Going big – abstract drawing

Continuing along the path I have been following over the last few months, I decided to go big with this drawing, 94 x 63 cm.

The support I am using is not really paper as we normally know it, it is Yupo, a synthetic paper often used in commercial printing. It is a polypropylene, with a super smooth, almost shiny surface and is very different to work on from normal watercolour paper. For many purposes it is not usable at all – being a plastic, paint sits on the surface, and although it will eventually dry, some paints will then flake off. I make use of these qualities, using as my base imagery Liquid Pencil, which is a paste of graphite with a little colour added. It can be mixed with water, then painted on to the surface, where it pools and granulates and then settles. Once it is dry, I can start working into it with coloured pencils. I use Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils – being wax based they will glide on to the Yupo and the colour will be bright and rich. They are expensive, but the lightfastness is very good, and they are always consistent in colour and texture.

The inspiration behind this image is once again plant life, but not a specific plant, more the essence of ones that I have seen on my travels. The initial marks are loose, then are developed with the coloured pencils. The result becomes something unearthly, a bit menacing, perhaps the kind of plants that may be coming our way at some stage in the distant future.

The initial drawing on my drawing table – as you can see, too large to all fit at once.
The final drawing.

The temporary title for this is ‘Triffid’ but that won’t stay – the final title will probably be a little less derivative and maybe more obscure. Suggestions welcomed!

Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

18 thoughts

  1. While the enlarged cropped image at the top looks menacing, when I view the complete work it looks more beautiful and botanical than menacing. But the first image certainly looks somewhat carnivorous and if I was a small insect I’d be keeping my distance!
    That polypropylene is an amazing substance as that is the main thing which makes up the plastic fibre that goes into Barchip (the stuff which replaces steel in concrete ie Matt’s business with Japan for all those years). I didn’t know it could also be a surface to make art on.
    The effect is so crisp with edges knife-sharp. And the white yupo is so very clean and white which adds to the drama of the whole. While these are big (possibly menancing) shapes, they are also delicate and intricate. Stunning placement on the page too. Wonderful, Anna! You’re on a roll.


    1. Yupo is a very strange surface to work on, and even to touch, not at all like the organic feel of ‘real’ paper, so I always have a slight hesitation in using it, but I love the results it can give me. When I first started using it I thought I could only work on it with graphite and some sticky pencils like Chinagraph, but when I discovered the Luminance go on so nicely it opened up a whole range of possibilities. Polypropylene clearly is a multi-purpose substance if it is used in construction as well as its other commercial applications.

      I’m pleased there is still an element of botanical principles in this drawing – even though the approach is very abstract I wanted to keep a level of recognition, but be thought provoking too. When I think of the rapid pace at which our planet is warming and changing I wonder what will become of the natural world, and feel very apprehensive.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for explaining the process Anna. I too had wondered about Yupo paper. I love the quality of the image on this paper. I continue to see more floral and it’s very impressive. Your technique continues to evolve!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yupo is so different from regular watercolour paper, it is hard to come to terms with in some ways as it just doesn’t feel so friendly to use, but I do love the results, I can get much more intense colour from my pencils on it, but building nuances of tone is more difficult. I’m glad you can see the floral elements in this Cathe, I wanted them there but not too realistic! I’ll be doing a post on the one I have just completed later today, so please have a look at that when you get a chance!


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