Sunday Sketches – Blue poison dart frog

Sunday Sketches

This week I specifically wanted to do something just for Sunday Sketches. Prior to this I’ve only really submitted half hearted scrawls and whatever I had in my sketchbook from the previous week’s work. This time I wanted to do a real sketch. Just sit down and draw, something I haven’t done in ages.

I thought about it for awhile, mainly about what I wanted to draw. I wanted something smooth so I could do some nice tonal shaping. years ago I did this frog in graphite pencil.

Frog by Gumnut LogicAnd I’ve always liked it, rough sketch and all. So I thought I’d do another frog, but challenge myself by doing it in colour. I don’t think I’ve ever done a rough sketch in colour. Full on designed and precise works, yes, but not a straight out sketch. So a little challenge for myself.

I’d come across Blue poison dart frogs on the Net one time before, so when I plugged ‘frog’ into Google looking for stockshots and inspiration, and a BPD frog came up, I immediately narrowed the search to just those. I love the colours on their backs and the contrasting white, blue and black. Lovely stuff, so hey, another challenge for myself.

I poked around until I found a shot clear enough to base a drawing on. You can find the image I worked from here on Flickr – Blue poison dart frog by Ucumari. Check out her other beautiful photography, stunning stuff.

So I then spent the day just drawing (in between motherhood tasks, of course). I tried not to worry too much about accuracy, though that is something I find hard to ignore. I did just draw, no tracing, a simple exercise to work some long unused muscles.

This is what I came up with.

Blue poison dart frog by Gumnut Logic

Blue Poison Dart Frog, watercolour pencil with a touch of gel pen, 190 x 190 mm.

It went a touch further than just a sketch. I used my watercolour pencils and they are great for adding that extra of dimension to pencil work. It has its faults, but I’m happy with it.

Here’s a few in-progress shots.

Blue frog - wip1
First up, a brief sketch to get perspective and some of the tonals.

Blue frog - wip2
Then work over some of the rough areas to bring in more colour and to get some more final positioning.

Blue frog - wip3
Fill in all areas with base colour.

Blue frog - wip4
Brush with water to activate the watercolours.


Blue poison dart frog by Gumnut Logic

Work over with another layer of pencil, add more water if needed and re-lay pencil.
Touch up highlights with white gel pen (because I’m a slacker).


And there you have it. I drew a frog.

(happy to have achieved art today)