Category Archives: A Piece in Progress

Hello… (horse head in colored pencil, 11″ x 14″) – in progress

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

Updated: April 26th, 2016

Yelena Shabrova ~ Hello (work in progress) ~ colored pencil on Strathmore watercolor paper, 11" x 14"

Hello (work in progress) ~ colored pencil on Strathmore watercolor paper, 11″ x 14″

So it was a good idea to use graphite first, then continue with color on top of it. Maybe a softer grade like H6 would be more efficient, especially on a textured paper like this one. The disorganized colors that are already there are from different kinds of strokes I tried to see what works better.

Updated: December 10th, 2015

Yelena Shabrova ~ Hello (work in progress) ~ colored pencil on Strathmore watercolor paper, 11" x 14"

Hello (work in progress) ~ colored pencil on Strathmore watercolor paper, 11″ x 14″

Back to the unfortunate horse who is now ready for color! I am done with the graphite underdrawing (if this is not a word it should be) and securing it with a workable fixative. Let’s see if that speeds up adding darks with colored pencils. Rainy shooting conditions made it look like there are at least two different tones of graphite, but in reality it’s the same tone.

Original post: Feb 21, 2015

Yelena Shabrova - Hello, drawing of a horse head in progress - Prismacolor colored pencils on Strathmore  watercolor paper, 11" x 14"

Hello (work in progress) ~ colored pencils on Strathmore watercolor paper, 11″ x 14″

I don’t think I have ever been this excited to see a rough drawing of a horse head finally appearing on a piece of paper as planned. There were at least two iterations that were not to my liking at all, but finally everything is where it should be, the sketch is transferred to the final watercolor paper (it’s a Strathmore one with nice slightly uneven surface), and I can move on to preliminary shading with graphite.

The horse is picking out of a barn door window, but it is barely visible right now. I need to decide whether to keep it white like in the reference photo or make it natural wood. The horse is going to be light chestnut with a lot of color nuances in the face, and even weathered white seems to be too stark next to all that, so most likely I will use some kind of amber or light wood for the window.

Gathering III (rocks in pen and ink, 6″ x 4″) – in progress

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

Updated: October 26, 2014

It’s finished. I like how it turned out more than the first two pieces in the series.

The original ($80.00) and prints are available in my online shop as a part of the “Pen and ink” collection.

Yelena Shabrova ~ Gathering III ~ pen and ink on drawing paper, 6" x 4"

Updated: October 17, 2014

So most of my ideas are not suitable for small shapes and have to be put aside for now. I think there is a larger rocky piece in my feature; meanwhile this one continues to take shape.

Gathering III - rocks in pen and ink, 6" x 4" - in progress

Updated: October 2, 2014

I have more ideas for rock textures that are going to fit into this small piece, and not all of them are going to play nicely together. Decisions – they are very time consuming.

Gathering III - rocks in pen and ink, 6" x 4" - in progress

Original post: September 9, 2014

For the third piece in the “Gathering” series I decided to start with the horses instead of smaller rocks. Apparently it is easier to complete more critical parts of the drawing first than worry about ruining the entire thing if something in the horse does not look right. Who knew! So, outlines are done, one foal is completed but may need some touch-ups when I get to its rock, the other one is not giving me problems so far.

Gathering III - rocks in pen and ink, 6" x 4" - in progress

You can see the first two drawings in the series here and here.

Newborn (foal head in colored pencil, 11″ x 14″)

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

Updated: September 12, 2014

Newborn won the Best Realism Award at the Fall Festival Art Show

Updated: August 29, 2014

And it’s done! I don’t think there is anything to add to it, but if I were to do this piece all over again I would approach it completely differently. It was a nice detour from fully realistic colors and a few purely technique-related things I usually use.

The original ($980.00), greeting cards, and prints are available in my online shop as a part of the “Colored Pencil” collection.

Updated: June 2, 2014

He looks more like a living creature now and almost ready for darks to be added. The white stripe will need some gentle work first.

Yelena Shabrova ~ Newborn, drawing of a foal head in progress ~ Derwent colored pencils on Bienfang watercolor paper, 11" x 14"

Updated: April 21, 2014

Well, it’s been a while since I started this portrait, several different small projects got in the way, but finally I am back to the little foal.

In the end, he won’t be nearly as colorful as right now (or at least I hope for that), but it will be interesting to see what bright violet and yellows will be able to add to regular coat colors.

Yelena Shabrova - Newborn, drawing of a foal head in progress - Derwent colored pencils on Bienfang watercolor paper, 11" x 14"

Original post: Jan 18, 2014

I think it’s been a terrible while since I drew a horse that fits on piece of paper bigger that 4″ x 6″. Time to change that, so here’s the beginning of a very young foal’s head. Because for some reason I chose rough Bienfang watercolor paper, it may take a while to build up colors in this one. And it’s not just rough, it’s somewhat slippery too. But we will see. So far it was mostly working on the background to get a better feel of the paper that is new to me before adding much detail to the foal.

Newborn, drawing in progress - Derwent colored pencils on Bienfang watercolor paper, 11" x 14"

Memories of Utah (pen and ink, 9″ x 12″) – in progress

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

Updates: March 14, 2010 | June 3, 2010 | September 5, 2010 | December 20, 2010 | January 10, 2011

Update March 14, 2010

One thing that I kind of miss from the times when kids were small is packing them into the car along with everything else and going places. About 10 years ago we did an especially long trip through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Wisconsin, and the fondest memory for me were incredible rock formations that we never saw before. This piece is about Utah. It is not any particular place there, just something that makes me think of it. I am going to plant something below the towering cliff; not sure what it is going to be yet, and that slope at the right decided to be steeper than I wanted, leaving too little space for a tree… We’ll see.

Memories of Utah - 9 x 12, pen and ink

Update June 3, 2010

SVOS and preparations to it kept me busy through the most of April and May, but I am now back to a somewhat normal drawing schedule. “Memories of Utah” are moving forward finally. I started to define rock formations. They will probably change somewhat as I make more progress with the cliff. Good thing this is not a depiction of any actual place and I am free to experiment and reshape rocks as I see fit :)

Memories of Utah - 9 x 12, pen and ink

Update September 5, 2010

Finished almost all dark areas which are the most time consuming. The rest should go easier, provided I won’t catch a rock-reshaping bug again. I really need to refrain from doing that before I ruin the piece.

Memories of Utah - 9 x 12, pen and ink

December 20, 2010

Ok, it’s been a while since the last update, but the rocks are almost done now. All that’s left is the ground below and the furs. There are going to be furs growing behind the slope. Shaping them is going to be as much fun as building the rocks. No, seriously, I have tons of reference photos for both, and not a single one looks like what I want, so for the most part this piece is coming from imagination that suggests dozens of different versions for every detail. That probably explains why it takes forever to finish it.

Memories of Utah - 9 x 12, pen and ink

January 10, 2011

And it’s finally done. A few things I learned while working on this one:

  • the same pitch black India ink will look paler if dispersed from a Rapidograph pen with a thicker point; size 7 produces the palest shade of black
  • just because the paper is called Bristol, it does not mean that it will take kindly to puddles of ink that a hick point produces; the one I used, Bienfang smooth surface drawing Bristol, buckled slightly its surface became sensitive to applying more ink when I wanted to make the areas of flat black darker
  • Rapidograph size 000 (0.25mm) is still my best friend, no matter the size of the artwork

I think that if I ever venture into the world of abstractions, and I really want to, rock formations are likely to be an intermediate step for me.

Memories of Utah - 9 x 12, pen and ink

See a bigger image here

Outburst – in progress

Posted by Yelena Shabrova

This one started out relatively smoothly until I realized that the background was anything but what I wanted it to be. Several attempts to solve the problem were unsuccessful, and for about a month I used every excuse to work on something else instead in hopes that the solution materializes in my head on its own. Before that happened, help came in the form of a demo by a very talented watercolorist, Terri Hill who gave a demo at FALC earlier this week. Just watching her do her magic got me out of the fog. The background is far from being finished, but at least we are moving again:

Outburst - colored pencil on drawing paper, 6 x 9, step 1

I am not sure how I ended up with the painterly background. It certainly was not a conscious decision, but I like the look:

Outburst - colored pencil on drawing paper, 6 x 9, step 2

Almost there:

Outburst - colored pencil on drawing paper, 6 x 9, step 3

Updated January 17, 2010
And I am going to call it done, nothing else to add to it:

Outburst - colored pencil on drawing paper, 6 x 9, step 4