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Step by Step for a pencil sprayed background
For me, the background is the most time consuming part of a picture sometimes so I wanted to find a quicker and easier way without breaking any rules for exhibitions if I wanted to enter something.
This meant that the background had to be done with pencils somehow so I had to get creative. This is my solution.

I started off with choosing my subject.

This is a Hooded Crow we photographed in Scotland on holiday in Stornaway. I loved the colours in his feathers but wasnt keen on the background so I played in Photoshop until I had something I prefered which was against a stormy sky and standing on a stone.


Next, I had to dissolve the leads in the colours I wanted to spray. I snap them off and put them in little pots with a little bit of tepid water and leave them overnight. For this I am using Derwent Inktense pencils as they are vibrant in colour and dissolve easily.

Meanwhile I trace my design onto the matt backing of frisket paper. This is special low tack clear plastic meant for this use.

I cut out my design (remember to reverse it, I forgot the first time. DOH!!). I then stuck it on my stonehenge and made sure it was firmly stuck with no bubbles or creases.

Once the leads have dissolved you can feed them through an airbrush with no problem.

I start off by spraying the lightest colour first and gradually build it up to the darks. Do many light layers rather than a heavy one is the key so you dont get buckled paper or over wet sections.

I had cut a template to give me some form for the clouds.

Once the colour has dried. You can remove the frisket mask.

Now all I have to do is draw in my guidelines for the plumage and I can pick up my pencils and start adding colour.....the best bit!!!!

If you are spraying in cold or damp weather it is best to leave the paper to dry properly for a few days as it can take a while. I sprayed it and left it so it felt dry to the touch but when I started to work on it, the paper felt fuzzy and wouldnt take layers. I abandoned it and 4 days later I had another go in desperation. This time it worked as it should.

Here is the finished piece.

Please click on it for a larger version.

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