Previous Botanical Sketches can be found here.
Today's Botanical Sketch of the orange, citrus sinensis, posed a few challenges. The fruit's skin isn't smooth, it has a slight texture and it's glossy. I wanted the sketch to look like more than just orange orbs among greenery, so I worked to create a shape that wasn't perfectly round, but still recognizable as such. The background paper that I chose also was a bit of a challenge to use as the red and yellow stripes are very striking and I needed an image that would dominate them. I wound up using some gesso on the orange, leaves and flower to layer on the paper after I did a pencil sketch. The gesso acts as a primer to block out the underlying layer of color. It can be watered down to make it translucent, but I wanted the images to pop from the background. After I painted on the gesso and let it dry, I used colored pencils over it. It isn't detectable after it's covered so gesso is like a secret weapon of sorts.