I wanted to experiment with some interesting accidental washes and colours as a background to this piece. Knowing that this was going to be quite a spontaneous piece, I had to be sure I was working on a surface that could take at least a little rubbing for any alterations I needed to do as I went along. One good thing about practicing on newsprint is that there is virtually no room to mess around with a drawing without some trace of the alteration or damage to the surface. This has been good training in making sure I'm mindful of each mark I make. You can imagine when I do work on a surface that can take a little rough housing, it takes a huge chunk of pressure off, but the training still stays...
I have some nice thick 300g/m watercolour paper for this and gave it a wash of acrylic ultramarine blue then raw umber, letting the washes run down to make interesting dripping marks for the background.
To help get my bearings I now went in with the lightest light I planned for the piece.
A splash of white acrylic (with a touch of raw umber) carved out the structure of the man's head and shoulder. Though I had a rough idea where I wanted the white to go, I was always aware of how the composition was developing as I was applying it and adjusting accordingly. For example, I had planned to paint down over the man's left shoulder more, but then the drip happened and looked so good I had to leave it. Acrylic dries fast so decisions had to be made quickly.
With the lights and darks established I went in with a little more detailing for the figure with white chalk, charcoal and the sepia light pencil. I had to be careful not to do too much or risk losing the mood of the piece..