Its been a long time in the works, but I finally have a new beginners tutorial for you! This drawing has a few more steps than the first tutorials, but I promise if you have completed those first drawings, this one is just as simple! Just a quick note, If you are very new to colour pencils, then I do recommend going back over my first 2 tutorials,where I talk more specifically about how to get the pencil down onto the paper and blending techniques.
For this tutorial you will need the following colours:
mid phthalo blue
cool grey III
china blue ( in place of the Phthalo blue)
true blue ( in place of the mid phthalo blue)
cool grey 30%
I will be creating my piece on Arches Hot press watercolor paper, although this is a rather expensive option. If you don’t want to break the bank with the arches paper, any brand of hot press watercolour paper should do, just look for paper that is nice and sturdy and has a little bit of tooth to the surface
I used odorless mineral spirits to blend out my pencils with a 3/10 oval taklon bristled brush. I also found my kneaded eraser very handy to have on hand, to quickly clean up any blue pigment dust that might get smudged on our nice white background.
Here is our reference photo
and our line drawing
The first step is to get a base layer of white for our highlights. This can be a little tricky as our first step because it can hard to see where the pencil needs to be placed, but getting this base layer down will help prevent us from making this area too dark later. we’re going to build up a good coverage of white inside the brightest part of the highlight, and add a much lighter layer of colour around the edges to help blur our edges.
With our lightest areas now mapped out, we can have a look for our darkest areas. Using the indigo pencil, build up a layer where you can see dark areas on our bauble. This bauble is going to have a nice satin finish, so feather the edges of this indigo into the areas of white. We want the light and dark areas to have a very soft transition on this bauble, so want to try to keep this layer nice and and light handed with soft edges so we will be able to blend out our colours later on
Now add a layer of phthalo blue over the bauble, trying to avoid just the brightest highlights. You will add the phthalo over the top of the indigo you have placed down to allow the colours to blend. The bauble has to stay nice and round for this piece to work, but it may feel a little difficult to keep those edges rounded properly. Feel free to move your paper around to give your hand the most comfortable position to follow the edge. Don’t forget to add a little blue in the areas under the cap!
Use your middle phthalo to very lightly add a layer to just tint the brightest highlights. this is really just the barest hint of colour to tone down the white a little.
Finally we can bring these layers together with some odorless mineral spirits. Dip your brush in the OMS, then remove the excess on a piece of scrap paper until the brush is mostly dry. work around the bauble to push the pencil pigment together and down into the valleys of the paper.
Be careful not to push any of the darker pigments over the highlights. This is best avoided by cleaning the excess pigment off your brush regularly, by dipping into the OMS and brushing off on a scrap piece of paper. If you do accidentally push the dark colours over the highlights, that layer of white we put down first should save the day! the white pencil should save your paper from being stained by the blue, so you can just wet your brush in OMS and use it to lift off the darker pigment
When you are happy that you have blended the entire surface, allow the OMS to dry completely.
while we wait for the OMS to dry on the first bauble, we can start work on the second more shiny ball. Just like the first bauble we are going to start by mapping out our highlights, However this time we are not going to feather out our edges. To make this ball look shiny we are going to need to keep a strong definition between our light and dark areas, so when we lay down our whites, we are going to stay well within the defined areas. except for the slight transition we have on the curve of the base
Now with our lightest areas in place, we are going to go back in with our indigo. This time we are going to keep a nice defined edge between the lights and darks. Because this is a beginners tutorial, we wont be drawing in every reflection on this surface. However we will be using that indigo pencil to imply some of the shapes we can see reflected in the surface
Now with our lights and darks placed, we can go in with our phthalo blue again. Putting down a good layer over the surface of the bauble, but being careful not the colour over the very brightest highlights. Once again, don’t forget to colour under the cap.
Take a quick moment to add a very light layer on mid phthalo blue to ever so slightly tone down the white of the brightest highlights
Now that we have a good few layers of colour down, we can use our OMS to blend out the shiny bauble. We have to be a little more careful on this side however, because we don’t want to lose that lovely contrast. So do take care not to smudge the edges too much with your OMS. The best way to do this is to only use a careful up and down dabbing motion as your brush touches the paper, this way you stand less chance of accidentally blurring your boundaries as you push the pigment down into the paper.
when you are satisfied that all of the colour had been blended leave to dry.
At this point we have a pretty good idea of how this drawing is going to come together, but the colour is still patchy and we need to refine a few things. So we are going to add a few more layers of colouor
First we are going to go back in with the white. This will be much easier this time around because we will be better able to see where we are placing down the pencil. Build up the top highlights just like the first time. Build up a good layer of colour in the centre part of the highlight, and then add a few light touches of white around the edges to blur the transition.
when colouring the bottom area with white, try to only colour the very central area of the lighter area. This will help sell the illusion that the bauble is a sphere.
remember to keep your edges soft and feathered out, no sharp edges on this bauble!
Go back in with the indigo pencil and reestablish those very darkest areas. we have lost some of the intensity of the darks when we blended out and we want them back! build up a good layer of indigo just as you did in the first few steps, keeping the edges feathered and soft and overlapping slightly into the lighter areas
Just as we did with the first layers, we can add a layer of Phthalo blue over the surface of the bauble, while avoiding the highlights. During my testing for this tutorial I varied how dark I made the bottom portion of this bauble…sometimes using the phthalo over this entire section, and sometimes only adding the darker blue to the bottom and colouring the lighter area with the mid phthalo. I’m not sure which version I prefer, so I will leave that up to your personal taste. In this test I kept the darker blue just to the bottom of the sphere, and kept the central portion lighter.
Going back in with the mid phthalo blue, this time instead of colouring over the whole highlight, I’m just going to keep the light blue to the edges of the highlights. This will soften the transition between light and dark even further than before. I also added a touch of the mid phthalo to the bottom highlight to soften the blend between light and dark in his area.
Blend!! this time we already have a decent amount of pigment on our paper, so we only need to use a very dry brush. Too much thinner at this point will only start to lift colour off our paper, so make sure to really dry off the tip of your brush until it is barely holding any OMS. Blend your colours together again, but save those brightest highlights! we want everything here to have a nice soft transition, so push that pigment around, lights into darks and vice versa.
If you accidentally lift too much colour it is not a problem, wait for the OMS to dry then touch up with a little more colour. Blend until everything is smooth and your pigments have melted into each other. While we wait for this to dry , we can move back to our shiny bauble.
Add another layer of white to the highlights on our second bauble. Remember to keep our edges crisp and unblended.
Go back in with the indigo pencil and re-establish the darkest areas on our second bauble with the indigo pencil, following the guidelines you already have down on the paper. This second layer is just to strengthen our colour and really get some pigment down on the paper, the hard work of deciding where to put your colours has already been done at this point!
Just like before we will add a layer of phthalo blue over the majority of he surface of this second bauble. This time avoiding the brightest highlights and the bottom lighter section.
Use the Mid phthalo blue to colour the bottom lighter portion of the shiny Bauble, and deepen the tone of the brightest highlights if you feel it is required.
Last blend! As before, blend using a dry brush,it will not need much to move the pigment at this point. Blend out your pencils being careful not to blur the sharp edges. Once you are done, sharpen a black pencil while you wait for the OMS to dry.
Going in with the black pencil add the very darkest details around the piece. There is a small dark shadows at the very base of each bauble, a shadow where the baubles overlap and the very darkest underneath the cap
While we have our black pencil in hand, lets add the very darkest details in the cap.I am simplifying the colours in the cap down to just white black and grey to keep it easy. take a moment to look for the very darkest areas in this cap and add them in with the black pencil. Once again, I did this several different ways as I tested this tutorial , and no matter where I placed these colours, the end result looked like a shiny silver cap. The main thing here is to make sure you keep the contrast between the lights and darks. The photo below shows where I added my black pencil
Now for the whites, Grab a sharp white pencil and map in the very brightest areas of the cap. Feel free to press a little hard in this area, we aren’t going t go over this area very much in this piece. Below is a map of where I put my whites
Now for everything in between. We are going to use our Cool grey III to fill in all the colours i between.Try to keep the separation between the lightest and darkest areas obvious here, that’s what is going to make this look silver
when this area has been coloured, you may take a brush to blend out these colours, but make sure it a very dry brush and do NOT lose the contrast by blending the tones together. Just lightly press the pigments down into the paper so they don’t mix together and cause you to lose your contrast.
Last step! Add in a small amount of indigo in the circle at the very base of both bauble. The blueish colour of the indigo will give the impression that some of the colour of these baubles is being reflected onto the table surface.
Fill the indigo in thicker at the very base of the baubles and feather it out to a lighter layer of colour as you move away from the darkest shadow at the bottom of the balls. When that is complete, fill in the larger circle with a very light layer of cool grey III, also feathering out the colour as you move towards the edge of the shadow, we want this colour to fade out as naturally as possible
when you are happy with the coverage of your pencil use a little OMS to push the colour down into the paper and blend out the edges as much as you can…
and you are done!
I hope by working through this piece you have had a chance to experiment with what makes a surface look shiny, satin or matte. Both of these baubles have been created using the same colours and techniques, but it is the amount of contrast in each bauble which changes the appearance of the surface texture.
If you have enjoyed creating these baubles, maybe it is work seeing if you can extend upon this exercise. Can you make these baubles look even matter, or shinier? perhaps you could try to draw something like a shiny gift ribbon using these techniques?
No matter what you do, I would love to see the end result. Please feel free to tag me on instagram, or send me a message showing me your work, Honestly seeing the drawings you guys create really makes me ridiculously happy. I really hope you have fun with this :