Once the blue back ground on my mocking bird drawing was dry I realized it was much too vivid. What you saw when looking at it, was the background, not the gray mockingbird.
The blue did not compliment, or complete the drawing, it competed or distracted from the subject. So it had to go.
But not completely. It needed to be grayed out. Rather than putting a wash of gray or black watercolor over it, or even a thin layer of orange (blue’s complement) I decided to use gray colored pencil, then blend it with the blue watercolor to mute but not eliminate the blue background.
While it will take hours to complete, it will be well worth the effort. The temptation to press down, to cover this large area quickly is great, but you have to resist it. A soft touch is also necessary. You will want to press down, using pressure to get the most complete coverage in one pass. This is not the best way. Slow and steady. Soft, even strokes will give the best coverage, most workable coverage.
For this background I did switch to Derwent’s color soft pencils, the Dove Gray. This is a medium toned warm gray. I like the color softs by Derwent because they are English pencils, a little thicker than my American or German made pencils. As such the cores are also a little thicker and not as subject to breaking as the thinner American and German pencils.
The background of gray went on fairly well. Watercolor does make a nice, medium toothed surface that takes the colored pencil much better than blank watercolor paper.
I am going to use a liquid medium to blend the gray over the blue for a smoother, more uniform look.