Pastel & Graphite Wildlife Illustration

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Pastel & Graphite Wildlife Illustration – Deer Mouse

Pastel & graphite are not traditionally mixed but anything goes when mixing media! One of my favourite small illustrations is of a deer mouse. The composition is simple and because it is a vignette, the focus is easily kept on the deer mouse. I have been using this illustration as my profile picture on face book and I’ve had a few questions about it so I’ll try to answer them here today. 

LSpino_Deer Mouse_2This was one of those times when the composition came about quickly. I had taken some reference pictures of deer mice and I really liked this pose. Now I needed something for the mouse to look at. Since this was meant to be a fantasy piece reminiscent of traditional children’s book illustrations, there was no need to be study the mouses’s diet or behaviour!

All I knew was that I wanted to play up the idea LSpino_Deer Mouse_close-upof a tiny creature in a world where almost everything was bigger than it was. I also wanted a punch of colour and berries seemed like the perfect choice. The leaves were sized with the same theme in mind. They had to provide a background without overpowering the mouse yet they had to tower over him. It was lots of fun playing with the idea of mixing fantasy and reality!  

Pastel and graphite are not traditionally mixed.  The trick I have found is to use the pastel sparingly otherwise the graphite just won’t stick to it. With the addition of graphite powder, the pastel can be greyed down so that the overall effect is one of older book illustrations.

You can see a step-by-step progression of the drawing in the video below.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you may have!