Adding Colored Pencil Over a Water Soluble Under Drawing

Welcome back to Tuesday Tutorials. This weeks’ topic is adding colored pencil over a water soluble under drawing.

This post is the follow up to last week’s Tuesday Tutorial, in which I showed how to draw an under drawing using water soluble colored pencils. If you missed that post or if you’d like a quick review before continuing, you can find the post here.

Adding Colored Pencil Over a Water Soluble Under Drawing

For this step, I switched from Faber-Castell pencils (Art Grip Aquarelle), to Prismacolor Premier Soft Core pencils. It wasn’t until later that I realized I could have used the same colors had I used Faber-Castell Polychromos instead.

My bad! I guess I’m still not accustomed to having Polychromos pencils to use!

Anyway, if you’re following this tutorial, if you have Polychromos, and if you want to use them instead of Prismacolor, go ahead. Do a little bit of color matching, and you should get good results.

Adding Traditional Colored Pencil Over a Water Soluble Under Drawing

Step 1

Layer Prismacolor Jade Green over all of the sky except the bottom one quarter to one third. Use a combination of strokes and two or three layers to draw smooth color.

Next, layer Powder Blue over all of the sky, top to horizon. Use the same methods and strokes to cover the paper.

Keep your pencils sharp and vary the type and direction of the strokes from one layer to the next, in order to draw a sky with even color and few or no visible pencil strokes. Use light to medium-pressure for both colors.

Adding Colored Pencil Over a Water Soluble Under Drawing Step 1

Step 2

Next, add several layers of Slate Gray. Draw the darkest values at the top of the sky, but don’t create a lot of variation toward the horizon. This sky is not clear. The landscape was in sunshine when I took the photograph, but the sky was still full of clouds.

Vary strokes from layer to layer. I used diagonal strokes in both directions, as well as horizontal strokes and vertical strokes. As I finished the Slate Gray layer, I even used the side of the pencil to lightly glaze color over the sky.

In areas where the color layer was a little rough, I used tiny, circular strokes to fill in some of the paper holes and smooth out the color.

Adding Colored Pencil Over a Water Soluble Under Drawing Step 2

Step 3

Once the sky is the color and value you want, blend the color by burnishing. You can use a colorless blender to burnish if you don’t want to change the colors.

If you want to make them lighter without changing the color, use a white pencil to burnish.

I chose to burnish with Powder Blue to lighten the sky and give it a blue cast.

This illustration shows the sky about half burnished, so you can see the difference burnishing makes.

Adding Colored Pencil Over a Water Soluble Under Drawing Step 3

Here is the sky completely burnished.

Adding Colored Pencil Over a Water Soluble Under Drawing Step 4

TIP: When burnishing an area that has gradations in color or value, start with the lightest areas and work into the darker areas. If you work from dark to light, you may leave dark marks in light areas. Once these marks are burnished into a drawing, it can be difficult to remove them.

Step 4

Layer Jade Green and Slate Gray into the most distant hills. Use medium to medium heavy pressure to apply one layer of Jade Green, followed by a layer of Slate Gray. Continue to alternate layers until you have the color and value you want.

TIP: It’s helpful to overlap the colors so that the color is not uniform, but you don’t need to draw a great deal of detail because these hills are a good distance away.

When the colors and values are the way you want them, burnish with Powder Blue. Make sure to soften the edges of the hills where they meet the sky. You don’t want those edges to be too sharp.

You can also use a warmer color to burnish parts of the middle hill if you wish. I used Cream in the lower portions on the left. This will create a transition between the shadowed parts of the landscape and the sunlit parts.

You can also wait until after the drawing is finished to add these touches.

Adding Colored Pencil Over a Water Soluble Under Drawing Step 5

Step 5

Layer Jade Green very lightly over the large hill in the middle, just behind the most distant trees. It’s all right to use a blunt pencil. The texture of the paper helps create the look of the landscape. Use light to medium light pressure. Cover all of the hill, but don’t worry about filling in every paper hole.

Then layer Sand over that using light to medium-light pressure.

Adding Colored Pencil Over a Water Soluble Under Drawing Step 6

Step 6

Layer Chartreuse over the hills immediately behind the trees. Use a sharp pencil and light pressure to lay down an even layer of color.

Make sure to add a few “holes” where the hills show through the trees.

Next, add the cast shadow from the large trees on the left with a lightly applied glaze of Dark Green. This shape should be fairly even, but it’s okay if you end up with patches of brighter green showing through the shadow. That will make the shadow look more like a shadow and less like a piece of dark green fabric lying on the hillside!

Adding Colored Pencil Over a Water Soluble Under Drawing Detail

Layer Dark Green into the darkest shadows of the trees. Make sure the pencil is sharp. Use light-medium pressure and squiggly strokes to mimic groups of foliage.

Add Dark Brown over that, followed by Indigo Blue to darken the shadows, but maintain a natural looking green color.

In this illustration, the trees on the far right show only the under drawing. Next to them, I’ve added only Dark Green in the shadows.

Adding Colored Pencil Over a Water Soluble Under Drawing Step 7

In the next group, Dark Green and Dark Brown have been applied and the tree on the left shows Dark Green, Dark Brown, and Indigo Blue layered into the shadows, then Dark Green applied with lighter pressure over most of the rest of the tree.


The next step in the process is finishing the shadows on all of the trees. Then I’ll pick up how I finished the trees, drew the foreground, and made final adjustments to the drawing, all in the next post. I hope you’ll join me.

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