Today, we’re finishing a drawing started with water soluble colored pencil (finally!) We almost got there last week, but there was just too much to finish.
Finishing a Drawing Started with Water Soluble Colored Pencil
This is how the drawing looked at the end of last week’s tutorial.
Layer Olive Green over all of the foreground except the brightest highlights.
For most of that layer, I used small circular strokes to draw an even layer of color, then added accents with short directional strokes, or stippling strokes. I didn’t want to draw too much attention to what I was drawing—I just wanted to even out the color and reduce the “drama” of the hill.
As it turned out, that worked pretty well!
Next, layer Yellow Ochre over all of the foreground except the brightest area using a sharp pencil, light to medium-light pressure, and closely spaced strokes. Work toward even color.
Then add another layer of Yellow Ochre with light pressure, but hold the pencil in a horizontal position and use the side of the exposed pigment core. This time, layer color over all of the foreground including the brightest areas.
Yellow Ochre is an earth tone, so it will subdue the greens if they get too bright.
But it also adds a yellow cast to them, resulting in a green that looks a little older and more faded than the bright greens of spring.
Layer Light Umber, Olive Green, and Dark Green over the foreground. Use very short strokes in the background, and longer strokes in the foreground. Mix the colors to create the color and value that satisfies you.
Finally, I drew a very light layer of Olive Green by using the side of the pencil and light pressure.
Using a colorless blender held horizontally, stroke with the side of the exposed core, working in horizontal strokes across the foreground, beginning with the treeline.
The illustration above shows the foreground about half burnished. The illustration below shows it completely burnished. You’ll notice that I burnished through the highlights as well as the shadows, letting color mix and blend from one area to another.
One of Those “Happy Accidents”
Every once in a while, you’ll make a mistake that looks disastrous at first. Don’t despair! They happen to every artist, and most of them are recoverable.
Some of them are Providential!
While I was burnishing, I laid down my colorless blender. When I started burnishing again, the color became very golden. At first I thought that was because Yellow Ochre was the last color I’d put on the paper. Wrong!
It was because I’d picked a Yellow Ochre pencil instead of the colorless blender. The area burnished with Yellow Ochre has the red box drawn around it.
Why is this not a disaster? Because after looking it on the drawing, and after looking at the scan of it, I realized burnishing with color would be a better way to finish the foreground.
Burnish the foreground with a combination of Jasmine, Powder Blue, and White. Burnish the highlights and into the lighter middle values with Jasmine throughout the foreground.
Then burnish the lighter values in the background with Powder Blue. Lighten some of the darker values with Powder Blue if you wish, but only to deepen the illusion of distance.
Use horizontal strokes applied with blunted pencils for both colors.
Burnish the highlights with a blunt White pencil. Use a vertical zig-zag stroke to mimic the growth of grass. Don’t add very many white highlights; a few will get the job done.
Follow up with Light Umber in a few of the darker areas, but don’t burnish. Instead, use a sharp pencil and lighter pressure. A vertical zig-zag stroke, especially in the lower corners of the composition, will still work, but don’t make it too bold or dark.
Also burnish the road with all three colors, then darken the darkest part of the cast shadow with Light Umber if necessary.
Step 6: Back to the Trees
Layer Light Umber over all of each tree except for the brightest highlights. Use a sharp pencil and light-medium pressure. At this stage, it’s not important to draw smooth layers of color. The fact of the matter is that “spotty” color can help create the look of foliage.
Followup with a layer of Olive Green over every part of every tree, except for the brightest highlights. Use medium pressure and a combination of strokes. For example, you might consider stippling around the outside edges of the large shapes, or around the edges of the smaller shapes within the trees, then using a squiggly stroke in other areas.
Use Beige and White to draw a few tree trunks, and White to stipple highlights in the foliage. Make sure to keep the highlights on the parts of the trees directly lighted by the sun.
Stipple Olive Green into the middle and dark values, and Dark Green and Light Umber into the dark values. Overlap all three colors so you don’t draw hard edges. Use more of the darker colors in the shadows and less of the dark colors in the middle values, but use all three in all of those areas.
Stipple Olive Green and Cream or Powder Blue into the tops of each mass of foliage. Cream should be stippled into the sides facing the sunlight, and Powder Blue into the shadowed sides, but again, don’t be afraid to add dots of each color in the other areas, too.
Finally, stipple White into the highlights. Add scattered White highlights randomly throughout the rest of the trees. These “pin points of light” give the drawing a sparkle you might otherwise miss.
This is the complete drawing. I’m not sure, but I think it’s finished. The most significant reason I think it’s finished is that I just don’t know what else to do with it!
When your drawing reaches this point, you have one of two options.
Option 1 is to simply sign it and move on to the next drawing.
The second option is to set the drawing aside for a few days or maybe a week. Put it out of sight. That way, when you view it again, you can view it almost like someone would see it who has never seen it before. If you think it’s finished at that point, then it’s finished.
And it’s entirely possible that whatever doubts you had before will have vanished!
That concludes this tutorial. Did you follow along? If so, do you have any questions? How did your drawing turn out?