Nick Day - Drawing a Heath Butterfly
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Nick Day - Drawing Heath Butterfly

© Nick Day

pic 1: sketch important lines only of Small Heath composition in soft pencil (2b) on to linen board. Then engrave, erasing pencil lines as you go.

© Nick Day

pic 2: shows 1st colour over engraving - background always applied first so closest subject colour is freshest.

© Nick Day

pic 3: this painting is done with oil-based & wax-based crayon - always laying down the palest colour first. The see-through paper on left is to avoid skin contact with the medium.

© Nick Day

pic 4: again, after applying palest colour first, darker shades are the last to be applied, working from the outside of the composition inwards. This helps me with the overall light of the work - remember that the brightest colour is that of the linen board white.

© Nick Day

pic 5: this illustrates more clearly the defined lines of the engraving, especially in the flower. The engraving line is white because the initial engraving was down before colour was applied. Notice that the butterfly wings are the last to be coloured. This is to make sure that the nearest subject to the eye is freshest & brightest.

© Nick Day

pic 6: all the darkest colours of the insects' body are laid down first so the wings will have the strongest vitality of colour - you may have also noticed that this insect looks as though it has only 4 legs, the front 2 are shortened - this group of butterflies is known as 'four-footed' or 'brush-footed', and they are all brightly coloured.

© Nick Day

pic 7: next come the vivid colours of the wings, notice that the 'white' engraved lines gives the butterfly wing depth and reality - again, building up layers of colour, from the palest to the darkest.

© Nick Day

pic 8: finally, the finishing touches to the insect are applied, as I said, the subject nearest to your eye is the last to be coloured to maintain crispness - I wanted the Small Heath to look as though it had just dropped out of the sky to land on this Scentless Mayweed.

To see more of Nick Day's wonderfull colour pencil drawings and buy prints of his work please visit Nick Day's page in the shop section of this website.

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