Bluebirds in Polychromos Pencils and Pan Pastels on Pastelmat

This is what I’ve been working on. I think it’s finished, although I thought that about an hour ago as well, before I made some “final” adjustments in values and lessened the “aura” effect around the adult bird. It’s 9 x 12 in, and will be matted to 11 x 14 for a local art show in March. I love the pan pastels more every time I use them, and I’ll never use any paper other than pastel mat with them. It holds so many layers.

The lichen on the roof of the box was difficult to represent, but I’m pleased with it. The photo looks a little more grainy than the actual drawing. I keep trying to come up with a caption for this. I took the photo several years ago and have thought about captions since then. I’m not that creative with things like funny captions!


Looks great! I’ve still got watercolor to become proficient at after pen and graphite followed by markers and colored pencils, I’ll get to pastels later when I can trust self to end up somewhere not horrible while in the “ugly stage” and getting discouraged.

If you have any free wall space, frame it and put it up their, maybes wrap some around, I’m a sucker for birds. :smiley:

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Congratulations on getting accepted to an art show @Brenda ! The piece is stunning, and the things you could imagine about the two birds make it funny as well! “Squawk” or as a meme, “No Personal Space”, hope that might help you come up with a caption! :smile:

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Thanks so much! Yes, so many different mediums!!! I’m not sure I’m made for pen and ink. I’ll find out as we do the shoes for the current live lesson!!! I did the still life in the line and wash course. I was so dissatisfied with my background so I put polychromos pencils over it, burnished with turpenoid and am at least ok with it. It survived the urge to rip it up. :crazy_face:


Thanks @TheMustardSeedLife! I keep going back to “Feed me, Seymour!!!” But the reference to “Little Shop of Horrors” would be lost on some folks.

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I’m VERY eager to work along with the new live lesson set. I personally think Pen and Ink is the heart of finding the shapes of things and a little bit about value. No worries about color, just the contour without warping and proportion twisting mistakes.

Pen and Ink breaks value down to different density of shading methods so finding 4 or 5 separate values is a good way to start instead of “Which shade of brown is closest both the hue and value of that brown”

So it’s currently my favorite medium, as a raw beginner with no art history and not so good eye hand coordination and no eye for value. I use those little pixabay card sets to figure out which value things are, after adding a red or green filter if the image is color. (Green if subject contains red, but red if subject contains green and red is better overall at making something monotone)

Even before figuring out the values, I just need to get the lines correct to match, you can see some of my sad entries in the various threads of people doing the Pen and Ink course.

I started in July with “line and wash”, pen and ink then filled with watercolor. Followed a ton of tutorials but they didn’t really hit home. Then I found “Getting Sketchy” and learned a ton binging on every single TVI video on YouTube for a few months, then I signed up here.

I suppose if you’re already good at drawing by eye and getting contours correct, Pen and Ink might seem a boring sidetrack, but for me, it’s the most bare bones" way of learning line/form/value bits of art with no clutter of colors or expensive brushes/pastels/pencils/(insert any art material here for expensive stuff, as in high 2 or low to mid 3 digit price tag to get going with the suggested materials).

I got lucky and inherited/was given a couple tubs of stuff brand new which is what got me started in July, but now it has cost me way more than that initial collection of stuff was worth, by maybe 10x… But - I have Art Stix! I can actually do that module, they’re just woodless colored pencils, while the NuPastel are a softer version of those but not as soft as soft pastels, kind of in between.


You did a great job. Good luck with the art show. It should do well. Keep up the good work. Love it.

I get it! Great reference! lol

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Wow - this is fabulous! Love the colors, the animation of the squawking bird.

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Love it! How about “Maaama!!!”

Very nicely done. I agree with you assessment of the pan pastels. They are an interesting medium.

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Thank you, Linda! I love the pan pastels more all the time. The only complaint I have is using them on pastel mat paper really eats up the little spongy applicators. I really like the little plastic applicators with the slip-on sponge covers, but they don’t last very long at all. I’m going to investigate cosmetic sponges in different sizes to see if I can come up with suitable, less expensive options.


Hi Brenda. Let me know if they last a bit longer. I found the same issue. But I really enjoyed working with them as background for my colored pencil work. I’ve learned so much from these courses that I’ve surprised myself.

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Yes!!! They are such a great medium to use with colored pencils! I’ll post here if I find a solution to the applicator issue.


I love the floral skull watercolor piece! Its gorgeous and very well done!

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Thanks, @wren07. I didn’t think I’d enjoy doing it at all. Now the more I look at it the more I like it and think I’ll finish the course. :slight_smile:


Well, im glad you were wrong!:blush: youre doing great! Keep ot up!

Thank you so much!!! I’ve been in a “lull” for a couple of weeks, and I’m feeling the urge to get back to work. I’m doing the live lesson, the pen-and-ink sneakers, and I’m really enjoying it! I appreciate the support!


Your work is beautiful. Congrats on being in an art show!

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Thank you so much, Emily! I’m having a really great time. :slight_smile: