Fleeting Turtles: stage 1

I'm working on a finished illustration of the Fleeting turtles post I did for illustration friday back in April. This picture is about 1.5-2 hours into working on it, although I didn't include the final line art in my count. I'll post more pictures as it gets further along, but I don't get to work on this as much as I would like to because of my art classes.

I've gotten a lot looser and bolder in my work since I started working in colored pencil a few years back. For an illustration of topiaries I did a long time ago, I meticulously rendered each tiny leaf ON the trees. I ran out of time and I had to loosely lay in a background, and I remember getting more compliments on my background leaves then any of the meticulously rendered leaves. Go figure.

I'm also using this nifty invention for artists called a grayscale chart! It tells you how dark (or not) your colors are, so you can get the proper values in your work. I've had this chart for years tucked away in a drawer and I came across it again recently. Since I've long had the trouble of working too light, I'm going to try ACTUALLY using this chart for once to give my illustrations more depth and presence. So far, I've only hit a 4 in my tones--10 being white, 1 being black--so I still have further to go to push the darks.