Gabriele send me her picture of a Possum that she has done from scratch and has asked for my opinion as to how this could be improved in particular the leaves. The pencils that I reference below are from the Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel Pencil range.
The leaves do look a bit ‘muddy’ and this is because the base colours were not bright enough. I would have used a light grey 270 as a base then immediately applied 168 darkening them with 174 and using 104 to lighten and a touch of 199 for the very dark areas. The leaf that is circled looks bit odd with the light area on the left side, Gabriele has done this because there would have been two dark areas together, however by evening the tone of the fur slightly (A) and (B) then adjusting the leaf to be either lighter or darker than the fur on each side this could have looked great. This will take practice but would be worth the effort.
The foot that is circled should stand away more from the body fur, I would suggest darkening the fur and lightening the foot in this case.
One more tip that you will find helpful, the branch of the tree is so close to the edge of the picture that it would have been better to extend right to the top and bottom rather than have the subject ’floating’. This idea could have worked if the branch was longer but in this case it would not have been necessary.
Gabriele also asked how I know what colours to use in the build up in a picture, I have tried to answer this on many occasions but always fail. So it is a case of watching all my videos and learning from them if you watch enough and practice enough it will come in the end.
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