dark shapes and then fit all the rest in between, referring to my guidelines until I had the basic shapes of the entire scene in place.

Below is the original colored pencil drawing.
I wasn't crazy about the paper but it was the only kind I had on hand that was big enough.
There was too much texture and I couldn't get the color as intense or as solid as I wanted it. 

Problem solved with a bit of help from Photoshop! I played with the levels and brightness/contrast.

And then just for fun, I hit it with the Poster Edges filter. One way to deal with something you don't like is to make the "problem" more pronounced. I didn't like the original texture but after darkening and emphasizing it, it's kind of cool.


  1. Love it! I could play with pictures all day. I probably need to ask Santa for Photoshop. :)

  2. It's kinda VERY cool!
    And we have to change the idea that using tools to make art is "cheating"'s call "creativity" :)

  3. Using a grid is not cheating at all! People think that artists have to do everything purely by eye, but really they use all sorts of tricks to help them line things up correctly.

    I really like your interpretation of this photo. The pre-Photoshop filter drawing has a flat quality that works well with the bright colors. It kind of looks like a storybook.

  4. I love what you said about the Old Masters' "cheating".
    Your final art is very very beautiful!



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