Exceptional Colored Pencil Realism by Glenn Keelan (Ireland)

Exceptional Colored Pencil Realism by Glenn Keelan (Ireland)


Glenn Keelan is an exceptional colored pencil artist from Ireland with a talent for realism. A clearly passionate artist, Glenn has an insane attention for detail. He is the rare type of artist that makes us stop in awe at what is possible. Thank you for sharing your work with us, Glenn.

“I am intrigued by the human condition with all its imperfections and fragility; this is what motivates me to create my works which I intend to depict in a raw, fleshy, organic and unprocessed way.” – Glenn Keelan

My working process is made up of photographic reference’s and drawing from life.

© Glenn Keelan

In relation to my figurative works, the first step for me is a photo session. I always take and use my own photographs. Using my tripod, I take lots of pictures so that later on I can choose the best one to further edit. Normally I will have an idea of what I want before the photo session.

© Glenn Keelan

After I have the desired photo, I then crop it and sometimes I will alter the colours, lights and darks to create the effect that I am looking for. I like the intensity of the shadows that it gives.

© Glenn Keelan

Having chosen the reference photo, I then set up my board and select the desired paper. My motto is “the heavier the paper the better”. Don’t waste your time drawing on thin paper unless you are only sketch-booking, in which case anything goes.

© Glenn Keelan

Drawing from life has become my more favored approach. I find inspiration all around my local area, on beaches, cliff tops, woodland areas and rubbish dumps. I will go out on a foraging trip to find new subject matter and fill my pockets with whatever inspires me and bring it back to my studio.

© Glenn Keelan

Back in the studio I will set up my found objects and begin to create my compositions to draw from. If need be, I will glue the objects to canvas’, boards or paper. This helps me to achieve my desired composition and acts as a prop. Once I am happy with it, I start to draw.

© Glenn Keelan

For my colour palette, I use mainly Polychromos Colored Pencils. These are made by Faber-Castell and are a great pencil to use. I don’t normally pre-select my pencils, instead I just take an overview of the colors that I see in the subject and then pick the darkest values within that color range to begin with, starting with the darkest dark’s first and working my way up to the brightest brights. I am constantly keeping my eye on the overall drawing so that I don’t get lost in the process and try to avoid making mistakes that later might not be so easily corrected.

© Glenn Keelan

As a realistic artist, I feel that there is an importance in the ability to be able to draw freehand and from life. This can sometimes be the hardest part of the whole process but the most important and for me the most valuable part.

© Glenn Keelan

When fully completed I sign the artwork and seal with a spray fixative.

© Glenn Keelan

Work © Glenn Keelan // Website / Facebook