Thursday, January 5, 2012

Oldie but Goodie

The figures in this illustration were from sketches made by me at the Pearlman Antique Toy Museum in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia.  A magical place which boasted the largest collection of mechanical banks in the country.  I took my little folded seat and parked myself in front of toy after toy to sketch.  The curator was very nice to me and even directed quests of the museum to stop by and watch me work.

I brought my sketches home and combined them into this illustration.  It is entirely done in colored pencil, except for a little highlighting in the stars with white paint.  Much of the technique used is burnishing, a process of applying pressure as you glaze one color over another.  This has to be approached in gentle layering because the pencil application can reach total absorption before you realize it.  This is a little like drawing on a sheet of ice, you're moving the pencil around but no color is laying down.  With practice the effect is a beautiful shimmery look.

Sadly, the Pearlman is no longer around.  Some years ago two gunmen broke into the museum, tied up and threatened the nice curator and made off with a collection of marbles.  Yeah, you can't make this stuff up can you?  Mr. Pearlman was so distraught by this incident that shortly after he auctioned off this amazing collection and closed the doors.  I wish I had kept all those sketches!

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