This week’s Tuesday Tutorial is the fourth tutorial in this series. Our topic today? Fixing a colored pencil mistake on sanded paper.
If you missed the first three parts of this tutorial, you can read them at the following links.
Draw a Gray Sky with Colored Pencils
Finish a Sky in Colored Pencil
Draw Far Distance on Sanded Art Paper
EmptyEasel also published part of this tutorial. You can read How to Draw Realistic Trees on Sanded Art Paper with Colored Pencil here.
Now for this week’s tutorial.
Fixing a Colored Pencil Mistake on Sanded Paper
It happens all the time. Your piece is progressing nicely, then all of a sudden, you discover a mistake. It could be the wrong color, a value that got too dark, or a drawing error.
Whatever the mistake, your latest masterpiece suddenly looks like a disaster in the making.
That happened to me with this project. I thought I was within days of completing it when I realized I needed to undo something.
What was the problem?
I didn’t like the color of the hills behind the trees. Even after I finished the sky, they just didn’t look right. I knew which colors were working best for the greener hills, but none of them provided a realistic transition between the dark gray and green hills.
This was what I’d consider a fatal error. That is, if I didn’t fix it, the landscape was certain to fail.
The question was, what was the best way to fix the problem?
Step 1: Remove as much color as possible.
The obvious first step is to remove as much color as possible. Ordinarily, this is the most difficult part of the process. Once you’ve put colored pencil on paper, removing it can be a serious challenge.
But I was working on sanded art paper, and one of the best things about sanded art paper is that it’s usually pretty easy to remove color. If you haven’t blended with solvent or put a fixative over color, it can be removed almost entirely.
Even if you burnished it. And the best part is that all you need is sticky stuff.
“Sticky stuff” is a generic term for a reusable adhesive substance often used to hang posters. It’s inexpensive, reusable, and self-cleaning. Popular names are Handi-Tak and Poster Tack. It’s also known as mounting putty.
For larger areas, roll a section of sticky stuff into a ball, and use it like a stamp. Turn it a little between each “press” so you put clean sticky stuff on the paper.
To remove color from a small area, shape the sticky stuff into the shape you need. It can be shaped into a wedge or a pencil-like point.
I shaped sticky stuff into an elongated cylinder, which I then pressed against the paper, turning it after each stroke.
TIP: When the sticky stuff is full of color, knead it enough to absorb the color, then repeat the process until you remove as much color as necessary.
As you can see, I was able to remove almost all of the color in the dark gray and green hills. The areas blended with solvent did not lift as well as dry color, but it was lightened enough to allow me to layer fresh color over it.
Step 2: Restore outlines.
When you remove color this way, you will remove outlines too, and possibly the original line drawing.
So the next step is outlining the shapes again.
I made no attempt to reproduce the original outlines, but instead drew them while referring to my reference photograph. I didn’t outline the hills again, but if you need to restore interior shapes, this is a good time to do it.
Step 3: Layer new color over the hills.
Now continue with the drawing. You needn’t prepare the paper surface for new color. Sanded art paper is very durable and removing color will prepare the surface to accept new color.
Layer Warm Grey 20% into the hills immediately in front of the most distant hills. Use light-medium pressure (slightly less than normal handwriting pressure) to draw a smooth color layer.
Next, layer Warm Grey 10% over all the area where color was removed. Use medium pressure and directional strokes following the slopes of the hills. Follow up with a layer of the same color, but with cross hatching strokes. Draw as smooth a layer of color as possible.
Follow that up with Jade Green layered over all of the hills immediately behind the outlined trees.
Add Chartreuse and Cream to make the closer hills warmer and greener. If they get too warm, glaze them with Warm Grey 10%.
Step 4: Add small accents to help accurately judge color and value.
If it helps define the different hills in this area, add a few trees as I did. Use Marine Green, light pressure, and squiggly strokes to shade a few trees in the distance. These shapes should be flat in appearance, with very little variation in value, because they’re so far away they show very little detail or value.
I also added the shadows in the row of trees so I’d have a point of comparison for the background.
And that’s it! As you can see, it’s difficult to tell there was a problem with the background hills. Fixing mistakes on sanded art paper is remarkably easy even with colored pencils.
The next step in the process was drawing the trees. You can read How to Draw Realistic Trees on Sanded Art Paper with Colored Pencil on EmptyEasel.
In the next post, we’ll tackle the foreground.