Carrie L. Lewis, Artist & Teacher

Helping You Create Art You Can be Proud Of

Colored Pencil Demo – Afternoon Graze, Part 1

Reference Photo for Afternoon Graze
8×10 Colored Pencil
Bristol 146 lb. Regular Surface, White
Technique: Direct

Above is a photograph taken quite a few years ago during a drive through the Flint Hills of Kansas. It’s been an inspiration from the start, inspiring the oil study, Dinner With Friends, and the colored pencil, The Sentinel.

Today begins a step-by-step series on the third drawing, tentatively titled Afternoon Graze.

Afternoon Graze is a small format (8×10) colored pencil on 146 lb. regular surface Bristol paper in white. I’m using a direct method.

Transferring the Drawing
Because I used Bristol, I was able to transfer the drawing through the paper, so I mounted the drawing on the back, where it remained for most of the project. I used Prismacolor Light Umber to draw the foreground grass, the horses, and some of the background elements in a traditional line drawing transfer.

Then I began placing shadows using Light Umber, medium pressure (normal handwriting pressure), and upward moving vertical strokes.

I then layered Prismacolor Indigo Blue over the Light Umber to create a ‘natural’ dark that will work better in the landscape than black.

Afternoon Graze Drawing, 2013-03-15


In the chestnut horse, I used Dark Brown and very light pressure. The tail was drawn with long directional strokes. The shadows on the body, legs, and neck were drawn with tight, circular strokes and a slightly blunted pencil.

The tail on the second horse is a combination of Light Umber and Indigo Blue, using the same strokes and pressure as above.

I continued adding detail to the grass working from the foreground to the background. It’s the reverse of what I usually do, so I’m interested in seeing how it works.

Afternoon Graze Drawing, 2013-03-18


Beginning Color Work
I’m using a direct method, so I didn’t bother with an underpainting or a complete line drawing. Instead, I went straight for the color.

Color work began with alternating layers of Sand and Limepeel using light to medium pressure and directional strokes in the lighter areas and Indigo Blue and Dark Brown in the shadows. I used the pencil tips and kept the pencils well sharpened.

Next, I glazed Sand and Limepeel up to the horses’ feet.

Original Colored Pencil, Afternoon Graze, March 19, 2013


I continued layering Sand and Limepeel, but also began burnishing highlights with Cream and Sky Blue Light, impressing accents with the stylus, and adding darks with Olive Green, Indigo Blue, and Dark Brown.

That was followed with Limepeel and Olive Green in the highlights, Indigo Blue and Dark Brown in the shadows, and Sky Blue Light and Sand in the highlights.

With each round, I begin at the bottom, tweaking and adjusting previously worked areas and working upward into fresh areas.

I did two glazes of Limepeel over all of the background up to the most distant tree line. I worked around the horses and the trees in the middle ground, but covered all other parts of the grassy field.

Then, beginning toward the bottom, I began adding clumps of grass with Limepeel, using short, vertical strokes applied in an upward direction. Shadows were added with Olive Green, followed by Dark Brown. I used light pressure for each color.

Because part of the foreground horse’s tail overlaps the grass, I used Dark Brown and light to medium pressure to stroke in the tail.

Original Colored Pencil, Afternoon Graze, March 20, 2013

For those who are interested, the work described here took about 3-1/2 hours spread over four days.

Click here to buy Colored Pencils: The Direct Method Step by Step to learn more about how to do a colored pencil drawing like this.

Related Articles
Colored Pencil Demo – Afternoon Graze, Part 1
Colored Pencil Demo – Afternoon Graze, Part 2
Colored Pencil Demo – Afternoon Graze, Part 3
Colored Pencil Demo – Afternoon Graze, Part 4
Colored Pencil Demo – Afternoon Graze, Part 5
Colored Pencil Demo – Afternoon Graze, Part 6
Colored Pencil Demo – Afternoon Graze, Part 7
Colored Pencil Demo – Afternoon Graze, Part 8


EE How to Start a Drawing with Water Soluble Colored Pencils


Colored Pencil Demo – Afternoon Graze, Part 2


  1. Hi Carrie,

    I’m enjoying this demo as I am wanting to learn how to eender properly landscape elements such as grass in CP.
    Is the Bristol Vellum finish? What exactly does “direct” mean regarding method?
    I look forward to the next part, thanks for sharing.


    • John,

      Thanks for stopping in and thanks for reading and commenting. I must tell you that I had so many requests for a landscape demo–yours included–that I chose this project specifically to do the demonstration. So thanks for your input.

      The Bristol is labeled as regular. It’s a Bienfang pad. I have a sheet of another brand that’s labeled as “vellum” and the surface is similar. It’s definitely not smooth.

      When I use the term direct in this context, it means I’m using color directly on the paper. In other words, I’m not doing an underpainting or a grisaille (gray tone underpainting). Compare the process on this landscape with the process I used for Salt Lake in Colored Pencil.

      Thanks again for stopping by and for your comments.


  2. Thanks for the reply Carrie! I am so glad i found you blog. Love of Horses has it’s benefits. :0)


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