Last week, I began a step-by-step demonstration showing how to draw a horse as a miniature drawing. This week I’ll demonstrate glazing color on an umber under drawing on the same project.
Glazing Background Color Over an Umber Under Drawing
The drawing is an ACEO (Art Cards, Editions and Originals) on white Rising Stonehenge paper.
This is the finished umber under drawing. You can read about drawing the under drawing here.
You can finish your under drawing with as much detail as you like. Some artists produce under drawings that look like finished works of art. I admire those artists and their work, but I don’t possess enough patience for such highly detailed under drawings!
My Color List
I used Prismacolor Verithin pencils to preserve as much of the paper’s natural tooth as possible for as long as possible. Finding other ways to preserve tooth is important when you don’t want to use solvents. Verithin pencils include only 36 colors, but there are enough colors to get started.
These are the colors I used.
I didn’t use these colors in any particular order beyond working generally from light to dark. Many of them were used several times, alternating colors among the many layers I did throughout the day.
You can successfully complete this project using your favorite colors.
I started with Prismacolor Verithin pencils, using light pressure and a variety of strokes to layer smooth color.
To keep the green from getting too bright, I sandwiched earth tones (Dark Umber, Terra Cotta, and Goldenrod) between greens (Apple Green, Grass Green, Peacock Green, and True Green.) I further adjusted color and value by mixing in Canary Yellow, True Blue, Non-Photo Blue, and Ultramarine.
No color was applied in an even layer throughout the background. Multiple layers and varying strokes were used to create the look of sun-dappled foliage in soft-focus.
The result is some areas that are more blue than yellow, and some that show a lot of brown.
Since I wanted as many layers and colors as possible without producing the ‘slick’ look of heavy burnishing, I kept pressure light to medium-light for each layer.
Keeping the pencils needle-sharp wasn’t a high priority. With this type of background, a slightly dull or even an angled pencil tip can be advantageous.
Glazing Color on the Horse
I used Verithin pencils to begin glazing color on the horse, beginning with Goldenrod in the lightest values. The medium value base colors were Orange and Orange Ochre, with Indigo Blue as the base color in the mane and forelock.
After the base layers were finished, I added Indigo Blue in the darker shadows to begin developing those shadows.
Then I continued layering with Verithin Terra Cotta, Goldenrod, and Orange Ochre in the red-brown parts of the horse’s coat.
Next, I darkened values with Dark Brown and Crimson Red. With each color, I worked around the highlights.
For the muzzle, eye, mane and forelock, I layered Black in the darkest areas, followed by Indigo Blue in the darkest values and middle values.
I also used some Prismacolor Soft Core pencils (the same colors) to add vibrancy.
Adjusting the Background
Now that the main colors and values were in place on the horse, I felt the need to add more color to the background. For this, I switched to Prismacolor Soft Core pencils.
To begin, I used Dark Green, Olive Green, Indigo Blue, Apple Green, Dark Umber, and Yellow Chartreuse to deepen saturation all around. I applied light colors in light areas and dark colors in dark areas with enough overlap to avoid ”pasted on” value patterns.
Then I used Yellow Chartreuse, Chartreuse, Light Green, Apple Green, Deco Yellow, and French Grey 30% to burnish the background.
The result was a deep and rich color that looked almost like it could have been an oil painting.
Adjusting the Horse
I added Goldenrod, Orange Ochre, and Terra Cotta applied with light to medium pressure and in random order. Mixing colors like this helped create rich, saturated color.
Then I added Orange Ochre, Spanish Orange, Crimson Red, Orange, Peacock Green, Black, Non-Photo Blue, and Goldenrod. In the first pass, I used the colors in the order listed. Later, I used them in random order.
I started with Verithin colors to establish as deep and even a layer of color as possible while filling as little tooth as possible.
When I had done all I could do with those, I switched to Prismacolor Soft Core pencils and used Burnt Ochre, Orange, and Black.
For the most part, I used a medium to heavy pressure, really forcing color down into the tooth of the paper to fill up every last space.
I started the final round of work with Verithin Goldenrod, Orange Ochre, Crimson Red, Ultramarine, and Orange. I used Canary Yellow, and White for highlight colors and to burnish where needed.
Then I added Prismacolor Soft Core Burnt Ochre with light to medium pressure to add teh final touches.
And here is the finished portrait.
If it were a larger portrait, I’d refine the details further and add more color depth. It looked great as an ACEO.
Glazing Color on an Umber Under Drawing is now Complete
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial. You can use this method with success on any subject at any size.
And as I mentioned earlier in this post, you can develop the under drawing as much as you like. The more detail you include in the under drawing, the easier (and less work) glazing color becomes.
Are you interested in more information on this method? I’ve published a subject study tutorial that’s currently available on Colored Pencil Tutorials and you can read more about that here.
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