Project: Seagull on a Post, Part 1

My Prismacolors are here! I know it’s a holiday, but I was so excited to start using these.


I’m doing this drawing on my Strathmore Mixed Media paper (11×14), with a vellum surface. It’s a 90lb. paper, which is heavy enough to accommodate wet media as well as dry, but I haven’t attempted any painting yet. I like that it is a thick and sturdy paper and has a little tooth to it but is still relatively smooth. It also has convenient tear-out pages that are actually the size they are supposed to be (some sketchbooks’ measurements go all the way to the binding so they aren’t true to size if you tear out the page). Anyway, even though this is technically a sketchbook, I like the paper enough to use it for finished drawings.


I started the project by making matching grids on my paper and photo reference (a photo I took in San Francisco almost 10 years ago). I don’t usually do this except when working on a larger scale (18×24 +), but I thought it would be helpful to break up the vast background of water into more manageable portions.

As usual, I sketched out the scene, this time with the help of the grid.


I started adding color to the foreground starting with the seagull, the focal point of the drawing. It’s pleasing to have so many colors to choose from, but also a little overwhelming! Multiple percentages of warm vs. cool gray is confusing. I find that, although I’m relatively happy with the realism of the drawing, the colors are definitely not true to the reference. But I think I’m okay with it. These pencils lay down color so smoothly; it’s a whole different experience from before. It was fun picking out places where there are colors you don’t necessarily expect to see, like the blue and purple in the seagull’s wing. I burnished the right side of the post with a pale blue color because the shadow appeared to me to have a slight bluish tint. (Burnishing: applying heavy pressure to the pencil or a blender until you flatten the tooth of the paper and no white shows through.)



A close up.


That’s all I have so far, but I’m so excited to keep working on this project!

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