How to Draw Realistic Landscape Greens

This week’s series showing you how to draw realistic landscape greens concludes with the direct color method. If you missed the previous posts or would like to review them, you can read them here.

How to Draw Realistic Landscape Greens Using Direct Color

Using Direct Color

When you draw with a direct color under drawing, you begin drawing with pretty much the same colors you’ll finish with. You start with light colors and build color through a series of layers. While it’s quite likely you’ll include earth tones and complementary colors to keep the greens looking natural, you won’t use them by themselves at any part of the drawing process.

In other words, the under drawing will look like a faded version of the final, full color drawing.

Let’s take this detail from the drawing Afternoon Graze.

How to Draw Realistic Landscape Greens Using a Direct Color Under Drawing

In a lot of ways, using direct color for the under drawing is no different than using an umber under drawing, a complementary under drawing, or a single-color under drawing in any other color. The first step is creating the patterns of creating lights and darks to establish the composition AND beginning to develop details at the most basic level.

Where this method differs from all the others is in color choices.

For this illustration, I began with olive green, which I glazed olive green over all of the tree using open, diagonal strokes to establish the basic color. Then I drew the form shadow (on the right) and the cast shadow (on the left) with the same color, but with slightly increased pressure and smaller strokes placed closer together.

The results are the same as with the other methods, but the drawing is already showing the finished colors. Green.

Landscape Direct Under Drawing 1

Next, I added a layer of jasmine, followed by a couple of layers of limepeel. Both colors are more yellow than green so they provided the warm and yellow tint necessary to create the appearance of late afternoon sun slanting across the landscape.

Next, I layered olive green into the shadows on each side, then glazed bronze over all of the tree. I followed that up with another layer of olive green into the shadows, then burnished with sky blue light, a little dark green and dark brown into shadow accents and a burnishing with the colorless blender.

Landscape Direct Under Drawing 3

I finished by layering olive green, indigo blue, and dark brown into the shadows to create variations within the shadows. Next, I used heavy pressure, sharp to slightly blunted pencils, and a variety of strokes to achieve the look I wanted for each part of the shadow.

Landscape Direct Under Drawing 4

Above is the finished detail and below, is the entire drawing.

Landscape Direct Under Drawing 5

When you use the direct color method in the under drawing, you develop color, value, and detail layer by layer. It’s more difficult to determine where the under drawing ends and the final drawing begins with this method, but it’s no less effective than an umber or complementary under drawing.

As you’ve seen from these week’s series, it’s possible to get good results with all three methods.

Read more about colored pencil drawing methods.

Your Assignment

The week’s lessons are now complete. Your assignment is to experiment with each method and get a hands-on feel for how each one works. If you’re feeling ambitious, try single-color under drawings in other colors, too.

Then let me know which method or methods you liked best.

Images for posting should be no smaller than 300 pixels and no larger than 500 pixels on the long side. Save them at 72 dpi as either a jpg image or png image (jpg preferred), then email them to me. Put “drawing assignment” in the subject line and tell me a little bit about your work.

Sending images to me implies your permission to post them on this page unless you specifically request otherwise.

I’ve also started a drawing challenge board on my Pinterest account. If you’d like to join the drawing challenge group, send me an email request and I’ll send you an invitation. Once you accept the invitation, you’ll be able to post your drawing challenge artwork directly to the group board. The only stipulation? You must have your own Pinterest account.

Purchase the complete, full-length lesson download.

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