Category: Colored pencil techniques

how to draw highlights

How to draw realistic highlights in graphite, colored pencil and oil paint

When we look at realist paintings, we try to figure out how an artist manages to achieve such level of realism in his or her art.

There are three elements that make drawings and paintings look three-dimensional on a flat surface:

  • the drawing accuracy of shapes
  • clear understanding how the light turns the form
  • and the correct placement of highlights on objects, fabric and people.

In this post I cover how to see and place highlights, using various media.

 What is highlight and how do you find it?

Highlights are the lightest lights or the whitest spots you find on your objects. Always analyze the light direction and the light source. Is it coming from the left or right, top or bottom? You’d find the lightest areas on all objects being the closest to that light source.

The distribution of light on objects

 

The placement of highlights on your object is often logical. Analyze the light direction. If it comes from the left corner, then your highlights would be on the object’s left hand side. If the light comes from above, then the highlights accumulate on the object’s top.

If it’s a vase, a cup or a bottle directional highlights would appear on the object’s surface where the object usually curves or changes direction.

You may see secondary lights in your set up as well. Usually they’re light but not as strong as the highlights. Make sure they remain secondary and don’t compete with your major few highlights. This way you create a hierarchy of the light and shadow.

Aphrodite plaster cast | Here the light comes from the left, illuminating half of the face. Therefore all highlights remain on the left side of the face.

 

How to place highlights in graphite drawing

To draw the highlights on your objects, shade over the area lightly with a hard pencil (2H) and then use the kneaded eraser to pull the highlights with it. This eraser doesn’t leave any residue and gives a perfect soft edge around the highlights. Therefore, the highlights look natural, rather than outlined.

A study of the David’s eye, 9×12″ graphite on white Strathmore drawing paper. The highlights’re pulled with the kneaded eraser to make the whitest areas.

 

portrait drawing in pencil
Believing that the impossible is possible, graphite on paper, 11×14.

The highlights’re pulled with the kneaded eraser on her cheek, neck, ear and in and around the eye.

 

How to place highlights in colored pencil drawing

On white paper:

In colored pencil drawing on white paper, I preserve the highlights by carefully reserving the white space around each highlight with a light colored pencil, using light peach or cream color. So, the whiteness of the paper is the highlight itself.

Highlights always stay free of any shading. Don’t use white colored pencil to color your highlights! You will lose the luminosity. This technique is similar to watercolor painting where you paint around your highlights. However, there are times when I shade with the white colored pencil around the highlight itself to soften the edges, and to transition into the light.

Still life with a vase, 9×12 inches, lightfast colored pencils on paper, available for purchase.

This drawing was done on white, Bristol smooth paper with the lightest areas remaining free of any shading to preserve luminosity.

On colored paper:

If I draw on colored paper, I place the highlight by mixing two colored pencils together. The first one gives me either warm or cool undertone and the second one is the white colored pencil itself. Usually I use a very heavy pencil pressure  to shade over the space with white.

white-fabric-
A study of fabric, 9×12 inches, lightfast colored pencils on Stonehenge paper. Here the light comes from the left. Therefore the lightest part of the fabric with its highlights remains on the left side.

 

This is a drawing detail completed on orange paper. It has the white highlights placed over the light yellow and light blue colors.

How to place highlights in oil or acrylic painting

Even the brightest highlights have a little bit of color in them. Analyse the light to see if they are warm (yellowish-orange) or cool (bluish-greenish), and add a touch of color to your white paint. Titanium white is a cool, dull color by itself. That’s why the beginner paintings have a lot of white in them, but no sense of the light, which is created with glazes, scumbling, and layering rather than with lots of chalky, white paint.

David’s eye with sea shells and white fabric, 16×20″, oil on canvas, available for purchase

To learn more about the distribution of light, reflections and reflective surfaces, you can buy my digital book here: http://veronicasart.com/product/creative-techniques-colored-pencil-graphite-oil-painting-digital-art-book/

 

Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf
Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration!

How to draw & paint realistic shadows in colored pencil, graphite and paint

If you’re interested in understanding how to draw anything realistically, you’ve got to understand how to see the shadows. The right placement of shadows helps artists create the three-dimensional illusion on a flat surface.

The distribution of light

This image shows a general distribution of light on reflective objects with the light coming from the right. As a result, the shadows are on the left.

How to draw shadows | This image shows the distribution of light on a solid object with the light coming from the left, forming shadows on the right. |Image taken from the “Creative techniques” art instruction book.

What are the shadows?

There are two types of shadows: the form (or core) shadow and the cast shadow.

The form shadow is present on the object itself, and is of the darkest value (tone). It appears where the light turns into darkness. You can see the form shadows on various objects including faces, fabric, flowers, etc. The form shadow makes the objects look three-dimensional, and if you don’t see it, the objects remain flat in your artwork.

The cast shadow(s) is situated right under the object and is always attached to it.

While the form shadows give the objects the roundness or volume, cast shadows give the physical presence to objects. They “make” the object look heavy set in the environment it’s in. Sometimes the cast shadows are a lot more interesting to draw than the object itself.

Some additional examples of cast shadows and form shadows:

 

how to draw shadows
The distribution of light on a sea-biscuit

Adjusting the light

If you see no clear shadows in your still life or a photo, it’s much harder to create the 3-D illusion on paper, if you’re a beginner. While we usually have no problem spotting the cast shadows seen on tables or windowsills, found under the fruit or vases, we do often find it difficult to pinpoint the location of the form shadow present on the fruit/object itself. Strong, directional lighting helps to find the form shadow. Play with the light to see a variety of shadows on and under your objects.

Seeing shadows in glass

Still life with a wine glass, 9×12 inches, lightfast colored pencils on paper, private collection

Not every object confirms to the same formula I’ve described above. For instance, drawing reflective objects and glass requires a different approach to create the 3-D illusion. I explain how to draw a wine glass and other surfaces in the step-by-step demonstrations listed here.

 

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Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf
Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration!

5 great art supplies to use in your drawing & painting

The following products are great tools for artists to use in their drawing and painting process. These art supplies make a big difference in my drawing and painting process due to their high quality and great features.

1. The color shaper set

These are great tools for oil painting, pastel painting and even colored pencil work (if you work on the Icarus board to blend wax-based pencils). When I paint, they help me clean the sloppy edges up. They also take the extra paint off the area I put in by accident. Moreover I can “carve into” the freshly applied paint to make a specific pattern. Made of silicone, the paint comes off their tips easily and doesn’t need washing. Just wipe the color shaper off with a paper towel.
Besides moving the paint around, removing or carving into it, the color shapers are great to blend the oil pastels or wax-based colored pencils (Prismacolor Premier) while heated, using the Icarus Art board. The color shaper set has several tips that you can buy separately or as a complete set. I find that I mainly use the taper point (round tip) size #2.

Buy at: http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/brushes-and-palette-knives/colour-shapers/colour-shaper-sets.htm

 

2. Gloves in a bottle

This is a truly unique product that I love! I especially use it when I paint since the lotion provides relief from a very dry skin, making a protective layer between the skin and the chemicals. A modest amount of lotion works like gloves I don’t use while painting. Its unique formula bonds with the upper layer of my skin and creates the invisible protection from harmful chemicals. It’s waterproof and doesn’t wash off, rather it comes off naturally shredding the dead skin cells. The bottle comes in two sizes. Give it a try!
http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/brush-washers-and-cleaning-supplies/brush-and-hand-cleaners/gloves-in-a-bottle.htm

 

3. Luminance colored pencils

Swiss-made, Luminance colored pencils is the Cadillac of the professional colored pencils. All colors have supreme lightfastness rating. They’re very durable with the soft core. The price tag is near $4 per pencil! So, guys, I’ve learned to create colorful pieces with very few colored pencils.

You can buy them in a set or separately. http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/colored-pencils/caran-dache-colored-pencils-and-sets/caran-dache-luminance-6901-lightfast-pencils.htm and in sets http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/colored-pencils/caran-dache-colored-pencils-and-sets/caran-dache-luminance-6901-lightfast-pencil-sets.htm

4. Panels for oil and acrylic painting

These are durable, archival and acid-free surfaces that are great for painting. Remember, paintings of the old masters have survived through the centuries because they were painted on panels, not canvases. If you paint professionally and want your art to last, paint on panels.

The cradled gessobords provide much greater support against humidity, so the panels warp the least. Toned, neutral gray surface of Richeson panels is great to begin painting without any additional preliminary work needed.

5. The Grumbacher final fixative for drawings and scratchboard art

This is a truly great product that’s very different from cheaper brands. It makes a very nice, even sheen, eliminating the surface’s unevenness, finger prints, and other imperfections in scratchboard. Colors look nice and bright. It works great on paper too.

Like other sprays, the final fixative protects your artwork from the UV-rays, moisture, smudges, and humidity. Spray it in a well-ventilated area or outside.

 

*A disclaimer: no product was given to me by the companies mentioned here in exchange for my review.

educational books, drawing instruction books, travel books
Art Lessons in Drawing, Painting & Beyond, 2014

Artists share their painting and drawing secrets in the Art Lessons book available in print, on Kindle and as a digital download (pdf file) from www.VeronicasArt.com.

 

colored pencil drawing

Colored pencil drawing on UART Paper: pros and cons to consider

As I like to experiment with new art supplies once in a while, recently I gave it a try to the UART premium sanded pastel paper. It comes in various grits, feels like real sandpaper, and it’s finest grit is 800, which is advertised as a perfect surface for colored pencil work. This paper is mostly used in pastel painting and the 800 grit is designed for colored pencil drawing. But is it really that perfect? Many artists say it’s their absolute favorite, but I found several serious disadvantages to using it with colored pencils. Here is why.

Drawbacks:

my-mother- -veronica-winters
My mother, 9×12 inches, lightfast colored pencils on uart 800 grit paper
  • Not smooth enough for colored pencil work, not even close. The 800 grit makes the strokes look very textural, even when pencil’s point is super sharp.
    The solution isn’t using a paper stump for blending, rather applying Gamsol. It really “calms down” the surface and makes it a lot easier to shade with colored pencils after that. Gamsol melts the wax in pencils, spreads it around, and gives a painterly effect to my first layer.
  • Warning: if you are a beginner, you might be seriously frustrated with the result, because Gamsol creates loose edges on this paper, and its hard to keep the outlines intact with such approach.
colored pencil drawing
Steps: 1. Here you can see the paper’s texture when I drew with colored pencil. 2. Here you see the painterly effect that happens when I use Gamsol over it. 3. Here you see me work on the eyes with colored pencil again, after the first layer has dried.
  • It’s easy to make and to spread dirt on paper. This is the case when you begin shading in colored pencil, especially if you use dark colors. The solution: Use the kneaded eraser to pick up the smudges and put a piece of paper underneath the palm of your hand.
  • It “eats” up your pencils because the sanded surface is textural. The solution: start drawing with hard colored pencils like the Prismacolor verithins or the Pablo’s to make the first layer. Blend them with a solvent, and continue shading with the soft ones after that.
  • Details. After it dries, it’s much easier to shade, but if you have a very detailed artwork, like the very small eyes or finger nails, etc., it still requires lots of focus to do well.
    The solution: draw larger. In this post you see several drawings done on this paper. With my third drawing on this paper titled the “Colorful dreams,” it became much easier to shade because I increased the scale of the portrait. The eyes are not as small in this artwork as in my previous attempts. Still, it was taking a lot more time to fight with the surface’s roughness as opposed to working on smooth Stonehenge.
  • Pretty pricey. Selling at nearly $25 for 10-9×12 sheets per pack, you really can’t allow yourself to screw up at all.

colorful-dreams-sm-veronica-winters-colored-pencil

Advantages:

  • The more I work on it, the more I like it. It accepts many layers of pigment, and it’s really great for soft pastel painting!
  • Its durable surface is much stronger than a regular 80 lb. or even 100 lb. paper. It stays flat at all times.
  • Colors look much brighter on this paper in comparison to drawing on white paper.
  • You can make a painterly underpainting with the colored pencils and Gamsol, or use the watercolors or watercolor pencils like Neocolor underneath your work as this surface accepts various media. In my drawing titled “My mother” the painterly effect on her leather coat was a happy accident. Once I used Gamsol on dark colors, it melted with the blues I used for the highlights and created the leather coat effect.
  • The paper is at its best when you work large. I’ve discovered that 9×12″ is just too small to work on subjects with tiny details, like the boy’s face here where I had a hard time keeping up with the anatomic accuracy.

Hopefully these pros and cons will let you make an informative decision when buying the uart paper. 🙂

nicaraguan-boy-sm-veronica-winters-colored-pencil
Nicaraguan boy, 9×12 inches, lightfast colored pencils on paper

Other artists working on this paper:
Linda Lucas Hardy & Lisa Ober

To buy the digital books that help you draw and paint, go here.

 

 

Why painting from life is different from drawing from a picture: how to improve the process

Many artists draw from pictures today or at least use them as a reference material once in a while. I use them a lot in the creation of my artwork, especially when working in colored pencil. Both good and bad comes out of it. Being aware of the advantages and the limitations using photography, makes you a better artist because you learn to adjust this tool to make it more suitable for your practice. So here I list a few major advantages and drawbacks using the pictures in painting and drawing.

The good:

  • The convenience of working from a picture is so tempting. We want to snap a picture of a model instead of paying her for many hours of posing.
  • There are those lucky moments when the moment is just right to capture a moving subject or a facial expression.
  • Fast-changing weather conditions are easy to capture in photography when I travel, and I either have no time to paint or have no capacity to carry my art supplies to the top of a mountain.
  • Working from a picture in colored pencil is almost easier than drawing from life, especially when it’s about capturing the reflective surfaces or real flowers. I usually keep the real object as a reference, but end up drawing from a picture.
  • By taking pictures yourself in a controlled set up, it’s possible to get nice images. For that I take a cardboard box used for shipping and cut two sides out, to which I glue the white tissue paper that diffuses the light. I place my object inside it and I light it up with one, two or three lights, depending on my idea. My set up is similar to this one:
This photo is taken from this website: http://photography.tutsplus.com/tutorials/10-tips-to-get-started-with-still-life-photography–photo-8278

This is a striking image of a cloud with the fairly balanced tones between the sky and the ocean. Yet, the color is really off here, too blue and too dark to paint a large painting well without having a sketch made from life that captures the real colors I saw taking the picture.

The bad:

  • The sky is washed out, the land is too dark. This happens a lot in the pictures of the amateur photographers. You need to learn to compensate for the colorless sky by either adjusting your camera settings by 1-2 stops, or taking more pictures of the sky itself separate from the land. Many phones have the HDR function in them, when they automatically snap several pictures and combine them into one, giving the right light balance between the land and the sky.
  • It’s imperative not to draw from the copyrighted images or use the photos without the written permission of the photographer. It includes the photos made or taken as the movie stills. Years ago I lost a lucrative deal with one of the companies that wanted to feature my artwork on their product. I knew nothing about the copyright rules and drew a movie character they liked, but as you may guess, the image didn’t get cleared by their legal department.
  • If a picture you paint from is not yours, you can’t enter your artwork into the juried shows, unless the artist has the permission from a photographer to do so. And even then, some national contests prohibit the use of someone else’s photography because the artist must be the sole creator of his work.
  • Although painting from pictures is convenient, it has hidden difficulties. Even if the quality of your camera is good enough to capture reality, it misses out on a lot of information artists put back into their drawings or paintings. In other words, the camera filters through some information that the artist responds to when he paints directly from life.
  • Cameras distort reality. Colors, shapes, and shadows never look the same as we see them with the naked eye. Most lenses distort the linear perspective to such a degree that I never use a printed picture as my map to transfer the image. I have a nice Nikon D80 that gives me a wonderful range of hues. I can also change lenses on it that gives me additional advantage in painting with the relative accuracy. Yet, I still use my pictures selectively, and I don’t buy into everything I see in them.
  • The distortion in color and perspective also changes your perception. Camera makes a choice instead of the artist making it. As artists we make decisions what to see and what to leave out in images. For instance, you see a thin horizon line and a single tree in the wind. You feel the air’s blowing coolness; you see a wide range of greens in that tree. You notice a huge cloud looming over it. Snap a picture. What do you see? The sky in the picture registers too bright in comparison to the dark, green land and the shape of that enigmatic cloud is now too light and incomplete. You lose the subtle shifts in color of the sky’s along with its incomplete cloud shape. In the picture, the tree also misses your real perception of it. The range of greens that you see with your eyes doesn’t look the same in the photo. Finally, you lose your feel of the nature, the violent and mighty power it exhibits while you are in the moment with its wind and the rain.
  • This is especially important for artists who paint realistically in oils or acrylics. Our perception of reality is instant, and we respond to it swiftly by mixing the right colors without over-analyzing the information. When we paint from pictures, we tend to analyze the same reality a lot more, which is already adjusted by the camera for us. My paintings done from life always have this freshness and liveliness that is virtually absent in paintings done solely from pictures. Only the experienced artists can paint from pictures very well, because they have the knowledge to place or replace the elements that the camera doesn’t catch or overemphasizes.

Examples of bad pictures:

 

  1. There is no sense of the directional light source here. It’s hard to turn the form shading such dull objects.
  2. The lens’ distortion makes it great to draw a cartoon, but not a fine portrait.
  3. Everything is uniformly gray in this picture with no clear focal point. Nevertheless, this photo can be used as a reference to understand the atmospheric condition.
  4. Pictures taken with a flash cut on the natural shadows and throw off the colors. Never draw from pictures taken with the flash!
  5.  The sky is really boring here. The absence of an exciting focal point also makes it rather dull to draw.
  6. While the sky looks OK, the foreground is so dark it makes it impossible to use it as a reference to see the shifts in tones drawing the tree.
Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf
Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf

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What is positive and negative space in drawing?

In order to become a better designer of your artwork, you’ve got to understand the difference between the negative and positive space.

What is positive and negative space?

Here the negative space are white profiles surrounding the positive space- the black vase.

Look at this picture. What do you see here a black vase or two white profiles? If it’s the black vase, you’re looking at the positive space. If it’s the profiles, you’re seeing the negative space. Usually the positive space is the object(s) you draw, and the negative space is the background that surrounds it.

Below you see a colored pencil drawing of the flower. The flower itself is the positive space, and the white background around it is the negative space.

What is negative and positive space?

Why you need to know

The negative space can be an effective tool to define your center of interest. How? Every element in your picture with its edges and shapes is affected by tones and colors placed right next to or around it. So the negative space can balance out your composition visually with a specific tone, shape or a shadow. For instance, in this picture the flower stands out more set against the white background (the negative space). If it were the same value, the flower could have been lost.

peacock feathers
Peacock feathers, 5×7 inches, lightfast colored pencils on board

One of the most common mistakes beginning artists make, they forget to include their background space into the equation, and ask me what to do with it much later when they are almost done shading the object itself. In my mind I compose the image before I begin drawing. I consider everything: composition, values, textures, and colors not only in the object, but also in the negative space.

You can create contrast

oil painting techniques still life with starfish and peacock feather

As a beginner in art, it’s easy to start designing your images around the concept of contrast that occurs between the negative and positive space. If your still life is dark, set up the light background. If the object is light, it would look brighter set against the dark negative space.

You can measure and check distances

The black lines show the idea of visually measuring the negative space present between the positive shapes to draw accurate outlines.

When you make the outline drawing of your object, you tend to focus on the curving line itself. As a result, the shape might be too long or lopsided, or foreshortened the wrong way. Instead of focusing on the object’s curve itself, look at the space between those curves. Artists visually measure distances between the lines, shapes or objects by looking at the negative spaces between them to make the most accurate drawings.

Here is the link that brings you to my step by step tutorials page.

 

 

paper for colored pencil drawing

Colored pencil painting made easy: the best drawing paper for your art

I’m often asked what paper I use for my colored pencil work. So here I list a few of my favorite drawing papers that are inexpensive and suitable for drawing in various dry media.

In general, the drawing paper has three properties that affect the quality of  artist’s artwork:

  • the paper’s tooth or texture
  • the paper’s weight or page thickness
  • the color

Let’s look at each property in detail.

nicaraguan-boys-friendship-sm-veronica-winters
Friendship, 15×20 inches, lightfast colored pencils on paper, private collection

Texture

It’s very hard to draw on textured surface in colored pencil. Blending can be a nightmare even if you blend with a solvent. Therefore, I highly recommend drawing on smooth paper. These include the Strathmore Drawing paper, Bristol smooth paper or Stonehenge papers. If you are a beginner, go to a craft store like Michael’s and simply touch the pages of various papers to understand the difference in texture among them.

In the “Nicaraguan boys” I did very little blending because my colored pencils blended on their own shading on smooth, printmaking paper that is very similar to Stonehenge.

Weight

The weight of the paper affects how thick your paper is. If you use a solvent for colored pencil blending, don’t work on paper that weights below 80 lb.  It’s just too thin to withstand washes of any solvent as it crumbles. Sketch paper is too thin and shouldn’t be used for fine drawing at all.

Regular drawing paper is 80 lb., but some printmaking papers and pastel papers are over 98lb. The bristol smooth drawing paper has the greatest smoothness and 100 lb. thickness. However, some artists find it hard to shade on it, because it doesn’t accept as many layers of color as less smooth papers do. Some artists use mat boards to draw because of their extreme thickness and velvety smoothness.

The Stonehenge paper pads are my favorite because of their thickness and the velvety surface that is almost perfectly smooth, yet has enough tooth to layer more colors. They also come in various light colors, which is a bonus.

candleholder -v-winters
The candle holder, 9×12″ lightfast colored pencils (Prismacolor and Pablo) on bristol smooth paper.

Color

colored papers

I draw on colored paper most of the time. Colored papers offer a much quicker block-in of colors, “reacting” to the colored surface in a different way. My favorite brand is Stonehenge.

The color of the paper itself shouldn’t be chosen based on the image’s dominant color (for instance, you have an image of the blue sky and you want to pick the blue colored paper. No, to that!) Rather, pick the opposite paper color, bright orange to draw the blue sky on it.
As an example, the drawing of the Christmas bows shown here was done on the Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper. I used a blue-gray paper color.

how to draw christmas bows
Christmas bows, 9×12″ colored pencil on colored paper

The step-by-step demonstration of this drawing is available for purchase on my website www.veronicasart.com.

To learn more about papers, colored pencils, and the floral drawing, browse my books here.

Canson Mi-Teintes drawing papers are sold in 19×25 sheets and in pads. Note that this paper is great for pastels (because of its texture), but the other (a fairly smooth) side is OK for colored pencil work as well. I must say that it’s much harder to shade on this paper as opposed to the Stonehenge and thus it requires blending with a solvent most of the time.

 

 

 

Step by step drawing in colored pencil how to draw a gecko

Step by step drawing in colored pencil: how to draw a gecko

In this step by step drawing demonstration you’ll learn how to layer color in colored pencil on colored paper. You will also see how to use solvents to blend colored pencil. This is a fun drawing project to complete for both kids and adults alike.

Materials:

  • Canson’s Mi-Teintes pastel paper, beige, smooth side. This paper can be replaced with a similar, professional colored paper.
  • Prismacolor Premier colored pencils (colors are listed in steps); they can be replaced with other soft, colored pencils
  • Turpanoid/Gamsol and a small brush for burnishing (blending)
  • General’s pencil sharpener
  • Transfer paper, sketch paper
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Fixative: professional spray varnish for dry media like Grumbacher.

Step-by-step demonstration

Step 1

how to draw gecko

Work on the basic outlines of gecko on sketch paper. Then transfer these outlines onto your colored paper. Keep the fine drawing paper clean of any residue at all times. I usually transfer the outlines using white transfer paper manufactured by Loew-Cornell. This paper lasts for years, and the lines are very easy to erase with the kneaded eraser. MAKE SURE YOU USE THE SMOOTH SIDE OF YOUR DRAWING PAPER!

When you have transferred the outline, strengthen some lines in colored pencil to separate between the shapes. The color of my colored pencil depends on the subject’s basic tone. If the subject is light, I use cream colored pencil to strengthen the outlines, if the subject is dark, I use dark brown to outline some shapes.

Use dark brown like raw umber and dark green to map out the dark spots and the cast shadow on the lizard’s skin.

Step 2

how to draw step by step
Block in the background with indigo blue and the same dark brown you’ve used before. (A combination of any dark colors would work well here). Add grass green and apple green in the background’s middle tone. Then add spring green in the light.

To strengthen the pattern on the skin, shade with a combination of violet, indigo blue, and dark green.
For the eye, use a sharp point of indigo blue and dark brown to outline the circle and to draw the iris. Shade the darker values (tones) on the left side of the eye, while deliberately using lighter tones on the right.

Notice that all colors look a lot more vibrant on colored paper as opposed to shading on white paper.

Step 3

how to draw gecko

When you’ve completed shading in the background, use a solvent (like turpenoid or Gamsol) to blend the background and a few spots found on the gecko’s skin. Let it dry completely!

Make sure you use a small brush to blend the image with solvents that is not used for anything else. Solvents melt wax in the wax-based colored pencils making the surface smoother and darker.

Step 4

When it’s dry, layer the same colors in the background and add a few more over the entire background space. The colors are poppy red, aquamarine, light aqua, and limepeel. OVERLAP COLORS!

Now let’s draw the body. You can shade the light values found on the skin with parma violet and cloud blue, using a very heavy pencil pressure.

It’s important to see how the skin pattern curves around its body. Don’t create straight lines and repetitive shapes. Create volume and dimension by curving the uneven lines around its arms and feet.

Step 5

how to draw gecko step by step

Use a touch of canary yellow and light pink to shade the reflected light on the body’s bottom.

Step back to look at it from the distance and check your drawing for contrast, color and shapes. If needed, re-apply the background colors once again with heavy pencil pressure. Step back. Check values and edges. Outline a few edges in its head with sharp pencils for additional crispness and focus.

Browse through complete demonstrations and art books below.