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  1. #1
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    Looking for some help breaking down some Lebbeus Woods renderings

    Howdy guys,

    Been a long time since I've been here, glad I remembered the site on a whim - have been dying to dissect and discuss some renderings that are perplexing me from a personal favorite - Lebbeus Woods. Please let me know if this topic is inappropriate or in the wrong forum.

    Brief context: I work [and have been working] as an Architectural Illustrator and began dipping my toes into design work, via competitions, this year; I work almost exclusively in watercolors and have almost zero experience rendering or drawing in any other color media. My concept for this particular proposal brought me back to Lebbeus and some of his famous experimental projects I was drawn to in school. I decided to use this competition to once and for all put some hours into colored pencil - and see where they took me. I've spent the last week diligently experimenting with mixed media methods of rendering - really wish I went to art school right about now. Here are the photos in question: from his Aerial Paris series - I can't for the life of me emulate his technique for the sky.

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    I should say the closest I've gotten was powdering nu-pastel with 100grade sand paper and using a dry Squirrel Hair brush to apply it, however, finding the right color this way is difficult - I've heard he uses pencils in this rendering - I can't get it quite this smooth through a multitude of testing surfaces. Any opinions? Thoughts? Answers?

    It may be worth noting that skies are not entirely my weakness - I just can't solve this one.

    Thanks,

    Bocks


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  3. #2
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    Beautiful.

    Hmm, well the second one is a pretty straight forward water color and guouche sky painting. It's the slightly greyed in quality to the texture that's getting you? Is it a really light application of powdered charcoal into the paper texture that is then brushed back? Hard to say because we have photographic grain in the equation as well.

    The first one is a puzzle. the paper looks way grainy. Could it be just a wet in wet application with a dark blue and the two other hues? Could it be pounced or brush applied pastel dust like you think? Could it be an airbrush color application and then pencil over the top?

    Dunno. I really like looking at them though.

  4. #3
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    watercolor washes and or gouache over pencil, just great rendering skills and traditional materials used properly.

  5. #4
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    The only documentation of this piece specifies colored pencil and graphite on paper. You think he added water to that? I wonder if there are some other examples. I'm often hesitant to add water to non watercolor paper - though I will add to some mat boards, which Lebbeus commonly drew on, but these are "officially" on paper. I wonder if he's powdering his graphite and applying it with a brush - since posting I was able to achieve a much less rich effect attempting this.

    Let me put your advice to use and try some water techniques - I'll post what I can come up with tomorrow.

    By the way here is my source for materials used, could be incomplete: https://issuu.com/drawingcenter/docs...apers114_woods

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Checkerknight View Post
    Beautiful.

    Hmm, well the second one is a pretty straight forward water color and guouche sky painting. It's the slightly greyed in quality to the texture that's getting you? Is it a really light application of powdered charcoal into the paper texture that is then brushed back? Hard to say because we have photographic grain in the equation as well.

    The first one is a puzzle. the paper looks way grainy. Could it be just a wet in wet application with a dark blue and the two other hues? Could it be pounced or brush applied pastel dust like you think? Could it be an airbrush color application and then pencil over the top?

    Dunno. I really like looking at them though.
    Sorry didn't catch your response a moment ago - I have been playing with my airbrush but I have my doubts that it's what he used. I think you and I may be on to something with the powdered graphite - maybe he applied it with a dry brush over the watercolor wash? I'm going to test it out tomorrow extensively on different papers and boards. Man so much to attempt. I mean the wet in wet with a deep prussian mixed with some neutral tint and some mineral violet cooled down can get you kind of close, but I just never watercolor on paper I plan to render in pencil, his borders are also extraordinarily clean. I wonder if the watercolor came first - masking the stars with tiny dabs, then the pencil rendering, and then maybe he took powdered graphite to blend the two together - darkening the sky and also creating depth with the object suspended by lightly masking and merging with the mid ground masses?

    Will post some tests tomorrow.

  7. #6
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    watercolor comes in opaque, transparent and granulated pigments I believe he is using granulated pigment for his wash on rough watercolor paper or coquille board to get the texture you see.

  8. #7
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    I'm going to test this out on Hot and Cold Press paper - I can almost guarantee the pencil rendering is not on Rough though I won't rule it out, I have plenty to test. Will do this tomorrow with Holbein watercolors, graphite, and prisma Nu-pastels.

  9. #8
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    I think this maybe shows the technique/texture a little better:
    https://www.edwardcella.com/images/2...8w2048gt.5.jpg
    It's certainly colored pencil on a textured paper. The smoother sections, like the sky, might just have more solid layers of color or might have been blended with isopropyl alcohol. You could also try an alcohol based marker like a Copic, they do make colorless blenders.
    "A pig that doesn't fly is just a pig."

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by xtal View Post
    I think this maybe shows the technique/texture a little better:
    https://www.edwardcella.com/images/2...8w2048gt.5.jpg
    It's certainly colored pencil on a textured paper. The smoother sections, like the sky, might just have more solid layers of color or might have been blended with isopropyl alcohol. You could also try an alcohol based marker like a Copic, they do make colorless blenders.
    Tried alcohol - should have thought of my colorless blender marker - going to give it a shot

  11. #10
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    It will depend on the brand of colored pencils you are using. The alcohol worked with the regular Prismacolors I have. You might want to look for softer pencils. Some of the smooth blending might just be that these are large drawings and you're looking at small (comparatively speaking) images online. If you think about how the pointillists worked, they relied on the eye to blend colors. But it might even be as simple as lifting/blending the colors with an eraser.
    "A pig that doesn't fly is just a pig."

  12. #11
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    Alright just in the case of your curiosity - I was able to achieve strikingly similar results on Hot Press (arches) Watercolor Paper after putting down a slightly graded watercolor layer of Prussian Blue, Neutral Tint, Ultramarine Blue, and a small bit of Mineral Violet - then powdering graphite and applying it with a soft dry brush. Powdering the Nu-pastel also achieves some neat and similar effects - especially on mat board over a Colored Pencil blend, a very light layer of pastel applied with a soft dry brush can really help smooth out the pencil texture. Will probably update this with drawings once I get my subjects into them.

    Thank you deeply for yall's suggestions! I'm not done experimenting.

    I should've gone to art school.

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  14. #12
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    It may be worth noting that Alcohol or Blender methods with Colored Pencils might also be used here but I think my lack of expertise really prevented me from gathering good info on it - the blends kept looking a bit muddied and really revealed the "worked" area - brush strokes and blending streaks were subtle but apparent - it could definitely be the boards and paper I was working on - I just don't know.

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