This week I have finally got stuck back into the Cassowary I started months ago.  I know I have been slack, it’s been staring at me since before Xmas, but I made a point of getting back into it on the weekend and I must say I am so happy that I did.  It has been too long since I have worked with my favorite medium (soft pastels).  The feeling of getting your hands into it is incredible and the brightness of the pigments in them always blows my mind.  As you can see in this picture the blues are just beautiful.  The next step is the reds in the neck which will also be extremely vivid.  Hopefully by next weeks blog, I will be able to show you all the finished piece.

Cassowary in Soft Pastel

I worked on the background a lot and am pretty happy with where its at.  I wanted a muted dark look depicting the dense bush and rainforest these guys are native too.  So I chose dark browns, greens and blues to achieve this.  To keep the colours visible over the black, you put them down first and blend them in.  The black gets added at the last stage around the other colours and then blended up to them.  If you laid a solid black down first and then tried to put the lighter colours on top, when you blended them together the black would always come to the top and you would lose the brightness of the lighter colour giving you a muddy effect.  You can always go darker but it is much harder to make something lighter.

Another tip is, I have used a white sanded pastel paper as the substrait.  Even though the majority of this drawing is dark, most would assume that I would use a black pastel board.  However white works best to keep the brightness and vividness of the beautiful colours in the cassowary.  They would all be a bit duller if I drew them over black.  So if you want a pastel to stay really bright, then always use white.   🙂    I am actually going to start another leopard pastel soon which I will use a black sanded pastel board because I want it rather subdued and looking like its just getting the light as its walking forward.  So stay tuned for this to see the difference.

So now I’ve probably bored anyone who isn’t into pastels haha  but I hope to give many tips and insights into all the different mediums I use.  Don’t be shy to shoot me a message if you have any questions.

Until next week, Kerri x


Using Resin over my drawings

I’ve finally started to try the Resin I bought at the beginning of the year, I think I was just too scared to use it for these reasons

a) if I stuff it up, then I have just ruined my artwork that I have spent hours creating and    b) it costs so much money

Well, I bit the bullet and used it over my latest elephant drawing I did in Caran D’ache Graftwood pencils, (which I love by the way).  I think I will do a blog post explaining how much I love these at a later date haha.


So this is the resin I used and I must say I am pretty impressed with it.  I bought it for the main reason that it is odourless.  I have used epoxy resins before with my work and they stink. So this being odourless is perfect for my makeshift art studio in the garage which is directly joined to the house.  Don’t want to stink everyone out and have them whining at me 🙂

I purchased this from Glass Coat themselves for around $65 for the 500mm but once you added postage it was closer to $90, which is a huge amount of money to waste if I wrecked it, it’s also a large amount of money to factor into the cost of a painting for resale.  I think out of this pack I would just get 3 x 400mm square panels covered.  I’m pretty sure I could get it cheaper within my industry so I will have to do some homework on that because it really isn’t feasible to keep using it at this price.

Anyway, apart from the price, I absolutely love it.  It is really easy to use and the bubbles come straight out with a heat gun.  Here’s a little video of me pouring it and then going over with the gun.  You can also use tweezers to pick out any bits of dust etc. that may fall on it, but this needs to be done while it is still wet.  It is a must to undertake this whole process in a dust free environment.  I just used my daughter’s little tanning tent and pegged a sheet to the front and then the whole garage is off limits to everyone for the next 12hrs while it’s drying.  It’s not perfect but seems to keep 90% of the dust out.

elephantSo this is my elephant before I poured the resin on and if you check out this video you will see it after it has resin on it.  It is really hard to get a good photo once the resin is on due to the shine but you can get a good idea with the video.

It worked out great and like I said was very easy to do.  All you need is three  empty plastic cups.  I large and 2 small.  The large one I used was one of the red cups for beer pong and the smaller ones were just the really cheap clear cups. One stirring stick or a bit of stiff cardboard and a heat gun.  Just remember that anything you are pouring the resin into or stirring it with will be ruined as it doesn’t clean up very well.

Another must is to have your painting dead set level or as the resin dries it will gradually pour off to whatever side is the lowest.  This is so important as the resin takes many hours to set off so it will move if it isn’t level.

So you pretty much just pour equal amounts of each part of the resin into the small clear cups (enough to cover your work) and then transfer those both into the large red cup and mix really well.  Once you are sure they are blended together well you can then just pour it over your artwork.  Using the same piece of cardboard you used to stir with you can level it over the resin to make sure that all of the art is covered fairly evenly.  Like I said it will slowly move by itself but I like to give it a help along just to be sure.  Once I am happy that the coverage is total and even,  I then use a heat gun for maybe 30 seconds to just go over the surface.  This will instantly get out any bubbles that have formed during the mixing process.  Check all over for any bits of fluff etc and remove those with tweezers.  I usually run back over quickly with the heat gun if there have been a few bits to remove.  And that’s it.  Just walk away and come back in the morning to see how it turned out.

I will do another post on how I built the shadow box frame for this elephant art.

If you have any questions about using resin, be sure to comment below.

Until next week, Happy Painting 🙂

Kerri xx

Art Technique – Fur

Okay so here we go,  I will try and explain how I achieve a Fur look to my  animal portraits.

I think this is much more achievable in Pastels than most other mediums due to their softness, bleopard-furut the basic principals apply to all.  To start with you need to figure out your Light, Medium and Darks.

In this L14569146_10208432480422850_566614716_neopard Drawing I used basically these range of colours in both pastel pencils and soft pastels.  I always use about 20 different colours but these are the basic Light , Medium and Dark range.

Once I have figured out what colours I’m using I then put down a fairly solid cover in the Medium range.  This then gives me a base that I can work the fur up with by adding the various darks and lights as pictured below.fur-stripFor thick fur you need to look at the shapes within the fur, try not to look at it as heaps of fine lines,  you really need to try and section it into clumps and work on a small area at a time.  For short hair I find that it works best to build up the colours with short strokes but always make sure that these strokes are going in the direction of the fur.

Remember that fur strokes are not perfect so this is crucial in making your fur look realistic.  Try not to use repetitive strokes in a straight line.  Although if you step back and it looks too straight you can always go over this to fix it.  The beauty of Pastels 🙂


This above demonstration is very basic but you can see the use of the dark, medium and light in giving the fur depth.  You can build this up and up by increasing the amount of difference between the darkest darks and the lightest lights, however too much can make it look clumpy, kinda like wet fur, which the bottom demo is getting close too.  For softer fur you wouldn’t use the extreme ends of the dark and lights but rather use a smaller range of middle colours as below.

img_7888I will try and explain better in the steps as shown above.

  1.  Lay a ground of a medium colour with some darks.  You really need to study your reference image here as it is crucial to get an idea of where the darks will be right from the outset, you will make your life a whole lot easier.
  2. Its a bit hard to see in the next image but still using a medium tone colour (a bit lighter than the background) you can start to mark out where the clumps of fur will go.  Again this is another important stage.  Be sure not to make the marks too uniform.  Pay close attention to which way the hair is moving.
  3. Once you are pretty happy with your sections of fur its time to start adding some dark to give the fur depth.  So this is added where the clumps of fur would recede into the animals skin, causing shadows.  So basically anywhere you think a shadow would form you can add some dark.  Make sure you go lightly here as it is best to build up the layers rather than try and get it dark in one go.
  4. Next for the lights.  The lights should go on the top and ends of the fur clumps,  wherever you think the light would be hitting the fur.  Again go lightly so you can build up those layers.
  5. In this step I have added another medium to dark colour.  Now you have your darks and lights marked in you can start to see where the fur is falling.  By adding some other medium to dark colours helps to create a more realistic look.  So at this stage I just lightly add a few strokes here and there as I think is needed.  Remember to always step away from your work to judge this.
  6. The final layer.  This is where I would add my lightest highlights just on the sections that I think the light would be hitting the strongest.  I will also add some squiggly fine hair lines here to really bring out that realism.

Ok well if you can’t understand what the hell i’m talking about here just leave me a comment and we’ll chat haha.  I think I have kinda covered all the do’s and don’ts that I can think of so until next week.

Happy Painting

Kerri xx