How to Draw a Hawk with Sepia Toned Pastels

green and white leafed plantsGettin Sketchy – Draw a Hawk with Sepia Toned Pastels and Charcoal – Season 3 Episode 5

This episode aired live on YouTube on February 17, 2021.

In this episode, we take a look at the process of sketching a hawk (mistakenly called a falcon by us “experts”) with sepia toned pastel pencils and black and white charcoal on gray drawing paper. Charcoal obviously gives us the opportunity to create a broad range of value with rich, dark blacks. White charcoal takes care of the highlights and lighter tones. The sepia toned pastel pencils provide a bit of color, but harmonizes the sketch with a limited color palette.

Here’s a look at the completed image…

Keeping it Sketchy

The first step in drawing the subject is to sketch the basic shapes and contours on the drawing surface. Charcoal is naturally a looser medium, so it makes since to keep our initial sketch rather loose. However, this would be true for any medium we choose to use. It’s usually a good idea to start with loose, sketchier marks and then refine the drawing as it develops. Charcoal makes sketching loosely a little easier since it’s easy to erase and manipulate.

To make the drawing as accurate as possible, a bit of measuring is used. In this case, I used a printed version of the photo reference (a little further down this page) to take measurements. Using the charcoal pencil as a measuring tool, I took measurements and applied these measurements to the sketch. This ensured that the proportions of the bird were fairly accurate.

I also used the charcoal pencil to find the angles of different sections of the body. Laying the pencil over the printed reference made the angles, diagonals, etc. very clear and easy to see.

See also: Drawing 101 – Simplify for Success

Once the sketch of the basic shapes and contours were in place, I quickly blocked in some of the shadows and darker values. But before getting too carried away with the dark values, the lighter values needed to be addressed.

Adding the Highlights with White Charcoal

Next, the highlights and lighter values are preserved with a white charcoal pencil. Since we’re working on gray paper, we have the ability to push both dark and light values to produce a full range of tone. These lighter values are blocked in loosely, partly because of the time constraint but also to keep the drawing loose and fresh.

Be advised that in areas where the black and white charcoal interact, some cooler grays will develop. These cooler grays may help to create the illusion of natural shadow and add variety, but too many of them may take away from the limited palette. Since the sepia tones are warmer as well as the gray paper, we want to keep these cool gray areas at a minimum. To do this, we’ll simply leave a bit of the warmer gray paper visible in between the black and white applications.

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