WIP (Pencil) Ave Maris Stella

I wasn’t really happy with the previous color schemes, so I made a bunch more… these are the winners I sent to my clients. They picked the yellow one (my secret favorite!) so then I got to work on first the sketch, and then the coloring.


In order for the sketch to be as clean as possible, I taped my line drawing to the back of the paper and taped the paper to the window (like a huge tracing box). Instead of normal grey pencil, which leaves yucky grey smears, I used a blue architect pencil with a lead so hard it’s been around since my mom was in college. This pencil will probably never be used up– it barely adds color to the paper, and it erases pretty much completely.

Next I taped the paper to my table (with painter’s tape) and got out my ironing board to hold my various refreshments and computer so I won’t tragically spill chocolate milk on my artwork. I use a placemat to cover the part of the picture I’m not working on, and a tissue under my hand to protect the paper from grease/lotion.


The faces and skin came out ok! Yay! The features were first outlined in brown pen, colored with Prismacolor pencils.


I simplified the arch pattern a bit– originally there were other sea creatures up there too, but they were hard to read from far away, and looked just like a confusing mushy mess. So shells and star(fish) it is. I decided on seven-point stars as they symbolize the seven days of creation and perfection. Seven-pointed stars are not easy to draw 😉


Usually I like my pencil artwork to be so saturated with pencil wax that there is no texture left on the page– but I am really loving the scale-like texture of this watercolor paper. Plus, it soaks up layers of marker like nobody’s business. (I have only one marker, the dark blue. Probably should get more!)


This is the way it looked this morning. I have the rest of the water (add some fish?), the top of the columns, and an all-around border (maybe with some red) left.


Ave maris Stella / Dei Mater alma / Atque semper Virgo / Felix coeli porta

Hail, Star of the Sea / Gentle Mother of God / And Ever-Virgin / Happy Gate of Heaven

Hence, the star over Our Lady’s head, and the sea 🙂


7 thoughts on “WIP (Pencil) Ave Maris Stella

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