How to Deepen Color with Color Glazes

How to Deepen Color with Color Glazes

Welcome back to my color glazing tutorial. This is week three and I’ll show you how to deepen color with color glazes.

If you missed the first two parts or would like to review them again, here are the links.

The primary topic is deepening color saturation and building a range of rich browns by continuing to add layers of color. But I’ll also talk about a couple of compositional errors that came to light since the previous post. Let’s get started.

How to Deepen Color with Color Glazes

Ordinarily, deepening color saturation with color glazes involves nothing more complex than continuing to add layers. Use the same colors you used in the first glazes, but be prepared to add complementary colors if those colors start to get out of control.

However, as so often happens, I noticed a problem with the drawing after I finished the work described in the previous post.

Step 1

Between the last drawing session and this one, I realized the forelock extends too far upward when compared with the top of the neck behind the ears. Those two areas should look like extensions of one another. They don’t.

How to Deepen Color with Color Glazes - Step 1

In hind sight, I should probably have cropped the image to remove the problem area. That would have been a simpler, quicker solution. Instead, I tried to redraw it to correct the problem. This was primarily a matter to changing the highlights, and adding shadows to redirect the shapes. I used medium pressure and long, flowing strokes.

Then, rather than fixate on that area, I worked on the eye. I used a sharp pencil with tight, circular strokes and medium-light pressure to darken the shapes on the eyeball. Around the eye, I let the pencil go blunt and applied an even layer of color. Depending each part of the drawing, I used either circular strokes or back-and-forth strokes.

Step 2

How to Deepen Color with Color Glazes - Step 2

I layered Dark Brown over most of the horse, including the mane and forelock. Only the brightest highlights and the red-gold areas were worked around.

I started with a sharp pencil in the areas that show the most detail (around the eye). As the pencil became steadily more dull, I worked into the areas further and further from the center of interest. In all areas, pressure was light, and I held the pencil in a vertical position. I used directional strokes only the detail areas.

When I finished with color application, I impressed a few flyaway hairs into the mane and forelock with a stylus. I also added a few eye lashes.

Step 3

How to Deepen Color with Color Glazes - Step 3

Next, I layered Dark Green over the darkest shadows and middle tones with medium pressure to darken the dark areas and produce a deeper, richer brown. But I also glazed Dark Green into some of the lighter middle values to keep the earth tones from getting too bright.

To give my eye and mind a rest from earth tones, I stroked Dark Green into the mane and forelock, and over some of the shadows on the blue halter.

Step 4

How to Deepen Color with Color Glazes - Step 4

I stroked Black into the eye, forelock, and mane with heavy pressure, then glazed Black into the area around the eye with medium pressure. The purpose was to establish those areas as centers of interest, and s et them apart from the browns.

Step 5

How to Deepen Color with Color Glazes - Step 5

I used medium pressure and the side of the pencil to apply Tuscan Red to most of the shadows and darker mid-tones. The smaller areas or places that needed sharper detail were worked on with the point of the pencil kept as sharp as possible.

Next, I applied Sienna Brown with directional strokes with a sharp pencil or circular or back-and-forth strokes applied with a blunt or flat-ended pencil. There was some overlap between Sienna Brown and Tuscan Red, but Sienna Brown was used primarily in those places that were lighter in value or more red or gold in color.

Step 6

How to Deepen Color with Color Glazes - Step 6

After a good deal of deliberation and a vain attempt to remove the nose band digitally just to see how it looked, I decided to remove the nose band on the drawing.

I lifted as much color as possible with a click eraser. Not much had been done with that area, so I was able to remove most of the color. Then I softened the edge, brushed away the crumbs, and began applying color.

I used the same colors I used in the beginning, going all the way back to Verithin Goldenrod, which I applied over most of the area.

Layers of Pumpkin Orange, Terra Cotta, Peacock Green, Indigo Blue, Light Cerulean Blue, and Dark Brown followed. When I layered each of those colors, I alternated Pumpkin Orange and Peacock Green until the halter had nearly disappeared.

Step 7

How to Deepen Color with Color Glazes - Step 7

I continued alternating layers of Terra Cotta, Dark Brown, Indigo Blue, and Goldenrod to develop the brown and cover the nose band.

I applied most of the color with medium-light pressure, and the side of a sharp pencil. But I also added details with directional strokes and very sharp pencils.

Step 8

How to Deepen Color with Color Glazes - Step 8

To conclude this phase, I glazed Goldenrod over most of the face, even in the darker brown areas.

Then I worked on the forelock, alternately applying Black and lifting color with the click eraser. I wanted to separate hair masses, and bring some semblance of order to this part of the drawing.


The problem of the halter nose band appears to be resolved. The forelock? Not at all. I love long hair and the play of light and shadow, but the angles remain troublesome.

I will have to find a solution to that problem or the drawing will not succeed. That will be our topic next week. I hope you’ll join me to see how I fixed a BIG mistake!


  1. cynthia

    I am searching color glazing with colored pencils and finding very little information. I cannot find a definition. I know what a glaze is with acrylic paints, but how do you dilute a colored pencil to create a glaze? You have written articles on glazing, yet fail to define it or explain how to do it in general terms. I would love to see a what is color glazing, why do it, when to do it and how to do it in general terms. :) Just found your site yesterday and loving it! Great colored pencil information! thank you

    1. Cynthia,

      Thank you for your question. That’s a great idea for an article!

      In short, when you glaze with colored pencils, you’re putting down very light color. Light pressure, not necessary a light color.

      Burnishing is blending color by pressing the pencil very hard against the paper. Glazing is the extreme opposite. Very, very light pressure.

      You would glaze one color over another when you want to change the shade or tint of the color already on the paper. For example, if you want to make a green a little more yellow, you would glaze it with a yellow pencil. In other words, you would add a layer of yellow over the green using very light pressure.

      Unfortunately, a lot of artists use the word “glaze” when they really mean layer. They don’t have the same meaning, but even I get careless in how I use words!

      I’ll see what I can come up with for a more in-depth explanation of glazing in general terms.

      Thanks again for the question.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *