Portrait of Blaze drawing
Portrait of Blaze, red-tailed hawk of Audubon Society
dog with bandaged paw drawingi
chocolate lab with bandage from Forever Home children's book
underdrawing technique anthropomophic illustration
Obama as Uncle Sam underdrawing technique
President Barack Obama as Uncle Sam

Technique: underdrawing to final art

Pencil drawing is the first stage of the final color art process. Finding the face and the character, working out problems and editing are all done with a pencil, kneaded eraser and electric eraser. Preliminary work, like Cocoa with a bandage, is sometimes scanned and used as final drawing prior to watercolor application.

Beginning with a light touch, I slowly find the image with my pencil, working out all problems, developing composition and establishing values as I slowly build my darks and hold onto my lights. With the simple tools of a number 2 pencil, a tissue, a cotton swab, a kneaded eraser and my trusty electric eraser, I push and pull my drawing until it speaks to me. In the old master’s technique, underpainting in a monotone, also called a grisaille, is a standard preliminary stage to painting. My underdrawings serve the same purpose. With this in place I paint using transparent glazes, playing with color and light until the final image emerges.

Contact deb

Thank you for visiting my website. If you have any questions, comments or interest in purchasing or commissioning illustrations, books and original art, send me a note and I'll get back to you.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt