5 Drawing Exercises with Curving Lines

5 drawing exercises with curving lines to help you improve line control for graphite, colored pencil, and other forms of drawing.

In a previous post, I shared a few line control exercises for straight lines. This time around, I’m focusing on drawing exercises with curving lines.

The following exercises will help you improve line control with curving lines, spirals, circles, and arcs. Improving these skills helps you layer color with directional strokes, as well as make more accurate line drawings.

5 drawing exercises with curving lines

You might expect curving lines to be more difficult to draw than straight lines. That hasn’t been my experience, and may not be yours.

But drawing a curving line, and drawing a curving line that accurately represents your subject are two different things. That’s why these curving line drawing exercises are just as important as straight line drawing exercises.

5 Drawing Exercises with Curving Lines

Rather than throw a bunch of exercises at you, let’s take a look at two main types of curving lines: Spiral curves and concentric curves.

Drawing Exercises with Spiral Lines

Outward Spiral

This is a simple, straight forward exercise. Put your pencil on the paper and begin drawing a line that curves around itself. Keep going as long as you can, making the circle ever larger.

This exercise is good for a number of things, including improving your ability to draw parallel curves, long lines with consistent pressure, and long lines with consistent weight.

In the sample below, pressure and line weight control were good, but those parallel lines…. I need a lot of work in that area and am not afraid to admit it!

5 drawing exercises with curving lines

Fixed Point Oval

This exercise is similar to the previous exercise except in one important area.

Rather than drawing a curving line that enlarges on a central point in the center of the circle, the fixed point is at one side. It doesn’t matter which side you choose. Make every loop larger than the previous loop, but make every loop overlap at one point.

Gradated Spiral

With this exercise, still do the entire exercise without lifting the pencil.

But start with heavy pressure, reduce pressure to the lightest you can manage, then darken it again to the darkest.

This exercise puts a little spin on the previous exercise and on the first exercise in this post.

Drawing Exercises with Concentric Lines

Broken Concentric Circle

Begin with a small circle drawn in the center of your paper.

Instead of drawing a parallel circle outside the first circle, draw arcs as shown below. You can vary the length of each arc, but make them as parallel to the inside line as possible.

You can also work on line weight and pressure control with this exercise.

Of course, drawing complete circles parallel to the center circle is also a good idea.

5 drawing exercises with curving lines

Gradated Concentrics

Start with a dot or very small circle either very light in value or very dark.

Draw the next line outside the first line and continue. Make each successive line lighter or darker than the one before. Also work on keeping them parallel. The goal is to create a full value range light to dark or dark to light, then work back in the opposite direction.

I was walking the cat when I did this exercise and standing with the pad of paper in one hand, the pencil in the other, and my end of the leash looped over my wrist. The line started out fairly circular, but it didn’t take long to become misshapen.

However, I rather like the topographical look. It fires the imagination, doesn’t it? What sort of topographical formation would look like this on a topographical map?

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many drawing and line control exercises available. Whether you use these specific exercises or something else, the important thing is that you find something that’s helpful to you.

You can even make up your own or customize these exercises to fit your particular drawing style or the area you need to work on.

Whatever you do, remember the main rule. Above all, have fun!

CP Magic June 2021 now Available

CP Magic June 2021

Announcing CP Magic June 2021, with featured artist Gail Jones and a new column for all of you who love drawing flowers. This issue is 40 pages of great and inspiring information for colored pencil artists at all levels.

Here’s a peek.

What’s in CP Magic June 2021

The Featured Artist

Gail Jones is the featured artist for June. Unlike many featured artists, Gail doesn’t consider herself a professional artist. Rather, she says she’s “more of an art student.” An enthusiastic learner pursuing many mediums and subjects and her work shows that variety of interests and mediums.

If you’ve ever wondered if your art is good enough or if you should continue spending time with it, then you’ll find encouragement from Gail’s story.

Mixed Media Tutorial

Carrie Lewis provides this month’s tutorial. She chose one of her favorite subjects—a horse—but combines India ink and colored pencils for a mixed media work that combines the best of both.

Are you looking for ways to speed up the drawing process? Carrie shows you how to start a portrait with India ink, and finishes with colored pencils.

Her tutorial includes a downloadable reference photo and line drawing.

Carrie classifies this tutorial as intermediate, but artists at all levels can successfully complete it.

New in June: The Joy of Floral Art

Artist Jennifer Lane joins CP Magic with a special column for floral artists, The Joy of Floral Art.

This column is the latest in a rotating selection of special columns relating to subjects. Beginning with landscape art in April, and pet portraits in May, this series of columns will alternate through the year.

Jennifer talks about her own discovery of the joys of creating floral art, and shares a few basic tips for starting or improving your own beautiful floral art.

CP Magic June 2021

Also in CP Magic May 2021

Tips for Improving Productivity

Carrie has talked many times about ways to improve creativity. Now she shares the ways she’s found for improving productivity by turning idle time into drawing time.

Nothing But Pencils & Paper for Beginners

Are you new to colored pencils? Then this monthly column is for you! This month’s topic is paper and includes the basics of paper and tips for choosing the best paper for your next project.

The CP Magic Reader Gallery

The CP Magic Reader Gallery is dedicated reader work. Selections cover the range of skill levels.

The full collection is available for viewing online. Take a peak at the June collection here, then learn how you can submit your latest finished colored pencil artwork.

The Final Pencil Strokes

Have you ever reached the end of an issue of CP Magic, and wished there was more to read? The Final Pencil Strokes wraps up each issue with links to three colored pencil blog posts for further information on the wonderful world of colored pencils.

About CP Magic

CP Magic is a monthly digital publication written by colored pencil artists for colored pencil artists at all levels.

Each month features an artist interview and tutorial so you can meet the artist and see how they work. You also get great general-interest articles and regular columns and features with each issue.

Get your copy of CP Magic June 2021 today.

Dealing with Hand Pain While Drawing

Dealing with Hand Pain while Drawing

Do you experience hand pain while drawing? You’re not alone.

When I work sitting down, I often get a bit of tingling in my right arm. It doesn’t matter whether I’m typing or drawing. I think it’s because my elbow rests against my hip and cuts off circulation.

It’s not major pain. It’s not even really pain at all. But it is a nuisance.

So I’ve found ways to alleviate the problem or avoid it altogether.

Today, I’d like to share a few of them with you.

Dealing with Hand Pain While Drawing

Shorter Working Sessions

Keeping working sessions short (usually 15 or 20 minutes) is the most helpful thing I’ve done. It’s also the most difficult to implement, because it’s so difficult to stop when once I get into the zone!

But limiting drawing sessions to half an hour or less eases the stress on hands and fingers. Even if you don’t actually leave your drawing table when you lay down your pencils.

For example, when I’m writing a tutorial, I work on the drawing long enough to finish a step. Then I describe in writing what I just did. The motions required and the muscles used for those two activities are so different that typing is like taking a break from drawing, and drawing is like taking a break from writing.

Granted, if arthritis or some other physical condition is the cause of your pain, typing or doing something similar will not help.

But short drawing sessions will at least keep you from overworking those hand and finger muscles.

Dealing with Hand Pain While Drawing

Changing the Way You Hold the Pencil

Another easy way to relieve minor hand pain is to change the way you hold the pencil while you draw.

All of us have a “normal” grip. That is, a way to hold the pencil that’s easy, comfortable, and normal. My normal grip is holding the pencil at about 45 degrees to the surface of the paper.

But that does get tiring on my hand, especially if the pencil is very short or if I’m doing detail work.

Changing the way I hold my pencil changes the way I use my hand muscles. For example, a vertical grip (shown below) uses muscles differently than my normal grip. Holding the pencil in a more horizontal position and using the side of the pencil uses those muscles differently.

So rotating through two or three different pencil grips could provide all the relief you need for hand pain or discomfort.

Working at an Easel or Standing Desk

For the type of hand discomfort I sometimes deal with, working standing up is a great help.

For one thing, my arms are extended to one degree or another whether I’m standing at an easel or drafting table.

Working while standing also keeps me a little more active no matter how long I work, because I’m always shifting my feet around or moving from side to side. It’s also easier to walk a few steps to retrieve something (or just walk to a window and look outside) if I’m standing than if I’m sitting. I guess I’m lazier than I thought!

Hand Strengthening Exercises

The root cause of hand pain is sometimes as simple as adjusting to a new activity. If that’s the case, simple exercises to strengthen the hand muscles may be all that’s required.

My favorite is using a small rubber ball just big enough to fit into the palm of your hand. Whenever you have idle time, work the ball by turning it and squeezing it in your hand. It won’t take long before you start to feel the difference in hand strength. When I had cellulitis in both hands a few years ago, I was given a series of exercises to do with something called Thera-Putty. A rubber ball works just as well.

The nice thing about this type of exercise is that you can do it anywhere and at almost any time.

And it won’t be long before you notice improved grip and better muscle stamina in your hands.

For more easy hand and finger exercises, read 10 Ways to Exercises Hands and Fingers from WebMD.

Dealing with Hand Pain While Drawing

If hand pain is persistent or severe, your best bet is to check with your physician. He or she can properly diagnose the problem and provide specific treatments, including hand exercises, to help the specific problem.

Labor Saving Tips for Colored Pencils

We all know it takes time to complete a drawing with colored pencils. It’s just the way pencils are. What we all need—and want—are labor saving tips for colored pencils and colored pencil work.

Right?

Some time ago, I replied to a reader asking for help getting her work past the amateurish phase. Today, I want to answer the second part of her question. Here’s her question.

[Using colored pencils] seems so laborious and I don’t know how to make them be fun in creating the color. Any suggestions?

Labor Saving Tips for Colored Pencils

I know exactly how this reader—and a lot of you—feel! Creating highly detailed colored pencil drawings takes hours of labor. We all love our pencils, but there have to be shortcuts.

Labor Saving Tips for Colored Pencils

I don’t know how to change the laborious nature of drawing with colored pencils. I don’t know that it’s possible, to be truthful, but there are ways to deal with what some might call tedium and still use colored pencils.

Drawing small is one way to finish more drawings quickly and improve drawing skills. Drawing small doesn’t reduce the labor—you still have to cover the paper. But it does reduce the tedium, and here’s how.

When you do small drawings, it takes less time to finish each layer. You see progress more quickly, and that keeps drawing from becoming tedious.

Labor Saving Tips for Colored Pencils
Each of these drawings are 3-1/2 inches by 2-1/2 inches in size. Small drawings like this are ideal for trying new skills and new tools, or practicing what you already know.

It’s also a good way to train your drawing muscles (that includes your eyes and your brain) to draw for longer periods of time. Think of it like exercising. You start with a few repetitions or with short walks, and gradually work toward more repetitions or longer walks.

Or even more strenuous exercises.

The more small drawings you do, the easier finishing larger drawings becomes. So small drawings are the cure for a lot of colored pencil difficulties.

Small drawings are also my favorite labor saving method!

Here are a few more.

Try a vignette-style drawing to keep your focus on the subject

What’s a vignette-style drawing? Let me show you.

What these drawings have in common—other than the subject—is that for each one, the paper is the only background. The horses got all my attention, and drawing time.

I don’t do these types of drawings very often anymore except for plein air studies, but they can be an excellent way to take some of the labor (and time) out of colored pencil work. After all, if you let the paper be the background, you don’t have to do anything with it!

And this style of drawing works with almost any subject.

You can also add just a suggestion of background by shading around your subject to highlight it. This portrait started out as a vignette-style portrait, but the dog disappeared into the background, so I shaded around the upper part of the dog, then faded the background at the bottom. Roughly 20 minutes of work that brought the dog to life.

Water soluble colored pencils let you lay down an under drawing quickly

Water soluble colored pencils are great for getting color on the paper fast. Draw with them dry on dry paper, then wet them with a damp brush. Draw into damp paper. Dampen a brush and pull color off a palette or directly off the pencil.

Whatever method you use, water soluble colored pencils allow you to draw backgrounds and under drawings quickly. They also fill in the tooth of the paper completely, saving time and layers later on.

Just make sure to use water soluble pencils first, since wet color may not stick to traditional colored pencil layers.

TIP: You can also try other water soluble media like watercolor, acrylic, or airbrushing to do backgrounds

Try drawing on colored paper to reduce labor and drawing time

Colored paper is one of the best ways to save drawing time. Whether you use the color of the paper as the background (see above) or as a base color (or value), drawing on colored paper saves pencil strokes and minutes.

If you choose a medium value paper, you can also use just light and dark pencils to complete a drawing.

That’s what I did for the drawing of the black Tennessee Walking horse I used to create the drawing for the Portrait of a Black Horse tutorial, and for this small plein air drawing.

Labor Saving Tips for Colored Pencils

Combine colored paper and small drawings for the best results.

Read more about Fast & Easy Background Options for Colored Pencil Drawings on EmptyEasel.

Draw for short periods of time to keep your eyes and hands rested, and your mind alert

Keep drawing sessions to twenty minutes or less.

It may not make much sense, but you can get a lot more done if you work twenty minutes every day for a week than if you work two hours one day a week.

Your work is more likely to turn out well, too.

If you want to work longer each day—or if you have to—then break your drawing day up into shorter segments. In between, do something else that gives your hands, your back, and your brain a rest, and you’ll be more energized when you go back to work.

TIP: This is a great idea if you have trouble making a start. It’s a lot easier to start drawing if you know you can stop and have accomplished your drawing goal after fifteen or twenty minutes.

There are a Few Labor Saving Tips for Colored Pencils

There are other ways to save time and effort with colored pencils, but if you don’t want fancy tools or accessories, these tips will help you. I encourage you to check them out.

If you’ve found other ways to make drawing with colored pencils easier, share your suggestions in the comments below.

We’d all like to know other ways to save time and labor with our favorite medium.

CP Magic May 2021 now Available

Announcing CP Magic May 2021, with featured artist Susan Brinkmann. 40 pages of great and inspiring information for colored pencil artists at all levels, including a great, intermediate-level tutorial.

Here’s a peek.

What’s in CP Magic May 2021

The Featured Artist

Susan Brinkmann is an award-winning British artist based in the Netherlands. She specializes in colored pencil portraits of people and animals, and her artwork has been published and exhibited on an international scale. She also receives portrait commissions from around the world.

As much as she enjoys creating art, she loves even more teaching others how to create their own colored pencil art.

She talks about her artwork and passion for teaching in the interview portion of this month’s CP Magic.

This Month’s Tutorial

Susan’s intermediate-level tutorial is based on a portrait of a Welsh Terrier. In addition to showing you how she draws such thick, curly hair, her tutorial includes suggestions on making the most of a less than ideal reference photo.

CP Magic May 2021 Page 21

Susan uses Caran d’Ache Supracolour and Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils on Winsor & Newton Smooth Surface Heavyweight Paper.

New This Month: Pet Portraits in Colored Pencils

This month features the second in a series of new columns focusing on specific subjects. Last month, I wrote about The Landscape Artist.

This month’s special column is for the reader who is or wants to become a pet portrait artist. This column focuses on the most important thing to get right in any kind of portrait.

Also in CP Magic May 2021

Making the Kind of Art You Want to Make

When it comes to creating art, you should create what you’re passionate about. At least that’s the guiding principle.  But what does that mean?

Nothing But Pencils & Paper for Beginners

Are you new to colored pencils? Then this monthly column is for you!

Then & Now

Every artist started somewhere. Even your favorite artists. Then & Now features “then” and “now” works to encourage all of us to keep drawing when we fell like we’ll never improve!

The CP Magic Reader Gallery

The CP Magic Reader Gallery is dedicated reader work. Selections cover the range of skill levels.

The full collection is available for viewing online. Take a peak at the May collection here, then learn how you can submit your latest finished colored pencil artwork.

The Final Pencil Strokes

Have you ever reached the end of an issue of CP Magic, and wished there was more to read? The Final Pencil Strokes wraps up each issue with links to three colored pencil blog posts for further information on the wonderful world of colored pencils.

Ask Carrie

Featured Photo

About CP Magic

CP Magic is a monthly digital publication written by colored pencil artists for colored pencil artists at all levels.

Each month features an artist interview and tutorial so you can meet the artist and see how they work. You also get great general-interest articles and regular columns and features with each issue.

Get your copy of CP Magic May 2021 today.

Blazing Sunset Tutorial for Advanced Artists

Blazing Sunset Colored Pencil tutorial

Are you ready for something exciting? Then let your creativity and imagination run wild with the Blazing Sunset Tutorial for advanced artists.

This tutorial began as an experiment. I found a photo I absolutely had to draw, and that was perfect for testing Brush & Pencil colored pencil painting tools on Lux Archival paper. The results?

In a word, thrilling!

Laying down color was fun, easy, and fast! So was blending. I even got to do a little brush work, something I learned to love as an oil painter. A world of possibilities opened before me as I worked through this drawing.

Now, I want to share that world with you through this tutorial.

Blazing Sunset Tutorial for Advanced Artists

This is a great tutorial, but it’s more than just a tutorial.

In addition to the usual detailed step-by-step instruction and clear images you’ve come to expect from my tutorials, you’ll read my thoughts on each of the new products I tried. I’ll share not only what worked, but what didn’t, so you can avoid some of the mistakes I made!

But most of all, I want to encourage you to begin the transition from duplicating other people’s are through tutorials to making your own art from scratch. I’ve described how I made that transition. Now I want to help you make the same transition.

This tutorial is the beginning of that process.

What is an Advanced Tutorial?

Advanced colored pencil tutorials from Colored Pencil Tutorials are designed to assist beginner and intermediate artists transition to making their own art.

If you enjoy tutorials but really want to make your own art start to finish, the advanced tutorials at Colored Pencil Tutorials will help you.

This tutorial includes a full supply list, and a color chart so you can match colors if you don’t have Polychromos pencils. It also includes a full-size reference photo!

It does not include a line drawing. That’s one of the reasons it’s an advanced tutorial. But you know what? I hope you’ll have as much fun creating your own forest of trees as I had!

Blazing Sunset Tutorial for Advanced Artists

Are You Ready for Something Fun?

If you’re ready to try this new method of using colored pencils, I hope you’ll give this tutorial a try. It’s written so you can create your own blazing sunset, then follow the same steps for your own landscape.

And if you’re just looking for a new project to draw, then why not give this tutorial a try?

Click here to buy your copy of the Blazing Sunset Tutorial for Advanced Artists.

Overcoming New Artist Fears

Overcoming New Artist Fears

I want to thank the reader who asked the question for today’s post. She wants to know about overcoming new artist fears. Something all of us deal with at one time or another. Here’s her question.

I’m a beginner colored pencil artist stuck in beginner mode mostly due to “beginner fear”. I LOVE horses and landscapes, so I have enjoyed your blog very much.

After many years of owning horses, my body no longer lets me do that kind of activity, so I’ve turned to art. I even purchased your black horse tutorial but I’m terrified to try it. So I practice on things I’m less interested in, if that makes any sense.

I would love to hear from you and learn how to draw horses as well as you. Can you please offer your expertise on learning to draw horses in colored pencil? Did you have this kind of paralyzing fear when you first started? Thanks for any help.

Celeste

Overcoming New Artist Fears

First of all, thank you for your question, Celeste. I understand completely what you’re experiencing. The fact of the matter is that I chuckled out loud when I got to your last question. I STILL sometimes deal with this kind of paralyzing fear!

I actually think this difficulty could more accurately be called “new project fear.” Every artist experiences this moment of doubt or hesitation at least once. Some of us experience more than just once in a while.

Overcoming New Artist Fears

I understand working on “unimportant projects” before doing what I really want to do. Believe it or not, that’s a good way to get started.

You can consider those projects to be basic training if you like. You can also consider them warm-up exercises.

When you do projects like this, you’re getting more familiar with the pencils and paper, you’re learning what layering is all about, and you’re probably even learning what works and what doesn’t work.

After you’ve done a few of these, you’ll find the “real projects” far less scary.

A Personal Example

I recently finished a portrait that took a long time to do. Part of the reason for that was that I was using Pastelmat for the first time for a paid portrait. I didn’t know what to expect.

So I started a second portrait, which was my “test portrait.” Before trying any new technique on the paid portrait, I tried it first on the test portrait. Then, after I gained confidence, I worked on the paid portrait.

When I finished and delivered the paid portrait, I repurposed the test portrait. It will eventually become a landscape.

So keep doing those sorts of projects until you’re comfortable with using colored pencils.

Transitioning to Tutorials

Once you’ve gained confidence with the pencils, transition into that tutorial by practicing parts of it. I like drawing manes and forelocks, so that’s often what I’d practice. But there is no forelock and not much mane on this tutorial, so you might try some other part of the horse. One of the ears, maybe, or the eye.

That blue ribbon under the head would also be a great practice piece.

If you decide to do practice pieces from the tutorial, do them small. 4×6 inches is a great size for studies. You can finish them more quickly than larger pieces. They’re also easier to let go of if they don’t turn out.

And if they do turn out, you’ve gained confidence!

Learning to Draw Horses & Landscapes

As for learning to draw horses and landscapes like I do, that’s no more complicated than making lots of drawings. My art didn’t always look like it looks now. It took lots of drawings, some of which were downright ugly!

Don’t be afraid to make ugly art. Every piece you finish (whether it turns out or not) helps you improve.

Overcoming Those New Artist Fears

Uncertainty is normal whenever you start something new. Making the first mark on a new piece of paper seems intimidating at first. You will get past that.

Start drawing, then keep drawing. Studies, full images, everything.

When you get ready, you can also study with someone whose work you admire, whether it’s mine or someone else’s. I give one-to-one classes by email (you can learn more about them here.)

A couple of my favorite horse artists teach on Patreon. Bonny Snowdon and Lisa Ann Watkins are excellent horse artists and both teach on Patreon.

The most important part is making the start and you’ve already done that. So sit back and enjoy the process!

You won’t be sorry.

Colored Pencil Tips for New Artists

Sometime ago, I wrote a post sharing 8 things I wished I’d known when I started as an artist. Those tips apply to all forms of art, so today, I want to share specific colored pencil tips for new artists.

As with most things, when you first begin, the world is at your feet. The sky’s the limit! Colored pencils are the best art medium ever and you’re going to create great art from the start.

Then reality hits.

You’re much better equipped for that reality if you remember these eight things.

Colored Pencil Tips for New Artists

1. Colored Pencils are S-L-O-W!!!

New products are being developed all the time that can speed up the drawing process for colored pencil artists. Watercolor pencils. Sanded art papers. Great new blending tools.

But colored pencils are still a naturally slow medium, and if you prefer traditional colored pencils on traditional papers, expect to spend hours and hours on each piece.

Colored Pencil Tips for New Artists

Especially if you prefer producing realistic work. Take your time and enjoy the process.

2. Not All Colored Pencils are the Same

Aside from variations in labeling and exterior treatment, most colored pencils look the same. Yes, some are round and some are octagonal. Most are wood-encased, and others have no casing at all. And they all look like pencils!

But they don’t all perform the same way. A set of cheap pencils purchased at the local craft store do not perform the same as a set of high quality pencils purchase from a dedicated art supply store.

To keep frustration levels to a minimum, start with the best pencils you can afford.

3. You Don’t Need a Full Set of Pencils

Despite all those lovely, beautiful, enticing colors, you can make a good start with just a few colors. Small sets force you to learn how to layer colors to mix new colors. You may not like all the new colors you make. I can just about guarantee you’ll hate a lot of them.

But that’s all right. Most artists learn more from their mistakes, than from the things that go right.

Smaller sets are also less expensive. If you make a few drawings, then decide you prefer another medium, you can give that small set away without guilt. Or regret!

4. Sharp is Good, but Not Always Best

You won’t have to watch many videos or do many tutorials to start hearing how important sharp pencils are. For many applications, that is true.

But dull and even blunt pencils are also useful in some applications. Try them for putting thin, nearly transparent color into larger areas.

Colored Pencil Tips for New Artists

5. You Don’t Need Solvents to Get Smooth Color

For years, colored pencil artists created wonderful works of art using nothing but pencils and paper.

Then someone discovered colored pencil layers could be dissolved and blended with solvents. Solvents allowed color to “soak” into the paper and fill in the tooth of the paper without damaging the tooth.

That meant artists could add more layers, get smoother color, finish faster, and even work larger.

That doesn’t mean you have to solvents. A lot of artists prefer the way their work looks if they don’t use solvents.

So if you don’t like the look of solvent-blended color, or are allergic to solvents, don’t worry! You can still make great art the old-fashioned way.

6. You Don’t Need Fancy Tools

There are a lot of new tools, gadgets, devices, and other accessories for the colored pencil artist in today’s market. All of them are useful to someone.

Most of them are fun to try.

Some of them may even help you.

But beginners don’t really need them. As a matter of fact, adding tools to your toolbox before you know how to make the pencils and paper work together causes confusion and maybe frustration.

7. Experiment!

Don’t be afraid to make bad art. All of us have done it!

Colored Pencil Tips for New Artists

When you wonder if two colors work together, the best way to find out is to try them together. If they do, great!

If they don’t, then you’ve learned something not to do.

8. Have fun.

I can’t mention this often enough.

That’s because it’s so easy to get caught up in the creative process that you forget to have fun. Especially after you’ve been drawing for a while and you really want to improve.

The best way to improve is to do a lot of drawings. The best way to do a lot of drawings is to have fun with every drawing.

Those are My Tips Colored Pencil Tips for New Artists

Keep them in mind as you begin exploring your colored pencils and your art journey will get off to a much better start.

They also work for those of us who have been making art for a while.

Sometimes we forget!

CP Magic April 2021 now Available

Announcing CP Magic April 2021, with featured artist Tammy Hoffert.

This issue of CP Magic is 40 pages of great and inspiring information for colored pencil artists at all levels, including two brand new features.

Here’s a peek.

What’s in CP Magic April 2021

The Featured Artist

Tammy Hoffert has been passionate about colored pencils since first trying them. She draws a variety of subjects and gives each one her special attention to detail. But a glance at her gallery of works reveals a special interest in still life and floral subjects.

April Tutorial

Tammy’s tutorial reveals that special passion, combining a beautiful butterfly and flower.

Tammy chose Canson Mi-Teintes paper (Ivy color) for capturing the delicate colors of the butterfly and the vivid pinks of the flower. She’ll show you how to draw the tiniest details in this tutorial, which she wrote with the beginners among us in mind.

CP Magic April 2021

The Great Art Adventure

If you’ve ever purchased brand new paper or the latest pencils, then hesitated to use them, you’ll love this month’s Great Art Adventure. Carrie recently had a similar experience and tells how she overcame that reluctance to “spoil new paper.”

New This Month: The Landscape Artist

Carrie launches the first of two new features with a column dedicated to landscape artists. The debut column shares tips for creating your own beautiful landscape art.

Even if you’ve never before drawn a landscape.

Also New This Month: Reader Gallery

The most exciting rollout is the Reader Gallery. This five-page gallery is reserved for the work of CP Magic readers. Each month will feature four or five pages of reader art.

But every reader who submits work is included in the online CP Magic Reader Gallery. Take a peak at the April collection here, then learn how you can submit your latest finished colored pencil artwork.

Also in CP Magic April 2021

Nothing But Pencils & Paper for Beginners

Just getting started with colored pencils? Then this monthly column is for you!

Then & Now

Every artist started somewhere. Even your favorite artists. Then & Now features “then” and “now” works to encourage all of us to keep drawing when we fell like we’ll never improve!

The Final Pencil Strokes

Have you ever reached the end of an issue of CP Magic, and wished there was more to read? The Final Pencil Strokes wraps up the April 2021 issue with links to three colored pencil blog posts for further information on the wonderful world of colored pencils.

Ask Carrie

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About CP Magic

CP Magic is a monthly digital publication written by a colored pencil artist—yours truly—for colored pencil artists at all levels. That’s you!

Each month features an artist interview and tutorial so you can meet the artist and see how they work. Other columns include the Great Art Adventure, CP Clinic, a featured photo, and more.

Get your copy of CP Magic April 2021 today.

Watercolor Pencil Landscape for Beginners

Watercolor Pencil Landscape for Beginners

Announcing my first new tutorial for 2021. Watercolor Pencil Landscape for Beginners.

Landscapes are one of the most difficult subjects for many artists to capture. They have been for me. There’s simply so many possibilities in every scene, that an artist can quickly become overwhelmed.

I didn’t start doing serious landscapes until after I started using colored pencils. My skills have improved over the years, but one thing remains the same.

It still takes a long time to finish a landscape! Especially a big one.

So I started looking for other ways to draw and that’s how I discovered the usefulness of watercolor pencils.

Watercolor Pencil Landscape for Beginners

And that led to this tutorial.

Watercolor Pencil Landscape for Beginners

In this tutorial, I share some of the lessons I learned about combining water and traditional colored pencils.

You’ll learn how to start your landscape with watercolor pencils, using them wet and dry.

Then you’ll see how to layer traditional colored pencils over the under painting. I’ll show you how to create the illusion of distance and draw trees that look like trees.

The tutorial includes a full supply list, a color chart so you can match colors if you don’t have Prismacolor pencils, and a line drawing. It also includes a full-size reference photo!

A page from the tutorial. Click on this image to buy your copy.

Are You Ready for Something Fun?

If you’re ready to dive into watercolor pencils, I hope you’ll give this tutorial a try. It’s written so you can do this project, then follow the same steps for your own landscape.

Or for most other projects you want to try.

And if you’re just looking for a new project to draw, then why not give this tutorial a try?

Click here to buy your copy of the Watercolor Pencil Landscape for Beginner’s tutorial.