City Lights: night time sketch on black paper in mixed media
Lone figure, city night sketch, December, inktense, coloured pencil and white gouache on black paper, A5 ish
I've been meaning to try doing some sketches of the city at night for a long time. I'm constantly looking at the lights vs the pools of darkness, mysterious shapes and often a feeling of loneliness and emptiness out there, as I drive.
This is a first attempt. It's not a subject I've tackled before - but it's about the same thing that normally interests me - light, lost edges, a sense of place. It's in a Derwent black sketch pad - another item they kindly sent me :>) Coloured pencil sinks and loses intensity on black paper - but that's just what I needed to catch the sheen of light on the road, paths and buildings. the black paper flickering through the colour, helping to create the feel of light reflections over a dark surface. The reflected light on these surfaces is made up of multiple layers of scribbled marks in different colours of pencil.
I started off with Inktense blocks, using water to create washes of muted colour. These were intensified by scribbles of dry Inktense and Artists coloured pencils.
It needed more light, which I was never going to build with pencils alone, so I put down Winsor and Newton white designers gouache where I needed more intense brightness, working over it when it dried with further inktense pencils and coloured pencil scribbles. This gouache is so useful for regaining lights, mixed with watercolour it will give an infinite variety of pale colours to reclaim overworked dark areas or create a light opaque cover for this black paper. Used dry, the inktense gave a stronger cover of colour than the coloured pencils.
The lone figure is simply the black paper itself, outlined in brightness.
Mixing media in this way gave me the marks and colour intensity that I needed.
It would be interesting to do some more of these, larger and better. This was just a sketch, an experiment to find out how materials behaved and what I'd need to do to get the intense contrasts and the areas lost in darkness.