Tag: step by step demo

Step-by-step drawing: 3 graphite pencil techniques that work

Drawing is so fundamental to artist’s skill, we can hardly skip it, working in the realist tradition. Here I’d like to share several basic tools and techniques I use, drawing portraits in graphite pencil. I must note that these techniques are applicable to any kind of pencil/charcoal drawing, and these steps and tools are universal across any subject you pick to draw. In the end of this post I share my inspiration behind the drawing and a short video illustrating the steps. Let’s dive in!

#1 Use paper stumps with care

step by step drawing

I begin shading the image by placing the darkest darks on paper. You can compare this method to drawing from shadows to light. Here I draw on the Strathmore Bristol smooth paper that’s super smooth and thick. Because it accepts a limited number of layers, I need to be more mindful how dark I’ve got to go in the first step of shading. (Strathmore drawing paper, medium has a slight texture that’s more forgiving for general drawing techniques in pencil and colored pencil because it accepts more layers).

Paper stumps help artists blend the graphite and charcoal.

Once I’m done massing out the shapes in a soft, 4B graphite pencil, I use the blending stumps to blend large areas, such as the background and the hair. I’m mindful of the pencil pressure as well as of the stroke direction. It’s important to blend in the “right” direction and not to overwork the surface.

Blending with paper stumps unifies the surface, blending everything to a medium gray tone. Therefore, I strengthen the darkest areas immediately after that. Various sizes of paper stumps give me the precision I need blending the graphite.

Never use these paper stumps for colored pencil work! They will ruin the surface.

#2 Use kneaded eraser and the Tombow Mono Zero eraser

how to draw people

In the second step, I usually pull out the highlights with the kneaded eraser. Any brand of kneaded eraser works.  This type of eraser has dual benefit of lifting out the pigment without any residue and creating soft edges around the highlights, which look natural and give a realistic effect of soft light.

What’s to lift out? The lightest lights you see in your picture. I often lift out a bit more than I need to come back to it with finer shading over the lightest parts of my image to create subtle tonal transitions.

General’s kneaded eraser

Tombow Mono zero eraser is a great eraser that lifts out tiny details, such as thin strands of hair or tiny highlights in the pearls. This eraser also works great in colored pencil drawings when I try to erase hard to reach, very small areas in my work. I buy these on Amazon, and it takes about a month to arrive home from Japan! So if you decide to give it a try, order two or three at once, you won’t regret it!

Tombow eraser

#3 Shade in graphite in layers, erase and repeat

Kat with a shell, graphite pencil on paper, 9×12 inches

This step consists of several steps that’s simply a repetition of my actions. I layer the graphite by erasing, enhancing the dark values, and refining details. I develop my picture further with every new layer.

I work on subtle transitions with harder pencils, especially if it’s a skin tone. I usually shade with 2-4H gently transitioning from mid. tone to light. While I’m doing this, I pay attention to values to turn the form.

 

how to draw people
Drawing detail

Value scale

Every color has its own value scale going from the darkest dark to white. Because some colors are darker than the others naturally, they have a wider value range as opposed to the light colors. (Think of ultramarine as a dark color and yellow as a light one). Why do you need to know that?
You control your values at all times as you draw or paint to have a range of tones that makes your image look three-dimensional. Usually, students complete their drawing with a very limited range of tones. That’s why everything looks “just grey” or “too flat.”
Convert your color image into a black-and-white picture on your computer, and you’ll understand how dark the shadows should be, or how light your lights really are. Then step back and compare your drawing to that picture.

Drawing detail: hands with a shell

I finish working on my piece with a final fixative, spraying my drawing outdoors. I strongly recommend using professional-grade varnish, like the Grumbacher matte final fixative for dry media. It gives a very nice and even finish to my artwork that’s impossible to achieve with cheaper brands like Krylon.

Final fixative for dry media

My inspiration

Sandro Botticelli, The birth of Venus
Sandro Botticelli, The birth of Venus, 1486, Uffizi gallery, Florence

My pictorial inspiration for my drawing comes from the Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus. His shallow treatment of background space and the romantic figure of Venus coming out of the sea influenced me to create my goddess of the ocean. I worked on clothing and poses with a model to complete a fun photo shoot on the beach in Naples, Florida. The completed drawing is a study that I will later take to my oil painting.

You can read about the Botticelli’s artwork here.

Video

Here you’ll find a 40-sec. video as a summary of the step-by-step drawing described above.

 

How often do you draw in pencil? What’s you creative challenge? Let me know what you’d like to learn from me.

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Check out the step-by-step demonstrations here.
Join the art student club to receive a free drawing demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf
paintings of women

Magical realism in portraiture: my painting process

Hello friends,

I love painting portraits!  Although I see human anatomy as the most challenging to master, I’m strongly pulled by this subject to depict the beautiful complexity of a human spirit. I paint from real people who hurt, suffer, love, betray, care and ultimately encourage me to become a better person. I’m drawn to faces with enigmatic eyes: I believe in capturing the soul’s essence through my art. I paint in magic realism style that’s sometimes called pop-surrealism. It’s a departure from the surrealism style since I don’t paint dreams, rather I paint the reality with a surreal touch.

With every new artwork I’m presented with a new challenge and a discovery. Although I often work from my photographs, drawing from life is paramount to understanding the human form and the anatomy. That acquired knowledge could be applied to drawing from pictures, not the other way around. I put the information in that is taken out by the photography.

I love color, and I feel I’m finally getting closer to understanding how color mixing works in oil painting. I have more control over my process and I’m able to create color harmonies that resonate within me and help me describe a special atmosphere in my art.

This short video gives an overview of my painting process: how I create an image, work with the model and paint in layers.
The second part of the video shows a quick glazing technique you can start using today, if you paint. 🙂

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

Check out my art and tutorials at my website www.VeronicasArt.com and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE there!

http://eepurl.com/b-vEXP
http://eepurl.com/b-vEXP

 

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 drawings

The power of story-telling in colored pencil art

What is art for you? What pulls you in to look at paintings? Is it the beauty that we see? The color? or an idea? A memory or emotion? It’s all of the above for me.

How I create a story:

  • Step 1

Stories come to me as an emotional response to my surroundings and people I encounter. Creating a painting is falling in love with the idea, a visual element, and even the light shaping the form. I see a lot of beauty in people’s faces even when they may appear ordinary to the outside world. Every person has that special, beautiful side to him or her that I so like to capture!

I usually draw or paint from my pictures, but sometimes I brake the rules and follow my aesthetic and perception, working from my  photographs. When I shoot portraits, I aim to tap into a special place, to open the character of a person, to see a novel side of him or her.

I create stories around the models, and not the other way around. Therefore, it’s vital for me to get the “right expression” or the “right pose” before I could proceed with the design of my artwork. It’s shooting blind at times with plenty of trial and error experiences. After the general edit of my pictures, I pick one or two images to work from.

when-she-sails-11x14-colored-pencil-sm-veronica-winters-colored-pencil
When she sails, 15×20 inches, lightfast colored pencils on paper, private collection

In this drawing the model is an avid lover of boats and travel. I created a nautical background here to highlight the man’s romance with the  sea.

  • Step 2

Next I focus on the overall theme and color of a piece. Blues and greens tend to be calm and soothing, while the reds and yellows give an upbeat vibe. Every color carries its own significance to me and affects the perception of my subject. Thus I almost never leave the background to color last. And even if I do, I know what’s supposed to be there. The idea is set in the beginning and I often draw the background simultaneously with my subject. It’s much easier to maintain the color unity and the overall  movement in the piece this way.

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

This is a very special drawing for me. I took a picture of the boy in Nicaragua. He wore shabby clothes and I didn’t speak English. Yet, he was eager to pose for me as soon as he saw my Nikon aiming at him. The expression in his eyes is infinite.

  • Step 3

I find the artwork with the narrative to be the most fulfilling to me. It lets me create a world  that may exist although it doesn’t. The power of storytelling is more evident in my oil paintings where I let the figures keep their secrets and give the visual enjoyment to people looking at my work.

Some technical tips drawing in colored pencil:

  • It’s vital to draw on smooth paper. I burned out drawing on textured paper every time i tried it. While Bristol smooth paper might be too smooth for you, I find the Stonehenge papers to be exceptional in terms of layering, smoothness, and color choices.
  • Don’t economize on professional colored pencils. If you still draw with crayola, don’t expect the results you see in other students’ work.  🙂 Some professional brands include: the Prismacolor premier, Pablo, and the top of the line is Luminance.
  • If you are the very beginner in drawing, I strongly suggest to draw objects from life using graphite pencils. Draw one object from different points of view and under various lighting conditions. Adding color is like stepping up a notch or two. So if you are not that good drawing shapes correctly, the colored pencils is not going to fix it for you. A few of my art instruction books have demos done in graphite and then progress to colored pencil drawing. You can check them out here: http://www.veronicasart.com/Books.shtml , or find the book descriptions right here in my blog, by doing a title search.
  • Join a few Facebook groups to inspire and be inspired! Sharing helps to get good feedback, if you ask for it.
  • Have fun with it!!!!!!

How I draw in colored pencil step-by-step:

This demonstration gives you an idea how I draw in colored pencil.

  • Step 1-3

I work out the outlines on a sketch paper and then transfer the lines using the transfer paper. If it’s a portrait, I always begin drawing the eyes first. Nothing works, if the eyes don’t.

  • Step 4

I mass out the hair with the darkest color I see in the model. I don’t look at individual strands, rather focus on major shapes and masses.

  • Step 5

I draw the shadows in the face.

  • Step 6

I work on subtle shifts in color and value in the face. This is not easy to achieve, believe it or not. The trick is to overlap colors, instead of layering colors next to each other.

  • Step 7

I add color to the hair and strengthen the highlights.

  • Step 8

I add flowers as my background using the same color scheme I have in the model. For outlines of the flowers I use gold metallic pencil. I didn’t draw the flowers first because I knew I’d smudge these light colors while drawing the hair.

I always spray my drawings with a final fixative to protect them from the UV rays and moisture.

how to draw

My drawing methods shown on YouTube:

Shading: one mistake every beginner makes https://youtu.be/GaDyhypmWwY

The colored pencil demo of drawing a cherry: https://youtu.be/onvAG_TpV8o

Still life drawing:  https://youtu.be/rP3pUQszhKU

 

 

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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.

 

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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.