Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Le Fruit by Mucha

When I began working on this Alphonse Mucha image I planned to use five colors in mind: grey, blue, pink, flesh, violet. When I finished I ended up using more tones and tints. It was great, those helped add depth. 

I also thought I'd use wet media for this but decided that it was too risky, I didnt want to end up ruining the reverse sides' images. I love this Mucha coloring book of mine, published by the Mucha Trust, and I don't think I could forgive myself if something happened to these near-sacred images. 

I know, I know "why don't I have it reprinted in watercolor paper". Truth is it takes time. I usually have one of two print shops do the image transfer for me. One is in UP Diliman and the other is in Joli's España. And I usually don't want to wait. I can't wait. Once I choose an image I like I'd want to get down to coloring it at once. At that very minute. Wish I had a reliable printer at home instead. That should be in my list of future investments. A good, reliable laser printer like Ver's.

Anyway here are the colors I picked for the skintone: Polychromos' raw umber, light flesh, and cinnamon. 
And these are the colors I ended up using.

A word about my experience coloring skin. I find that when working on skin my strokes turn naturally light. Like I almost don't want to touch the paper with my pencil tips. Works for me because then it's easier to blend the colors to produce the highlights and shadows.

I was just telling a good friend in a chatroom that when we color it takes awhile for our brain to warm up to the image even if my eyes are already familiar with the general lines. When I render colors onto spaces the image on paper seems to acquire a life of its own only after sometime, and I can feel I'm already in the zone when my mind is most susceptible to the image's suggestions of where curves, or creases, or bumps, or deflations should be. It's like my pencils have no choice but to subserviently follow the command of the drawing. I don't know if that's a familiar experience to most of you, but to me it is. I always hope to get in the zone when working on a coloring project. It cannot be planned. It's something that either happens or not. 
For Le Fruit it was when I got to the fruits. 
I found myself slowing down, enjoying each stroke of the pencil as I completed a grape. One after another. It wasn't while I was doing the skin, mind you. Maybe it was because I was too caught up getting the shading of the muscles right. 

All in all the Le Fruit was a joy to do, especially when I began to see how the psychedelic color palette I chose is far across the opposite side of the spectrum from its original colors. Am happy about the balance though, how the heavy and light colors were evenly distributed, thanks to the photo reference of the original work at the back of the book. 

I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy this coloring book more than usual. 

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