Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing Week 4 Report

For week 4 of the Autumn Plein Air Drawing Challenge, I turned my attention from the front porch (where the light is almost always good) to the back porch, which is in shadow most of the afternoon and evening. Since it was mid-evening before I took time to draw, almost everything was in the shadow of the house.

But there were a couple of trees in golden light and I planned to draw one of them using a method that’s more like doodling than drawing.

However, when I started drawing, what caught my attention wasn’t the towering elms and evening light, but a rotting board in cast shadow.

I’d drawn parts of these boards a couple of years before, as part of an article on drawing realistic wood grain (published on EmptyEasel.) That time, I took my time and was doing a more finished drawing.

This time, my purpose was drawing as accurately as possible what I was looking. I still wanted as much detail as possible, but also wanted to work with a time limit.

Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing Week 4

The Method I Used

I used my usual freehand drawing method for this drawing. No special techniques. No mixed media.

I blocked in each of the planks, including the more prominent cracks, gaps, and nails, as a basic line drawing. Because I didn’t want to spend a lot of time, I tried to keep my strokes firm and confident. Not always easy when my tendency is to draw lightly at the beginning.

Next, I shaded the darker values with medium pressure. I added finer detail and began developing the form of the planks.

After that, it was a matter of building detail and expanding the value range until I ran out of time.

Time Spent Drawing

30 minutes.

What I Learned

Use a timer. I didn’t set a timer specifically for drawing, but I was cooking and had a timer set for the stove. It would be helpful to use a timer for timed drawings, rather than trying to guess at it. That way, I could concentrate on drawing.

Pencil stubs are great for outdoor drawing. I used a handful of pencil stubs for this drawing (see the list below). The smaller pencils were easy to handle and use, although I had to retire two of them because they’re too short to sharpen again.

Kittens are not much help! A couple of kittens thought what I was doing was interesting. The drawing process itself, the pencils lying beside me, you name it. Even if all they did was sit on the planks I was trying to draw, they weren’t much help! This isn’t a “hazard” I’d anticipated in thinking about this challenge!

Tools Used

Mead Academie Sketch Book, 9 inches by 6 inches, Heavyweight white paper

Prismacolor Pencils

  • French Grey 70%
  • French Grey 20%
  • Sepia
  • Dark Brown
  • Goldenrod

Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing Week 3 Report

The sky was my theme again this week.

The drawing from last week revealed my need to find better ways to put color on paper quickly and draw smooth color.

One of the ways I thought of to do that was woodless pencils. When Sue Schuetz mentioned using Koh-I-Nor Progresso Woodless pencils on Broken Prismacolor Pencils and How to Repair Them, I decided to get a set. I was familiar with the name, but had never used them. What better way to test them than with a plein air drawing?

However, the sky I drew was mostly cloudy and getting cloudier by the minute, so the resulting drawing looks more like an abstract than a skyscape.

2016-09-12 Plein Air Drawing Week 3

The Method I Used

I chose a very limited palette for this drawing—just three colors, shown above. White, sky blue, and light grey.

I began by layering blue on the paper and blending it with a fingertip. This method of blending isn’t usually recommended because skin oil can affect the paper or the drawing, but since I’m using inexpensive paper and this is only a sketch, it seemed appropriate. The Koh-I-Nor pencils blended very well that way.

Next I shaded the clouds with gray and blended with a fingertip. The lighter patches are paper and the darker patches are multiple layers of gray.

Finally, I burnished with white. The Koh-I-Nor white is a warm white and appeared the slightest bit yellow on the paper, but that color was perfect for my subject. I burnished everything.

The clouds I was drawing were soft and vague. Like fog in the sky. To create soft, seamless transitions from blue to gray, I blended from one color to the other when blending with a finger, but also burnished from one color to the next.

Time Spent Drawing

20 to 30 minutes.

What I Learned

The wonder of woodless. These pencils are wonderful for drawing outside. They’re softer than the Prismacolors I’ve been using, so it’s easier to lay down color.

They also don’t have a wood casing, but are about the same size as a regular pencil, so the pigment core is much larger. Even a well-sharpened pencil produces a wider stroke than a well-sharpened traditional pencil.

Let Your Fingers Do the Blending. I confess, I used to blend with my fingers all the time. Then I learned about the hazards of skin oils and colored pencils and broke myself of that habit. But for this use and on this type of paper, it’s ideal.

Tools Used

Mead Academie Sketch Book, 9 inches by 6 inches, Heavyweight white paper

Koh-I-Nor Progresso Woodless Pencil

  • Sky Blue
  • Light Grey
  • White

I did a second plein air drawing this week. This time I started with water soluble colored pencils (Faber-Castell Art Grip Aquarelle) and finished with the Koh-I-Nor woodless pencils in the studio.

Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing Week 3

I’ve submitted an article to EmptyEasel about last week’s work, and will link that when it publishes. Stayed tuned!

About The Autumn Plein Air Drawing Challenge

It’s not too late to join me drawing outside with colored pencils.

What: Get outside and draw at least once a week

When: September 1 through October 31, 2016

I’m posting my drawings here every Monday, along with a little information about how I did my drawing, what tools I used, and what I learned.

I’ve also set up a special group board on Pinterest where I’m posting my drawing (or drawings if I do more than one). If you’d like to post your drawings, all you have to do is request an invitation to join the board. You will need a Pinterest account, but they’re free and easy to set up.

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

The heavens declare the glory of God;

The skies proclaim the work of His hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

Night after night they display knowledge.

There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out to all the earth,

Their words to the ends of the World.

Psalm 19:1-5

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

No event is all bad if it causes a person to look upward. Personal challenges. Financial crises. Creative silences or just difficult days. Most of those sorts of events do turn my gaze off myself and upward.

But I don’t always need a life-altering event to look up. Sometimes the sheer glory of a sunrise or sunset is enough.

Or towering thunderheads or a sky peppered with stars that look close enough to touch. The heavens declare the glory of God in so many ways to those who are in tune with Him.

Artists are often asked how they get or stay inspired. The answer for me lies in all of life. How can an artist enjoy her surroundings—even the less than perfect ones—and not be inspired?

Feel free to share this image. All I ask is that you keep it intact, including the watermark for my website. Thanks for your courtesy!

How to Draw a Dog with Colored Pencils Part 5

Time for the final installment in the How to Draw a Dog with Colored Pencils series. The portrait of a black Bouvier is just about complete. Today, we’ll put the finishing touches on it.

If you’ve missed any of the previous installments or if you would like a review, here are the links.

Now on to this week’s installment.

How to Draw a Dog with Colored Pencils Part 5

How to Draw a Dog with Colored Pencils, Part 5

Step 8: Finishing Layers

The first thing I did was wash generous amounts of rubbing alcohol over all of the dog except the ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. As before, I wanted to fill in some of the paper holes. But it was also important to break down some of the wax that had accumulated on the drawing before trying to add more color.

How to Draw a Dog with Colored Pencils Alcohol Blend

Once the paper was dry, it was time to finish the portrait. I used a lot of colors, so I’m listing color by area worked on.


I started with light peach applied with light pressure over all of the tongue. I followed up with flesh over everything but the brightest highlights, then blush over everything but the brightest highlights and middle values, and burnt ochre in the darker middle values and shadows. In other words, as I used darker colors, I worked on smaller and smaller parts of the tongue. In this way, the highlights were drawn by adding darker colors around them.

Then I applied a second layer of each color. I used the points of well-sharpened pencils with small, tight strokes and light pressure to get saturated color.

Next I glazed everything with carmine red and darkened the shadows with dark umber. After that, I adjusted color and value until it looked correct and burnished with the colorless blender.


Darkened the pupils and rims with black. Added blue slate around the highlights, then burnished with white.

Also highlighted the lower rims with blue slate and white using firm strokes and heavy pressure.


I glazed bronze into the inside of each ear with light pressure followed by blush and light peach with medium pressure. The backs and rims of the ears were done with black and medium pressure.


I glazed blue slate over most of the nose, then glazed black over the front part. I applied blue slate then white to the highlights around the nostrils then burnished the front of the nose with the colorless blender and reapplied color.

Then I dr3w the sides and the top of the nose using the same colors, but using the lighter colors more than the dark colors.

How to Draw a Dog with Colored Pencils Color Work over Alcohol Blend Detail 1


I needed to tone down the blue highlights in the lighter areas of the body and face, so I tried a glaze of bronze. The warm tones of bronze—which is an earth tone—made the blues less bold and added warmth to the hair.

Next, I added black, which I applied with the side of a well-sharpened pencil. I used firm strokes with medium or medium-light pressure—very light pressure over the highlights and heavier pressure in the shadows.

In each area, I stroked in the direction of hair growth.

To finish the portrait, I used dark umber and ultramarine to lay down a cast shadow to the dog’s left, then signed it, photographed it and sent a digital proof to the clients.

How to Draw a Dog with Colored Pencil Color Work over Alcohol Blend

The clients approved the drawing but asked me to make the ears a little more scruffy. Stroking outward from each ear using tiny strokes and light pressure was the best and easiest way to make that correction.

I made those changes and the portrait was complete. It was delivered the following day and is now framed and hanging side-by-side with a portrait of another of the family’s canine companions.

How to Draw a Dog with Colored Pencils Finished

Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing Week 2 Report

This was the first full week of the Autumn Plein Air Drawing challenge, so I had time to do more than one drawing. However, steady sometimes heavy rain from Wednesday through Saturday kept me indoors the rest of the week. I seriously considered trying my hand a water soluble colored pencils during the rain, but wasn’t keen on getting wet myself!

My subject for this week was the sky. It was early evening and the light in the clouds was ideal for drawing. Lots of colors and shadows, too.

The clouds in the sky when I finished the drawing were not the same clouds in the sky when I began. It was a day of high winds and clouds were passing quickly, so rather than try to draw a specific cloud, I drew my impression of the overall pattern of the clouds as revealed by light and shadow. The only constant was the clear, blue sky.

The Methods I Used

I began by lightly and quickly sketching the general shape of the clouds, then laid down sky color as quickly as possible around that shape. I used blunt pencils and the sides of the pencils, to layer two shades of blue—Mediterranean Blue and Light Cerulean Blue—with hatching and cross-hatching strokes.

Blunt pencils and the sides of pencils also played a major role in the clouds. This time, however, I applied color in strokes following the contours of the clouds. You can see some of the initial layers in the unfinished parts of the clouds.

I used light-medium pressure in the early stages in order to get good coverage and color as quickly as possible.

Since I didn’t have much time for detail, I concentrated on color and values and on patterns of direct light and reflected light.

It took about 30 minutes to draw this. Maybe a little longer (I need to find a timer of some sort and then learn to use it!)

Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing Week 2
Autumn Plein Air Drawing Challenge, Drawing 2

After the initial color was on the paper, I continued adding layers to build up color and value. I added warm tones on the bright sides of the clouds and in the reflected lights between clouds.

To finish, I burnished first with a colorless blender, then with white.

Time Spent Drawing

I’m estimating a minimum of 30 minutes, but no more than 45. I sat on the front step without a back support and that’s about all the longer I could sit without getting painfully uncomfortable.

What I Learned

Use methods and tools that allow me to lay down fields of color quickly. I’m a purist by nature. I prefer using colored pencil and only colored pencil on my drawings. Solvents for blending are acceptable, but I prefer not to use them.

However, that attitude doesn’t go very far for plein air drawing unless I’m drawing a stationary subject and/or I can revisit the subject as often as I need.

For everything else, I need to unbend enough to incorporate other drawing methods and, maybe even other mediums.

Burnishing is My Friend. I’ve never been a huge fan of burnishing, either, for the simple reason that it often left my drawings looking flat and waxy. But there is a place for burnishing in plein air drawing and I have better results when I use it. It doesn’t matter whether I use a colorless blender or a colored pencil, though using a colored pencil speeds the drawing process by allowing me to adjust color or value as well as burnishing.

Tools Used

Mead Academie Sketch Book, 9 inches by 6 inches, Heavyweight white paper

Prismacolor Pencils

  • Mediterranean Blue (Sky)
  • Light Cerulean Blue (Sky)
  • Slate Gray (Clouds)
  • Jasmine (Clouds)
  • Powder Blue (Clouds)
  • Colorless Blender (Burnishing, Sky)
  • White (Burnishing, Sky & Clouds)

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencils Part 4

Thank you for joining me again for the How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencils series. The portrait of this black Bouvier is coming along very nicely. The color is beginning to take shape and the hair looks more like hair every day.

This is the fourth part in a five-part series describing how I’m layering several colors to create a natural, realistic black. If you missed any of the previous articles or would like to review them, here are the links.

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencils Part 4

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencils Part 4

Each of the previous steps in the layering process involved introducing a new color. This week, I’ll be working with previous colors again. But I will also be adding a new color: Black.

Before adding color, however, I blended the previous layers with rubbing alcohol to fill in some of the paper holes. I also wanted to blend the colors mechanically as well as visually. Rubbing alcohol was the perfect tool for both.

It also moved the portrait several steps forward. That’s one of the reasons I recommend an alcohol blend so highly.

I used a small sable brush with the hairs trimmed quite short to apply rubbing alcohol to the darkest areas, then spread it into surrounding areas to move pigment around a little. It’s not quite as efficient as using water and watercolor, but it works quite well and the results are almost always exactly what’s needed.

Step 6: Indigo Blue & Dark Umber

When the paper was thoroughly dry, I glazed indigo blue over all of the lighter middle values and most of the highlights. These areas hadn’t been worked on before, so I used very light pressure and the side of a well-sharpened pencil to lay down color.

Most of the work was accomplished in a single layer. For some of the darker areas, I used two or three layers.

I also finished the dark parts in the eyes by using the point of the pencil and medium-heavy pressure to draw the pupils and rims of the eyes. I added black to the eyes to darken them a little bit more.

Next, I sharpened the dark umber pencil and added a glaze in the same areas. Again, I used the side of the pencil for all the work. In the lighter areas, I used light pressure. In areas with more color, I increased the pressure to light-medium. Some areas were worked over just once; others received two or three layers of dark umber.

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencils Part 4 - Mixed Layer 2

Step 7: Adding Black

From this point on, it’s all about bringing the previous layers of individual color into harmony. I used the same colors I’d used before (indigo blue and dark umber), but added black and used all three colors together to begin finishing the drawing.

I worked from one area to the next beginning with the off side front leg. In each area, I alternated layers of dark umber and indigo blue using the sides of the pencils and medium to medium-heavy pressure. Then I used the points of the pencils—mostly dark umber—and heavy pressure to create the hair shapes. Finally, I glazed black into the entire area with light pressure in the highlights and increased pressure until I was nearly burnishing in the darkest shadows.

I did the nose, too, but didn’t finish that. I also layered dark umber into the shadowed parts of the tongue.

Next, I burnished all of the drawing except the facial features, the ears, and the lightest highlights. The shadows were most heavily burnished.

Burnishing in random areas also allowed me to create subtle variations in the middle values, a method that worked best to suggest thick hair in the front legs.

After burnishing, it was fist-full-of-pencils time. I used black, white, warm grey medium, warm grey very light, and powder blue to work up the lights and darks and the shapes of random hair masses throughout the legs and body.

At this point, the drawing is starting to look finished. Everything looks pretty good except the head, which needs quite a bit more work.

In the next post, I’ll finish the head, then put the finishing touches on the drawing as a whole.

Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing Week 1 Report

It was a short week and busy, so not much time to draw. But I did manage to get outside early Friday evening (September 2) and found a sapling growing next to a larger tree a few feet from our front porch.

The Method I Used

I started the drawing with a long stroke of French Grey 20% along the right side of the tree. I used the side of a blunted pencil to draw that stroke with medium pressure, since I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of time to draw.

Next, I used the same type of stroke and pressure to draw the opposite side of the tree with French Grey 70%. With the trunk and branches thus defined, I layered each color, overlapping colors and layers to establish the basic light and dark values.

Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing Week 1 Detail 1


I drew the leaves and leaf clusters with the side of a spring green pencil. This time, the strokes were short and followed the direction of the leaves. I drew individual leaves, but used one or two strokes for each one and let the shape of each stroke define the leaves.

Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing Week 1 Detail 2


Here’s the full drawing.

Colored Pencil Plein Air Drawing Week 1

Time Spent Drawing

20 to 30 minutes. It was late in the afternoon or early evening when I finally got outside, so there wasn’t a lot of time to draw before the light began to fade.

What I Learned

Choose Drawing Time More Thoughtfully. It was late enough in the afternoon that the shadows crept up the tree quickly. By the time I finished, nearly all of the tree was in the shadow of the house. When I want to do more detailed drawings, I need to chose a time of day when the light doesn’t change quite so quickly.

Allow More Time to Draw. I didn’t check the time when I began drawing or when I stopped, but it wasn’t more than 20 or 30 minutes. This drawing is only about half finished. It was my intention to work on it again the next day. Plans change, though, and there was no time to finish the drawing. So I need to allow more time to do more detailed drawings.


Choose Smaller Subjects. I need to choose smaller subjects to draw or focus on smaller parts of larger subjects.

The bottom line? I’m not as fast or as accurate in drawing as I thought I was. That’s not a surprise. I tend to over-estimate a lot of things.

But that’s okay. This challenge is all about learning. I learned a lot with this little drawing.

Tools Used

Mead Academie Sketch Book, 9 inches by 6 inches, Heavyweight white paper

Prismacolor Pencils

  • Spring Green
  • French Grey 20%
  • French Grey 70%
  • Cream

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencils Part 3

Welcome back to this step-by-step demonstration showing you how to draw a dog in colored pencils. If you’re joining us for the first time today, here are the links for the first two posts.

A Quick Recap

As mentioned in previous posts, I’m using Prismacolor Premier pencils unless otherwise mentioned. The drawing is on Strathmore Artagain paper in Flannel Gray.

For this portrait, I’m developing a deep, rich black color by layering many different colors.

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencils Part 3

Colors used so far are, in order of application, Indigo Blue, Dark Brown, and Dark green. For each layer of color, I used light to very light pressure and drew with directional strokes to imitate the pattern of hair growth and hair masses. I drew darker values with multiple layers and worked around the highlights.

As of the end of the last previous post, the drawing looked like this:

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencils Part 3 - End of Part 2

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencils, Part 3

Now for the next colors and layers.

Step 4: Adding Black Grape and a New Stroke

I layered Black Grape into all of the shadows and darkest middle values using medium pressure with the pencil tip. I sharpened the pencil frequently to work in the smaller areas, but I also allowed the pencil to become blunt while working in larger areas.

Most of the work was completed with the same methods with which I added Indigo Blue, Dark Brown, and Dark Green. But I added a new stroke and method with this layer.

For the new stroke, I held the pencil close to the end and used the side of the pencil to glaze color over each area. Part of the reason I chose this stroke was to lay down broad, even layers of color, as shown here.

TIP: Use the side of a well-sharpened pencil to lay down broad areas of color that show no pencil strokes.

Why You Should Consider Using This Stroke

Using a pencil this way also sharpens the pencil as I work. Believe it or not, you can get quite a nice point on a pencil this way so you save time.

You also save time in application because you’re sharpening the pencil and applying color at the same time. A third benefit is that the color is being used on the drawing instead of ending up in the shavings.

The secret is using light pressure so you don’t break the pigment core and don’t lay down such a heavy layer of color you can’t work with it without resorting to a solvent blend of some type.

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencils Part 3 - Black Grape Layer Detail 1

I also began applying color with a blunt pencil and medium heavy pressure. For this work, I held the pencil nearly horizontal, but gripped it near the business end. Strokes were applied in the direction of hair growth with heavy pressure in dark shadows (around the eyes and nose in the illustration above) and medium pressure (along the shoulder and across the chest in the illustration below).

The net result was a more solid color layer. The blockier strokes also contributed to developing the bulk of the hair masses and the shape of the body.

And a look at the full drawing after adding black grape. You can still see areas that lean toward the blue, some that lean toward green, and still others that are more purple. That’s okay. You want those variations in finished drawing.

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencils Part 3 - Black Grape Layer

Step 5: Dark Umber

To keep all those colors from getting too bold, I next glazed dark umber over them. I used the side of the pencil and medium to medium-heavy pressure to apply the glaze.

In the first layer, I used closely spaced diagonal strokes that roughly followed the contours of the body. I didn’t pay much attention to hair masses or to values.

In the second layer, I continued to use the side of the pencil and medium-heavy to heavy pressure, but followed the contours of the hair masses rather than the body.

As you can see here, the colors are beginning to blend to create a nice, rich black color.

In the face and head, I darkened more of the middle values.

I also began doing the eyes, working around the highlights in each eye and the hairs that overlap the eyes. Ordinarily, I’d impress a few lines to indicate hairs. For this portrait, I decided to work around the overlapping hairs.

Also notice the addition of flyaway hairs around the left side of the head.

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencils Part 3 - Dark Umber Layer Detail 1

The brown is less noticeable in the chest, but you can see the saturation in the darkest shadow between the front legs. Gradually, all of the darkest shadows should look more like this.

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencil Part 3 - Dark Umber Layer Detail 2

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencils, Part 3 Concluded

I like the variation in color that is natural to building blacks with this method of layering. It gives even the darkest shadows a level of visual interest and color variation that you just can’t achieve with black alone.

If there is a disadvantage to drawing black colors this way, it’s the tendency to give up too soon or start adding black too early in the layering process.

In the next installment, we’ll continue layering colors with another layer each of indigo blue and dark brown. But we’ll also get to black and I’ll show where and how I used that to deepen the dark values.

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencil Part 2

Welcome back to this step-by-step demonstration of the layering method using colored pencils. This week is part 2 in the How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencil series. If you missed the first step, you can read it here.

I’m using Strathmore Artagain Art Paper in Flannel Gray for this 12×16 drawing. Unless otherwise noted, the pencils I’m using are Prismacolor Premier Pencils.

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencil Part 2

A Recap

Although this dog is black, I’ll use very little black in the drawing. Why? Because black is such a strong color, it can easily overpower other colors and leave the drawing looking flat and lifeless.

If the subject of this portrait is anything, it’s not flat or lifeless. So the best way to draw her is by creating a more natural black through the layering of colors.

The two best colors for drawing realistic and lively blacks are dark blues and dark browns. My two favorite colors are Indigo Blue and Dark Brown. In the previous post in this series, I showed you how I began the drawing with indigo blue, so the next step is Dark Brown.

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencil Part 2

Step 2: Dark Brown

I applied Dark Brown over the same general areas in which I applied Indigo Blue, but the brown layer isn’t an exact duplicate of the blue layer. I wanted some areas to be more brown and some to be more blue so I applied Dark Brown in a somewhat splotchy pattern.

But I used the same pressure (light pressure). The darker areas are the result of more than one layer. It’s usually best to build dark areas gradually—with more layers instead of heavier pressure.

I also duplicated the variety of strokes. Squiggly and broken strokes with soft edges in the hair and tighter, smaller strokes in the eyes, nose, and tongue.

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencil Part 2 - Dark Brown Layer Detail 1

You can see in both of these details where I layered Dark Brown over Indigo Blue and where I allowed the Indigo Blue to show through.

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencil Part 2 - Dark Brown Layer Detail 2

The variations in color are quite dramatic at this stage, but as I work with the color and deepen values, the variations will become more subdued and natural. By the time I finish the portrait, I should have deep, dark shadows that show a hint of lighter values. I should also have middle values with lots of variation.

Step 3: Dark Green

Green might seem like an odd choice for a black dog. In developing blacks with colored pencil, however, it’s important to remember that a good, rich black is made up of many colors. Take a look at the mane of a black horse or the hair of a black cat (especially a short-hair). Notice how the sunlight shines on black hair. See the rainbow of colors in the highlights?

The same colors are in the shadows, too. They just aren’t as obvious. So when I build blacks by layering colors, I use as many of the dark colors as possible.

I sharpened my pencil twice during the 40 minutes it took to do this work. I used the sharpened pencil in detail areas or small areas like the eyes and nose.

For the hair, I let the pencil go blunt, then used medium to medium-heavy pressure with jagged, back-and-forth strokes to continue developing the hair masses. These strokes are especially noticeable around the head and under the chin in this illustration.

How to Draw a Dog in Colored Pencil Part 2 - Dark Green Layer Detail 1

Notice in each of these detail images how the three colors I’ve used so far (Indigo Blue, Dark Brown, and Dark Green) can be seen in various places. That variation will give the final coat the look of mass and shape I need for hair this thick and long. I’ll continue to develop it through each layer.

Slowly but surely, the dog is taking shape as the dark values get darker and the value range increases. That’s exactly what I’m looking for and what you should look for as well.

Don’t be discouraged if your drawing seems to be developing too slowly. With a medium like colored pencil in which it’s difficult to correct mistakes, this is a good thing!

What to Wear for Drawing Outside

Just in case you haven’t heard, we’re doing a plein air drawing challenge. The challenge begins tomorrow, September 1, and runs through the month. My personal goal is to get outside at least once a week and draw something with colored pencils, but I’m really hoping to draw outside more often than that.

I’m planning to post my drawings on a special group board on Pinterest. You’re welcome to join that board and post your drawings too. All you have to do is request an invitation to join the board. You will need a Pinterest account, but they’re free and easy to set up.

This post is the last in a series of daily posts covering various topics related to drawing outside. So far, we’ve talked about my favorite equipment for drawing outside, putting together a field kit, finding something to draw, and tips for using a view finder.

With the challenge now upon us, it seems reasonable to talk about what to wear for drawing outside.

What to Wear for Drawing Outside

The good news is that you don’t need a lot of specialized clothing to draw outside unless you’re going somewhere truly unique—like Antarctica or Mount Everest. Most of us already have everything we need in our closets.

A good rule of thumb when dressing for field drawing is to dress in layers. If it gets too warm, you can remove garments. If it gets cooler, you can add them. I like to think of dressing for drawing outdoors the same way I’d dress if I were going for a hike in the woods or for a long walk.

Keys to consider are comfort and protection from the elements. Know the conditions where you plan to draw and dress accordingly.

Beyond that, what you wear really depends on where you’re going. Are you going to be close to home or will you be traveling? It does make a difference.

If You’re Working Close to Home

I’m going to be doing most of my drawing close to home. On the front porch. From the back porch, in the backyard, et cetera.

If that’s your plan, clothing isn’t as important because you can always run inside and make changes. However, there are still a few things to keep in mind.

At the very least, you should consider using sun screen. It’s better to keep the sun off of you as much as possible. For that, I recommend a wide-brimmed hat of some kind, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants. They will keep your exposure to the sun to a minimum.

If it’s very hot, wear light-weight clothing (cotton if possible), but long sleeves are still better than short. The natural cooling capacities of the human body are improved by the evaporation from your clothing. Take advantage of it.

Keeping arms and legs covered will also help reduce the irritation of insects. The less exposed skin, the better for you.

Sensible shoes are also a good idea. I have worked outside barefoot, but don’t recommend that. Nothing hampers creativity more than stepping on something sharp! Trust me!

Sunglasses are a good idea, and if you’re going to be working in a sunny place where there is no natural shade, an umbrella or similar canopy is a good idea. You will probably want to stick with a white or neutral color because the color of the umbrella or canopy will change the way colors look on paper.

If You’re Working Away from Home

If you’re going to be traveling—even if it’s just across town—you will need to give a little more thought to what you wear and what other garments you might need to take along.

Everything I listed above applies here, too. Dress in layers and in a manner that offers protection from the sun, wear sturdy shoes, dress for comfort, and so on.

But also consider taking along an extra shirt and/or a coat or jacket in case the temperature drops. Rain gear of some kind is advisable if you happen to live in a temperate climate where the weather can change on a dime or if it’s a changeable time of year.

If you hike a lot, dress for drawing as you would dress for hiking.

The same applies if you like to garden or bike or go on picnics. You already know what types of garments work well for outdoor activities. Plein air drawing isn’t that much different as far as what you wear is concerned, so go with what you know.

So Many Options

There are so many options in this department that it’s impossible to give a comprehensive list. Every artist who works out-of-doors has a personal preference for what they wear. I’ve tried to list the most basic things so you can dress with confidence if you’ve never drawn outside before.

But I know many of you who have worked en plein air have favorite garments or other items that I haven’t included, so please add them in the comments below. We want all of the Challenge participants to have fun, be comfortable, and be safe.

Tomorrow is the first day of the challenge. Are you planning to go outside?