‘How did you do that?’,
I was asked after showing my drawing of a Pussy Willow, Salix cinerea.
My answer is: go out in your garden, to your park or nearby woodlands and bring home a small branch. There is, to my opinion, no way you can really draw without having a ‘life’ model in front of you.
I admit there are things you can not draw without a reference photo, like a portrait of a historical figure or drawing a spring flower in December. But then there is a change that this drawing without a life-model will miss depth. There is simply nothing better that the real object.
Having a life object to study, bridges the distance between the artist and the object. This might not be important to everybody, to me it is. I need to study it in different light and different angles. The object will enchant me and that enchantment will be part of my motivation to draw.
For the pussy willow itself it is all about layering. As you will see, the pussy willow looks greyish-white but in fact it has many different colours of fluff. Under the fluff you will see blue and dark grey and more to the edges you find (depending on the light) white, yellow or light-blue.
To give the branch a real 3D feeling copy closely the exact positions of the pussy willows: some to the right, some to the left, some behind the branch and some in front of it.
Use the layers you see and than use blenders. I used Derwent Blender and Derwent Coloursoft Pale Peach C570. For highlights I’ve used an electric eraser to take away a spot of the layers to create a whitish area.
I hope this helps you and now go out and enjoy your search for a nice branch!
Paula Kuitenbrouwer sells exquisite fine art cards of her drawings as well as reproductions, and of some drawings smaller business-, gift- or mummy-cards. See Purchase in the header for what is available as well as the price list. In case you like to commission Paula, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org