Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing

Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing

Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing Autumn Challenge

We all have visions of artists outside, painting landmarks like the Eiffel Tower or the London Bridge or San Fransisco Bay.

Maybe you’ve even seen them in your town, painting local scenes and doing wonderful work.

Plein air art is usually associated with wet media like oils, watercolors, or acrylics. If people think of plein air drawing, they usually think graphite or charcoal. I know I do.

But have you ever considered doing the same thing with colored pencils?

An Autumn Project

I’ve never been much of a plein air artist. I much prefer studio work and years of working as a portrait artist seemed to make plein air drawing unnecessary.

But I have often admired artists who can accurately capture the personality of a subject while painting or drawing outside, no matter what medium they use.

Summer is drawing to a close here in Kansas. Daily temperatures are beginning to fall, which means it’s more pleasant outside. In fact, it’s the perfect time to be outside.

So I’m giving myself a challenge. This fall, I want to do more drawing outside.

It won’t officially be fall until September 22, but I’m not going to wait. Beginning September 1, I want to do one plein air drawing a week. Just. One.

To make myself accountable, I’ll post my drawing on the blog so all can see.

Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing Challenge

You’re invited to participate in the challenge, too. There are no real rules. You can follow my plan to do one drawing a week or make your own plans. The real goal is to get outside and draw, so whatever suits your schedule and creativity works.

The challenge will run from September 1 through October 31. Counting the first three days of September as a week and the last two days of October as week, that’s ten weeks.

Ten weeks.

Ten drawings.

That sounds easy enough, even to me.

I want this to be a fun challenge and I want to learn more about drawing outside, drawing quickly, and learning how to better capture the personality and appearance of a subject.

But I also want to improve my ability to see each subject and render the detail on paper.

You’re welcome to join me and see what you come up with this Fall.

Above all, if you accept this colored pencil plein air drawing challenge, don’t stress over it. It should be fun!

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    1. Chris,

      I don’t generally use an easel for any colored pencil work. Instead, I use a laptop drawing board that I make myself. I’ll either be using a laptop drawing board or just a pad of drawing paper with a rigid back board.

      I plan to try a number of different things, including water-soluble colored pencils, ink and colored pencil, graphite and colored pencil. So if you want to use different methods and mediums, by all means do so.


  1. Patty Coulter

    I have a Pinterest account and would like an invite to follow or be a part of your autumn challenge. I went to your board and hit Follow . Is that all that is required? And if we would like to join the challenge, will it be easy to upload our drawings?
    I am not a landscape person generally, so I thought this could be interesting.

    1. Patty,

      Following the Autumn Challenge board allows you to receive notifications whenever I post something to that board, but doesn’t all you to post things yourself.

      I just sent you an invitation from Pinterest. When you respond to that, you’ll be able to post your plein air drawings to the Autumn Plein Air Drawing Challenge board. Everyone else who follows the board will be able to see not only what I’ve posted, but also what you post.

      Thanks for following the board and asking for the invitation. Have you given any thought to what you’ll be drawing or how many drawings you want to do a week?


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