Tag: step-by-step

How to draw hair in colored pencil and markers

If you work in colored pencil, you know how long it takes to complete one drawing. To speed up the process many artists use the watercolor pencils, neocolor crayons, or markers. If you feel open to some experimentation drawing hair and underpainting your backgrounds, using permanent markers may become your thing. It’s my first time to use the markers and I’m sure I’ll make more posts as soon as I complete more drawings with them. Below you’ll find my drawing process step-by-step.

 

Step-by-step portrait drawing in colored pencil and permanent markers

Step 1

I sketch out the face using HB pencil on Strathmore drawing medium paper. This paper has a very slight texture that becomes somewhat problematic later. If you want to try out this technique, draw on Stonehenge paper or Bristol papers that are smoother and thicker.

Step 2

My pigment markers include just a few colors. Therefore I didn’t use black or brown on the hair. Instead I used a combination of sap green and red to get the darkest hue possible in the beginning. Usually, wax-based black colored pencil gives a lot of wax bloom and therefore underpainting the darks in markers is a good idea.

I also use yellow to fill in the background.

Underpainting with markers

Here you can see how crazy these colors look. Because it’s just an underpainting, I’m not worried about the fine details, but I watch for major patterns and waves happening in the hair.

Winsor & Newton permanent markers and sakura pen

Step 3

Once pigment markers are dry, I work in colored pencil over it. The underpainting gives me new, surprising color combinations. This is the step where I understand that smoother paper would work better with this drawing simply because layering over the markers in colored pencil still reveals paper’s texture, which I thought would be eliminated by the markers’ pigments.

When I’m done filling in the hair, I blend with the colorless pencil blender, and create the highlights with  some fly aways, using the Sakura Pen-touch marker that has a thin, sharp point.

I fill in the face in colored pencil only.

Step 4

In my final step I spray the fixative lightly, let it dry, and adjust minor things, like edges and details. A light coat of spray fixes the paper and allows me to work on areas that become too waxy and don’t accept pigment anymore.

portrait drawing in colored pencil
Italian girl, colored pencil and markers on paper, 9×12″

As you can see my end result is not hyper-realistic but very colorful. I’m pretty sure if I underpaint in black or brown marker, it would give me great image as well.

Video

 

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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How to paint still life step by step: oil painting techniques

If your goal is to learn painting in oil or acrylics realistically, you have to paint from life. For that artists set up a still life under unchanging, controlled light in front of their easel. The artist studies the light and shade by developing a complete drawing and then transfers the outlines onto a canvas or panel to paint. Because it’s a controlled set up, the light remains unchanged and the artist can work on his/her  painting almost indefinitely.

1. Draw from life

If your goal is to learn painting realistically, please draw from life as much as possible.  You can’t skip this step! Numerous problems can be resolved by learning to see the shapes and proportions, by designing compositions, and by shading your objects from life. Later you can partially substitute life drawing for painting from your pictures. Just be aware that pictures distort reality. We respond to the information in front of us very differently when we paint from life.

2. Make a shadow box

oil painting techniques shadow box

To set up your still life, make a shadow-box out of black foam board (see the pic above). The color of your background can be changed at any time by placing some fabric, colored carton, or any colored paper you like to paint as your background color. The size of the shadow box can be changed as well, depending on your space and the size of your still life.

Put a direct light source (a lamp) next to the shadow-box ( it’s located to the left here), and play with the light, looking at changes in the cast shadows and highlights on objects. It’s much easier to paint objects with dramatic light as opposed to even, diffused light. While the diffused light can bring a different mood with soft and subtle shadows creating peaceful atmosphere, it’s much harder to control and paint these subtle shifts in color and tone for beginners.

If you have no time to build the shadow box because you itch to draw and paint now, make a set up with a simplified background space that cuts off all the unnecessary information behind your still life. In the photo below you see a small box placed behind the starfish that’s covered with some fabric.

3. Preliminary drawing

It’s much easier to begin painting when the artist has done the prep work. Work out the outlines on a piece of sketch paper of the same size as your canvas. When the outline looks correct, transfer it onto canvas using either white or black transfer paper with a pen (image 2 & 3).

 

oil painting techniques step by step

4. Creating the underpainting (indirect painting)

The strip of grays represents the value scale. It’s mixed from 3/4 ivory black+1/4 warm brown with equal increments of titanium white.

After you have transferred your drawing, check for mistakes one more time. Fix them in 2H graphite pencil. Now you’re ready to paint.

Indirect painting means creating an underpainting in one color first and then layering paint in color. The underpainting can be done on black-and-white called grisaille, in green tones or in warm browns. Here I’m showing you the grisaille method of painting. The grisaille method is useful for still life painting and although many old masters painted the figures the same way, I find the gray underpainting to be too cold for the depiction of skin tones. I have a YouTube video titled “keeper” that shows this method of painting in detail.

Mix the value scale (titanium white or lead white+ ivory black+ a touch of brown to warm up the black) with a palette knife. No color is added at this point. Begin painting your objects using the grays. Focus on shadows and paint them first, then create transitional values leading to the lights. By painting in grays you focus on tones/values as opposed to color. As each color has its own value scale, you train yourself to convert the colors into the values. This is not easy to grasp and requires practice.

Let your first layer dry. Complete the second pass of black-and-white painting, refining edges and tones.

 

5. Painting in color

Paint in color by glazing and layering paint over the grisaille layers. I usually have 2-3 color layers in my painting. I finish up by adding texture in my last layer.

oil painting techniques still life with starfish and peacock feather

6. Varnishing

After the gazillion of hours spent on my painting, it’s finished! I let it dry for 6-12 months before varnishing the oil painting.

 

Interested to learn more?

If you’re interested to learn more about the indirect method of painting step by step, glazing and color layering, you can download my still life painting demonstration in a pdf format and as a video (sold separately.

 

The blue vase demonstration is available for download from my website both as a step-by-step pdf file and a video.

Other step by step demonstrations are available here:

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.