This week brings us to the conclusion of this series. If you’ve been following the series with your own drawing, today is the day I’ll show you how to finish your drawing.

While this series has focused on using the umber under drawing method with colored pencils, the finishing steps apply to any colored pencil drawing using any method.

How to Finish a Colored Pencil Drawing Using the Umber Under Drawing Method

By the time you reach this stage in any colored pencil drawing, most of the hard work has been done. Unless you need to make corrections, the majority of work now is adding details and making sure the values and colors are as correct as you can make them.

How to Finish a Colored Pencil Drawing Using the Umber Under Drawing Method

Developing Color, Value & Detail

I began by layering Peacock Green over most of the body and neck, working around the highlights. I followed that with Bruynzeel Permanent Orange.

Next, I used Black, Blue Slate, Powder Blue, White, and Limepeel (in that order) to draw the legs. First, I layered Black over all four legs. Then I singled out the flexed front leg and concentrated on that. I alternated among the colors and, when the leg was nearly complete, began working the grass and fence, so I could adjust edges.

When I’d done everything I could think of to do with that leg, I worked on the off side hind leg using the same method. In that manner, I worked from leg to leg until they were all finished.

Adding Color to Umber Under Drawing Step 15

Adding Color to Umber Under Drawing Step 17


Then I layered Bruynzeel Permanent Orange over all of the body, neck, and head except the reflected lights and brightest highlights. I worked into some areas of the highlights that had previously been worked around, but only very lightly. I used the side of the pencil and stroked in several different directions to get even color.

Then I used True Blue and the side of the pencil to layer color into the reflected highlights along the back, top of the neck, and rump, as well as on the off side of the shoulder and the front leg. That was followed by layering the same color throughout the body to gray and darken the orange.

When I finished, I used Dark Brown to deepen the shadows on the chest and neck.

By the time I finished, the paper was losing tooth and burnishing the drawing or spraying it with fixative were possibilities.

TIP: I try never to make a decision like this without giving myself time to consider options. Once a drawing is burnished, it can’t be unburnished. Fixative cannot be removed, either, so it’s generally better not to rush a decision like this.

Adding Color to Umber Under Drawing Step 18

Final Detailing

When I reviewed the drawing later, I decided against using fixative at least long enough to try burnishing.

I began detailing with the muzzle using Dark Brown and Black to draw lights and darks, then burnishing with the white. I worked up into the head, brightening highlights and darkening darks as I went, adjusting edges and shapes, and burnishing area by area. I finished the head and ears, then worked down the neck toward the shoulders.

TIP: With larger drawings, it can be better to work section by section when doing final details. This method produces a sharper, clearer image more quickly. There would also be the appearance of faster progress as more and more surface was covered. That can be a major encouragement!

To get the best possible look at details, I worked from the computer and enlarged the reference photo to focus on each area. If a photo is not high-resolution, you may find that enlarging the image too much doesn’t help. Find the best balance of clarity and enlargement to help you see the details you want to draw.

Adding Color to Umber Under Drawing Step 19


The final layers on the neck, shoulders, chest, body, and rump were Bruynzeel Permanent Orange, Sienna Brown, Dark Brown, Dark Green ,Deco Blue, Tuscan Red, and Cream.

When I finished adding color, I blended with rubbing alcohol applied with a cotton swab. Rubbing alcohol “melted” the wax binder enough for the colors to blend slightly. It also restores some of the paper tooth, so after the paper is dry, I can add more color if necessary.

When I finished, I set the drawing aside for a few days, so I could review it with a fresh eye.

Adding Color to Umber Under Drawing Step 20


After I determined the drawing was, indeed, finished, I sprayed it with two coats of workable fixative and it was ready for framing.

You don’t have to spray a finished colored pencil drawing with fixative or varnish if you don’t wish to. There are advantages to a light coat of fixative, including keeping wax bloom in check, but it really is a personal preference.

That completes this series. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

For personal, one-on-one instruction in this method of drawing, you might consider the online colored pencil course. You can opt to complete one drawing or two and the course is work at your own pace. More information is available on the online colored pencil course page or you can drop me an email.

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