Monday, July 20, 2009

Eagle image and blending colored pencils

I worked with a new digital image (clip art) on Saturday. I downloaded this eagle from Fun Draw here. My husband is crazy about eagles, so I decided to see what I could make with this wonderfully high-quality (yet free) image. I was impressed!

First of all, I made a birthday card. Then I made a "thinking of you" type card. You'll see them both featured below.

I tried coloring the first time with my BIC markers, but they're a bit too strong for this project. The feathers became one huge mass of black. So I remembered reading somewhere that you can blend colored pencils with baby oil, and I decided to try it. Let me show you the results ...

Here is the image as I it started out colored with regular old Crayola colored pencils (a back-to-school special last year for $0.15/pack).

Here you can see the difference after I started blended with the baby oil. The one on the left is how it looked right after I used the colored pencils. The one on the right has had his back feathers blended, but not the branch. I wish you could see it in person because it's almost like magic when you swipe that baby oil over it!

Here's a finished closeup where you can see a little better that there are no pencil lines and it blended my shading perfectly. I'm certainly not a colored pencil artist, or a shading expert, but this turned out better than my wildest dreams! (NOTE: I did use my BIC markers on his claws and beak.)

Of course, I made a card with it. In fact, I made four of these and one birthday card:

I used my Cuttlebug die cut apart to make the decorative flourishes framing the image. This doesn't need a lot of fancying up. I liked it just how it was!

Now, for a few tips on blending with baby oil ...

First of all, don't soak your paper with the oil. It will leech out from the image and create an oily halo around it. Make some homemade blending stumps, dip them lightly in the oil, and tap off as much as possible before using them on your image. You don't want to see oil leeching through to the back of the paper when you're done. If you do, you've used too much oil.

Secondly, it's really easy to get shading with this technique. I just used a darker shade (or pressed harder with the pencil, depending on the color) and drew a line where shadows would be. Nothing fancy, almost no thinking involved (except to remember where your light source is coming from). Then, as you're applying the baby oil, "pull" that darker color out to mix with the lighter color. It's really easy, and you'll probably end up doing it without even realizing it!

You couldn't ask for a more frugal coloring alternative. It's even cheaper than BIC markers! :) I doubt there's a house anywhere that has children and no colored pencils. And how cheap is baby oil? I've had the same bottle sitting in my cabinet since before my oldest child was born 5+ years ago, and I had only used about 1/4 of the bottle in that time period. Besides, this doesn't use much oil at all.

So, there you have it - another technique that I've added to my frugal arsenal. It was lots of fun!! If you try it, let me know what you think!


Esther said...

Beautiful job, sort of like using the watercolor pencils only cheaper (you don't have to buy special pencils!). Love that card and sentiment together!

Sophia said...

Yes, they do remind me somewhat of watercolor pencils. The big advantage is that this doesn't warp your paper like watercolor pencils do to regular cardstock. And for some reason, I get a better effect with this than with my watercolor pencils. Maybe it's just me. :)