How To: The Process of Neko

Working in a variety of mediums and sizes helps keep my process fresh, as well as my drive to create.

Intense Pencils and Blocks have become one of my favorite mediums to work in with any small works. Think of using watercolor paints in the form of pens. They are water soluble or you can use them as a dry medium. They are really fantastic! This is a fairly new medium I am working with. Here is one of the most recent piece I did using Intense Pencils and Blocks.

This ‘How To’ is going to be a quick one. I’m not going into a huge amount of detail. But, don’t worry, in other posts I will :)


Inktense Pencils

Inktense Blocks

Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper

Frisket Paper

HB water soluble graphite pencil

3 varied watercolor brushes (square, filbert, and linear)

Tap Water

Soft Hand Towel

Reference photo from WildCat Ridge Sanctuary

Phase 1:

First I did a light outline of Neko using a water soluble graphite pencil. Once that is complete, I started placing down the lightest colors. You can either place the color on the paper or use the block wet. (I will do a ‘how to use’ on inktense in the next post)

The more watered down the intense blocks are the more transparent they are. Just like watercolors. Right now, it’s not so much about getting things perfect. It’s about place sections of light and color. In the beginning stages, I view the piece as an abstract work.


Phase 2:

I waited for the first thin layer to completely dry before moving onto the next stage. Before working on Neko, I want to get the background in. At this stage, I place down the frisket paper over Neko. This prevents any stray inktense color from creeping onto Neko.

I use the same concept of buildup for the background. The main difference is using more color over water to punch the opaque color up more. I continue working until this layer is dried until I move onto the next layer.


Phase 3:

By the end of this stage, the background is complete for the most part. I don’t call the background done until the entire piece is checked off. I kept this area abstract for the most part. The goal here isn’t to make the everything exact. It’s to suggest what is behind Neko.

Throughout this phase, I go from dark to light to medium. I’ve been playing with how transparent I want to create each layer depending on how much color I want shown. I use the white block to add harder highlights, smearing the color to keep the look abstract.


Phase 4:

Neko is now the focus. The same process of the background is used on Neko. Light to medium to dark until each layer dries. Since this is apart of the Rainbow Series, I keep the colors playful and the detail fairly low. My goal is to bring out the childlike view of the world that I had as a child. Bright colors, fun, and blurred but distinguishable.


Last Phase:

Getting to the final piece is a journey, just like any other work. I kept the light across Neko’s face a cool color to to keep the environment at a comfortable fall-like temperature. Just like the background, I save the white blocks (which show up more than the pencil does) for last to add in light details.

Neko was wonderful to work on. I really wanted the feeling of calming joy to come through the work. Neko is a truly beautiful cougar.


Bigger Than Artwork

By now you know who I am and what I do. You know that I am a wildlife artist. You probably know that my work focuses on wildlife conservation efforts.

But I am much more than that. Yes, I am an Artist for Conservation but, what exactly does that mean?

Let’s do a quick rundown of the basics of my work:

I’m a wildlife artist that is based out of Nevada. I work in contemporary realism, focusing on giving wildlife their voices back through works done in detail using charcoal, colored pencils, and pastels. Anytime a piece sells, a portion of the proceed goes to the wildlife sanctuary the resident is from or to a dedicated wildlife preservation organization.

Okay, now that’s the basic of basics. But where do I want to go with my work? What exactly do I want to do besides, more?

Would I like to be in galleries? Yes, of course. Do I want to be an online presence only? Not really, it’s a part of my goal but not the whole thing.

What I Do Want Is:

I want to be able to work with more impactful organizations and sanctuaries to give animals their voices back. Meet and collaborate with other conservation artists. Talk to individuals that are making an impact with research, out reach programs, and my favorite thing….science. Have you all get to know the residents of the sanctuaries I am working with more. Let’s hear their stories along with their faces in work.

I want to educate the public on change. I want to make a difference. Which means, we can make a difference together. It starts with a conversation.

I’ve always wanted to work in the art field and be involved with animals since I was young. Instead of going to one or the other, I was encouraged to do both. It’s not an easy journey but it’s one that passion overtakes. When I ask myself if I could just give this all up I always panic because there is no way I could.

Being a little bit of an introvert, this field is….tricky to say the least. But, it is totally worth the vulnerability. It’s hard to make an impact and a living if you don’t open up. That’s what I am doing more of. Opening up, this way we can all continue to grow in positive ways.

Stay tuned for more posts on my work, how to’s, conservation, and other topics. Have an idea or a question? Comment below or contact me.