In the previous post in this series, I showed you how to begin adding color to the landscape of your drawing. This week, we’ll finish the landscape as much as will be possible before turning to the horse.

Links to previous posts in this series are provided at the bottom of this post.

As always, the color names I use are for Prismacolor pencils unless otherwise noted. If you use a different brand, names will probably vary but the colors themselves should be pretty close.

Umber Under Drawing Second Color Layers Landscape

How to Add Color to an Umber Under Drawing – The Second Landscape Layers

The Purpose of the Second Layers

The goal with any drawing at this stage is to get the landscape as close to completion as possible. You’ll be more fully developing values and details, as well as drawing more accurate color gradations.

This is also a good time to take note of any other adjustments that might be necessary. For example, my reference photo showed very distinct tree shapes and I realized I’d defined them down far too much. So I took time in this round of color work to begin redefining some of those shapes.

TIP: Before you begin drawing the second landscape layers, take time to review your landscape. Is everything the way you want it? Have you made too many adjustments in some areas or not enough? This is the time to correct those problem areas.

How I Drew the Second Layers

The second round of color work began with redefining the background trees. That was a process of lifting color, then adding color, then lifting more color to create light and shadow.

When the basic shapes were satisfactory, I layered Dark Green over the background. For the most part, I kept the stronger, more clearly defined edges toward the center of the drawing and blurred shapes around the edges of the drawing. This kept the center of interest on the horse.

Adding Color to Umber Under Drawing Step 5


Next, I warmed up the overall color with a layer of Limepeel applied with horizontal strokes and medium pressure. I began with a well-sharpened pencil, but continued after the pencil became blunt.

TIP: A blunt pencil is sometimes the best tool for laying down color if you want softer edges and less obvious pencil strokes.

Several layers of Peacock Green followed, focusing on the darker areas. I also pushed some of the tree shapes further into the background by darkening them and softening their edges.

Then I used alcohol pads to smooth and blend the color. I used light pressure and went over each area only once or twice because I wanted a light blend (colors only slightly blended).

Adding Color to Umber Under Drawing Step 6


After the paper was thoroughly dry, I drew the grass at the foot of the trees with alternating layers of Limepeel, Grass Green, Dark Green, Yellow Chartreuse, and Sepia in a random pattern of application. All colors were applied stroking from the bottom up, so my strokes mimicked the way grass grows. Strokes closer to the foreground were longer than those in the background.

When I finished the grass, I turned again to the trees, working from background to foreground and from right to left, softening or defining edges as necessary to create the right look. In the illustration below, you can see the difference this layer of color made.

Adding Color to Umber Under Drawing Step 7


I continued layering Limepeel, Dark Green, Yellow Chartreuse over to the trees and Apple Green, Olive Green, Olive Green, and Yellow over the grass visible between the fence rails.

I used a fine-point Zebra pen-turned-stylus and a yellow Verithin and an olive green Verithin pencil to impress accents into grass before layering Apple Green over all of the grass in front of the fence.

Adding Color to Umber Under Drawing Step 8

Drawing the Fence

Work on the fence started with a layer of Jade Green, followed by layers of cold grays, beginning with the lightest color and ending with Steel, the darkest. I used alternating horizontal and diagonal strokes to add value to the rails, as well as texture.

I also worked on the grassy areas visible between and under the rails with Limepeel. I impressed some grass shapes into those areas, but ended up not using them as much as I thought I would.

TIP: Keep details and shifts in color and value subdued in the background. This will keep even a fully landscaped background from overwhelming your subject.

Adding Color to Umber Under Drawing Step 9 Detail

Finishing the Landscape

I finished the trees with a heavy layer of Limepeel, then added shadows with Dark Green and highlights with Chartreuse. Some of the trees were then glazed with Dark Green to push them into the background a little more. I used strokes that duplicated the growth of leaves and branches.

Limepeel, Dark Green, and Grass Green were applied to the grassy areas in rather loose, vertical strokes. The predominant color everywhere but the bottom was Limepeel. At the bottom, I put on two layers of Dark Green. Grass Green was used from the bottom up to the cast shadow of the horse.

Adding Color to Umber Under Drawing Step 9


After applying a layer each of Grass Green and Olive Green in those areas, I layered Limepeel over all of the grass to warm and unify the colors.

After that, I added a variety of greens over the grass. The first couple of layers were applied with the side of the pencil to create even coverage as quickly as possible. Then I switched to sharper pencils and drew the grass the way grass actually grows. Multiple layers, multiple colors with darker colors in the cast shadow and along the bottom, lighter and brighter colors in the middle ground, where the horse is and the coolest colors in the background.

Toward the end of the session, I added Yellow Ochre at the bottom of the grass and Yellow Chartreuse in the middle ground.

I removed the bottom rail from the fence. It sat so low in the grass it was distracting in a place where I didn’t need the distraction.

Adding Color to Umber Under Drawing Step 10


The rest of the drawing needs to be brought up to the same level before I can finish the background. For now, however, I’ve pushed it as far as I want to.

It’s generally best to keep a drawing as balanced as possible, rather than pushing any one area to what you consider completion before working on other areas. That will keep you from over-compensating in any one part of the drawing—the landscape for example—then having to scale back later.

So we’ll consider the landscape finished at this point and turn next to adding color to the horse.

Previous Posts in this Series