Tag: colored pencil papers

how to draw a portrait in colored pencil

How to draw a person in colored pencil step by step

Here you’ll find the information how to draw a person in colored pencil step by step. Over the years I’ve drawn various subjects, but drawing people is becoming my passion. I love to draw stories and emotions though the human form. Before we start, please consider the following drawing tips that will help you find, or set up the subject for your project.

Before you start drawing

  • Pick the person to draw that will keep you interested and motivated to take your artwork to the finish line.
  • Always consider and study the lighting on your model. Most colored pencil artists work from pictures. Learn to take good pictures as your reference material. To begin you may look at portrait photography online to understand how the light changes the form.
  • Keep track of some professional artists working in the field, and study their artwork for composition, design, and the use of a color.
  • If you just start out pick the image with a face looking straight at you. Eliminate the head’s rotation for now that complicates things.

Step by step demonstration

I had a photo shoot with my model, positioning her under a single light to give me definite shadows.

In this demonstration I use a very light grey, smooth, printmaking paper, the surface of which is similar to Stonehenge paper pad. I also draw with the Prismacolor Premier colored pencils and Luminance. I use Gamsol solvent with a synthetic brush and Caran d’Ache full blender for blending.

how to draw a person step by step

 

  1. I work on the outline of my drawing on a sketch paper, and then transfer it to my high-quality drawing paper. It’s crucial to get the anatomy right at this step. Therefore I take my time and check for mistakes by looking at my drawing in the mirror. I keep fixing the outlines until the portrait looks good to me. Next I create the underpainting by working from dark to light in one dominant color that I see in my photo. Here I use dark brown to complete the initial shading. I focus on shadows only to block them in with the consistency needed to develop a sense of light and shade.
  2. In the second step I carefully introduce the second color and slightly overlap it over the first one to create softer transition into the light.
  3. In the third step I focus on the face and add warmer colors (yellows and pinks) in the middle tones.
  4. In this step I throw the same colors I’ve used in the face into her neck, arms and even hair. This is important to do for color unity, so that everything ties together visually. This is the main reason why I work from general to specific, and don’t draw one area from start to finish, ignoring the rest of the picture.
  5. I introduce the blues and lilacs into her shirt that creates a play between the warm skin tones and cool hues of the clothing. As usual I work from dark to light, so I shade the darkest folds first, then add the middle tones and finish up with the lights. Please see below how I approach drawing highlights on colored paper.
  6. In my last step I work on the background that compliments my subject. Here I’ve experimented quite a bit. I added silver acrylic paint to paint the seahorses, so they change their color slightly, depending on the viewer’s position to the drawing. I din’t use any Gamsol on the face because it would make the darks appear too harsh. I fixed the drawing with a final fixative for dry media, spraying it twice outside.

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

 

Blending & background:

Blending

There are two basic colored pencil blending techniques. One requires blending with a solvent and another with a colorless blender that looks like a pencil. Sometimes one technique is better than the other. While the solvent dissolves the pigment and moves it around fast, making the color look darker and blended, some colors may look too harsh after the application. The pencil full blender ( I recommend the one by Caran d’Ache) blends all the colors equally, but the process is very time-consuming especially if you work large, and requires a very heavy pencil application to achieve even blending.

Background

Background is important. Never draw your subject without considering the color and value of the background behind it as the background determines contrast and edges. You must have enough color on the page to do the blending with Gamsol. Otherwise, there is not enough pigment to dissolve the colors. Be conservative in your application, and never allow your solvent to run like water. Use a small brush to have a controlled application. Let the first layer dry completely.

In my drawing I painted the seahorses with the acrylic paint after the blending. You need to have a good brush for this that keeps a fine point. I didn’t use any water to spread the paint around, but used it for cleaning up the brush periodically, because the acrylic paints dry super fast.

In my second layer I shaded with the same colors with a much heavier pencil pressure.

In my third layer I added light grays and blues to make softer transitions and to achieve a different effect of “soft fuzziness”. I also shaded with grays to neutralize the brightness of the colors so that the background doesn’t “compete” with the figure.

Drawing of white fabric and highlights:

I use pure white colored pencil only over some previously applied color underneath it, reason being white by itself is a cool, dull color that needs a punch. I shade with white with the heaviest pencil pressure over the previously applied light color. I consider the color temperature of the highlight (warm or cool) as well.

What tutorial would you like to see on my website? Post your comments below. 🙂

Listening to the voice within, 15×20 inches, lightfast colored pencils on paper

“Finding the voice within” is the artwork about understanding and trusting yourself to navigate in this world. It’s inspired by the healing energy and colors of the ocean that’s symbolized in the female form.

 

These are some of the tutorials available for download. They teach the basics of color theory, layering and blending in colored pencil.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.