For the purposes of this article, I’ll be comparing different methods for drawing the under drawing, since the over drawing is fairly consistent no matter which method you prefer.
There are a lot of reasons for choosing the method you use to draw. Even if you use an under drawing method—as I do—your reasons for making that decision may not be the same as mine.
I want to try a monochrome under drawing for colored pencil. What colors can I use?
Complementary Under Drawing
The under drawing is created using colors opposite the final colors on the color wheel. I want to draw a chestnut horse (shades of red and orange), so the under drawing will be shades of green. All of the greens in the background will have an under drawing made up of shades of red or earth tones.
Welcome to the second part in this two-part blog class on drawing with the complementary under drawing method. Last time, I showed you how to draw a complementary under drawing with colored pencil. This week, I’ll show you how to add color to your completed under drawing.
Using any shade of red to draw any shade of green is using what’s known as a complementary under drawing. When you use a complementary under drawing, you choose colors for the under drawing that are opposite the color wheel from the local (final) color you want to draw.
I’m using a direct method of color application, so when I began color work, I matched the pencils as closely as possible to the shades on the reference photo. Shadows were outlined, then shaded with Sienna Brown, followed by Burnt Ochre in the middle tones.
When you draw with a direct color under drawing, you begin drawing with pretty much the same colors you’ll finish with. You start with light colors and build color through a series of layers. While it’s quite likely you’ll include earth tones and complementary colors to keep the greens looking natural, you won’t use them by themselves at any part of the drawing process.
Umber Under Drawing
The first layers of color you put on the paper are called the under drawing. In this full-length, step-by-step tutorial, see how I drew a horse using an umber under drawing.
When the under drawing is in earth tones, it’s called an umber under drawing. You can use any earth tone, but the best choices are generally medium-value, neutral colors like light umber. Once I discovered umber under drawing, my landscapes began to look like they were supposed to look. See how using an umber under drawing can help you draw realistic landscape greens.
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