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Rådare - chiaroscuro study

”Rådare” are spirit creatures from nordic folklore.


My earlier attempts with colour pencils have been very simple on black paper, and the regular pencil drawings have most of the time not had any background at all. Just heads or bodies at white paper. I rarely plan my drawings, often just create an eye and let a creature evolve around it. I can’t even remember the last time I tried to draw something that resembled a human, but I wanted to create a series of works inspired by nordic folklore and mythology for my next exhibition. So this project is a big challenge, and I have already learned a lot from the first lessons. I will definitely continue to make sketches before the actual drawing on the good paper…


August 20 2014



Here’s my first sketch. For the real drawing I will center the head and change the face quite a bit, darken the branch horns and roots. Since almost all of my drawings revolve around eyes, I wanted to try another approach in an effort not to put all my time on them.



I used Faber-Castell Polychromos Black on Daler-Rowney HeavyWeight, size A4. The paper is way to rough grained for the real deal, but it works for sketches.

September 2 2014



I made two drawings on different kind of paper using Polychromos Black and a bit of Walnut Brown, based on the first sketch. The first one is a bit sharper in the face, with more nuances on the branches since I wanted to mix the two styles. But the roots beneath the head looked awful, so I tried to hide it all with black, causing a weird composition. The black background didn't look any good, and the paper refused to work with me when I tried to get a more even tone.

I therefor decided that my next test, with a more nuanced drawing, would be on another brand of bristol paper (also 250 g). The colouring was a bit more even when I made lots of layers pressing "medium hard" and settling for mostly grey areas, but the paper started to crumble a bit more than the first one.

I am more happy with the second drawing, since it's more my style, but I like the darker chiaroscuro of the first one better. I may work a bit more with the face in the second drawing (especially with the eyes) before adding colour, but I'm leaning more towards paper shopping and making an entirely new drawing... Even though my drawings are not very good, I'm enjoying every moment of the practise.

September 9 2014

I continued to work with the second drawing, putting in more layers until I was satisfied with the chiaroscuro. When I didn't press as hard, long lines as with the first drawing the shadows was more to my liking, and the paper seemed to handle it a lot better. I added fur as well, and fixed her eyes.

September 10 2014

Finally finished! I'm more pleased with the outcome than I thought I was going to be, but I did a lot of mistakes with the colour choices and the veiling. I learned a lot, and will be better prepared for the next drawing. Big thanks to Marco Mazzoni for a great class! :)


Polychromos pencils used:


  • Black 199
  • Walnut Brown 177
  • Ultramarine 120
  • Indanthrene Blue 247
  • Helioblue-reddish 151
  • Mauve 249
  • Light Ultramarine 140
  • Red-violet 194
  • Rose Carmine 124
  • Magenta 133
  • Middle Purple Pink 125
  • Pink Madder Lake 129



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