Dragon Scale Sorcery

*Reading Time: 3 minutes*

This is the second installation of my vixen series! I wanted to play with perspective a bit and have a dynamic looking image. So I came up with this! Once my sketch on my Pastelbord was finished, I erased as much as I could and inked with my Micron pens. Since some parts of our foxy lady was closer and other parts were farther away, I dramatic line weight difference was key.

Pro tip! Inking on Pastelbord is much easier with a fresh pen. Linework application will be much smoother.

After the ink was completely dry, I applied my first wash of red. Working wet into wet, I layered on color after color, eventually darkening it to my liking. You can still see the graphite marks are still peeking through. Be very careful with sketching too dark on Pastelbord. I’ve said it once, and I’ll be happy to say it again: this surface clings onto pastel, charcoal, colored pencil and graphite extremely well. So lifting marks (even with a kneaded eraser) can prove difficult.

All in all though, I’m very loose with color bleeding to other areas. Because of the surface’s thickness, lifting watercolor is fantastic. You can lift almost back to white!



After mixing brown and ivory black paint, I kept chipping away at the background. As I figured out my color scheme ahead of time, I thought now would be a great chance to mess with different breeds of foxes, so I decided to make her a Grey fox.  Once finished, I started layering washes on the star of the show! I wanted a warmer palette as a contrast to her cooler counterpart, so I layered in reds for her hair and incorporated some background color that bled in.

Pro tip #2! When layering an under-painting, those colors will show through on the final piece. Under-paintings can add depth to the overall image and can harmonize your colors when done right.

After getting the basic colors in, I layered more and more to build up the shadows. Once everything was set, it was time to break out my Prismacolors! I’ve never worried about conserving whites while working with these. That sandy surface really does wonders with colored pencils. My white always does the trick.

Pro tip #3! When working on cold press or textured surfaces, make sure you have sharp tips on those pencils for stark, crisp marks.


After going back and forth, adding details from the red and green secondary light, to markings, to fire, to the shines of her eyes, our vixen is complete!



Until next time!


Target Practice

*Reading Time: 2 minutes*

When I was initially approached to create an image based off of someone’s roleplaying character, I was very excited. Not only is there some sort of artistic freedom when working on characters who don’t have an appearance that’s set in stone, but it’s also liberating to work in a tangible media once in a while. While reading this guy’s description, I wanted to give him an epic pose. I mean, it was mentioned he’s sporting a human skull as his mask. A human. Skull. He’s tipping the scales of epic already!

I began with a few rough sketches of how I wanted our master-class archer to look. What stance I wanted him to take? Where was he looking? Once the pose was decided, I began redrawing the pose, working out kinks and all of my artistic problems in my sketchbook. After that, it was time for the big paper!


After my very light sketch underneath, the first layer of charcoal was applied. I got it as dark as I wanted to, working up the values of the light beam in the background and playing up the shadows and highlights.  Using the sides of compressed charcoal was my go-to for this method. Compared to vine charcoal, compressed is darker and has a wider coverage of area. While blending the background, I had an extreme amount of powder on my hands, so I just slapped some on the figure!

You might be wondering what that yellow sticky note entailed. It said: “Don’t forget the arrow!!!


Once the first layer looked good, I sprayed on the surface with workable fixative to give myself another layer of toothiness for the next application of charcoal. It was time to darken some darks, add detail, and blend, blend, blend! Layer after layer, with detailing and polishing, we’ve crossed the finish line.

The very last step is to spray with permanent fixative and send him off!


Charcoal on 18 x 24in Strathmore


It was such a pleasure working on this piece. I  learned some serious ways to manipulate charcoal and I was challenged every step of the way. Can’t wait for the next project!


Until next time!