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  • Writer's pictureKevin Roeckl

Lacy portrait in progress 3 - A hard decision

Now that layout decisions have been made, I decided what color Canson paper I’m going to work on, and pulled the sheet of Canson out of my flat-file storage. Monday I’ll start working in the studio! Choosing the Canson color was a tough decision.


The most important decision I have to make is deciding which of the 50 colors of Canson paper I should work on. That decision will influence the entire artwork.


This is my Photoshop layout (Pic 1) approved by the client.

🤔 Should I work on blue paper….and then have to color a lot of peaches, oranges, and mauves? How will orange and mauve pencil work on blue? On light blue? Grey blue?

🤔 Should I work on pale peach paper, and then have to color a lot of darks: blues, olive green, browns? How well will I be able to cover that light paper with darker pencil?

Photoshop layout of a Doberman portrait, with color swatches

I “sampled” the colors needed in the artwork with Photoshop. Putting swatches of them against grey reveals the color more accurately.


I am looking at these and trying to figure out a ground: the proper color to underlie them all. For some artworks it’s obvious, an easy decision. But the colors in this one make it tricky. My art materials are transparent (the paper color will show through). Which color of paper will work best as the base color?


And it has to be one of the colors Canson paper comes in….


I had to think through my strategy for the whole piece. How I will layer transparent materials — watercolor and colored pencils - over colored paper. Each layer, including the paper, will show through subsequent layers.


This is the Canson sample book: 50 colors. I've pulled out some of my top choices so I can compare them to eachother. At first I was thinking of an ivory or cream — one of the colors in the center in this photo. But I’ve decided on “Pearl” (the arrow in the pic), a warm grey or “mushroom” grey. It’s the color of Lacy’s cheek in the head study on my layout.

Sample book of Canson Mi-Teintes paper colors

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