This one started as a winter scene but I honestly got confused with adding snow, so I swapped back to warm weather. I used two reference photos from Paint My Photo, and the branches and leaves were from observing the crab apple in our yard–with plenty of artistic license.
I used a piece of Strathmore 500 Illustration Board for this, and I absolutely loved it. It’s sturdy, takes water, and has a very minimal texture. Expensive? Yes, but it’s perfect for this medium.
Inktense takes some getting used to, but I’m becoming more and more fond of it as a pencil and paint medium. The pencils can seem overwhelming when water is added because their color is so intense. The blocks can seem difficult to use because they don’t spread out in water like watercolor and they tend to granulate.
Now that I’m spending more time with them both, however, I’m really pleased with my paintings. I can layer colors over other colors and not end up with mud. I can top off an area with pencil to get thin lines and highlights.
I really love the painterly effect, too, especially with this little wren. I put more effort into the background and branches with that one, too. With the crow, I nearly skipped the background, but I focused on creating an inky black with emerald green, gold, and blue highlights.