The Making of ‘Torso Study’

2015-04-08 Torso Cleaned Large

I recently finished this torso study and sent it off to a special friend of mine. Here is how I went about working on it


  • Strathmore 400 Series Toned Tan Paper 9×12
  • Caran d’Arche Full Blender
  • Coloured Pencils
    • Mitsubishi Watercolour
      • Light Blue 847
      • Dark Phthaloblue 852
      • Light Cobalt Blue 844
      • Night Green 855
      • Blue Violet 837
      • Gold Ochre 883
      • Brown Ochre 882
      • Burnt Ochre 887
      • Raw Umber 880
      • Van Dyke Brown 876
    • Derwent Watercolour Imperial Purple 23
    • Caran d’Arche Supracolor II
      • Granite Rose 493
      • Apricot 41


I chose this image taken by Marcus Ranum and found on DeviantArt. Firstly I cropped the image to a composition that I like and then make it monochrome so that I could see the values in it. After laying down the line art I added tape to the top and bottom so that I would have a clean edge after I added colour. Next I put in the shadows, but too lightly. Historically I’ve always been a little shy with going dark in my work, and honestly I should have pushed this a lot more in hindsight. Next I worked in the colour. Unfortunately I went too heavy with the ochre initially and I was very frustrated with the Mitsubishi’s lack of skin tones.

Final Pass

Eventually I put the work on hold and ordered a few Caran d’Arche pencils in the colours I felt I needed. I never quite managed to recover from the over use of ochre in the under layer though. Once I felt it was done, I went over it all with a blender pencil (this is something new for me). I was quite pleased at the lovely gloss it gave to the image and though it did help with some blending I was, perhaps, expecting a little too much from it. I had a very hard time resisting the urge to take water to the lot and turn it into a watercolour painting instead. All in all it was an interesting learning experience, both to work with the subject and working on toned paper.

Torso Study by mjranum-stock
torso study mono
Cropped and monochrome version.
2015-03-09 20.16.22
Cleaned line art with protective tape
Laying in the shadows
2015-03-30 15.41.44
Colouring. Too much ochre. >.<
2015-04-08 Torso final scan
Final scan with tape removed.

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