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Beginners Colour Pencil Tutorial 4 – Drawing Baubles

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:




phthalo blue

mid phthalo blue


cool grey III




indigo blue

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

Step 1.

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.

Step 2.

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

Step 3.

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!

Step 4.

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.

Step 5.

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.

Step 6.

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

Step 7.

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

Step 8

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.

Step 9.

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

Step 10.

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.

Step 11.

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!

Step 12.

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

Step 13.

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.

Step 14.

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.

Step 15.

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.

Step 16.

Add another layer of white to the highlights on our second bauble. Remember to keep our edges crisp and unblended.

Step 17.

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!

Step 18.

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.

Step 19.

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.

Step 20.

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.

Step 21.

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

Step 22

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

Step 23.

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

Step 24.

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.

Step 25.

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 :


Colouring a Red Rose -Beginners Colour pencil tutorial

In my last post I talked about how to draw the outlines for this piece; today we are going to add the colour. In my previous tutorials, I covered how to apply the pencil to the paper and how to smoothly blend your colours. In today’s tutorial, we are going to focus on building a nice deep color saturation with some darker colours, including black, by continually building light layers of colour.

Once again, here is the reference photo we will be using:

and a traceable line drawing if you just want to get to the fun stuff.

I used my polychromos in the colours:

  • Deep Scarlett
  • Dark Red
  • Walnut Brown
  • Black
  • Chrome Oxide Green
  • Earth Green Yellowish
  • Fuchsia (optional)

For prismacolors I used:

  • Permanent Red
  • Crimson Red
  • Tuscan Red (dark and warm it makes a decent substitute for Walnut Brown in this piece)
  • Black
  • Olive Green
  • Lime Peel
  • Process Red (optional)

I have used odorless mineral spirits (OMS) to blend my colour pencils in this tutorial, and used  a 3/10 oval, and a 1/8 oval taklon brushes to blend.

I used an A5 piece of Arches Hot press in my video demo, and fabriano accademia for my practice runs, which are extremes of an expensive and a budget paper!  When choosing your paper, look for a nice sturdy paper with a slight tooth to the surface.

Once you have you line drawing on your paper it’s time to start the colouring!


Step 1.

Have a good long look at the reference photo and try to identify the darkest ares of the rose. These are mostly seen in places where the petals are curling in and casting shadows towards the centre of the rose. The petals on roses are often tightly packed and you can often identify some really nice dark shadows even on a lighter coloured flower. In this photo the rose is quite a simple shape, so the darkest areas are easy to identify. Lay down a light layer of Walnut Brown (or Tuscan Red) in these areas.

Step 2.

Now that you have identified the darkest areas, it is time to look for the lightest ones. Unlike my previous tutorials, where we coloured in small circles, today we are going to add a little texture to the solid red by lightly colouring in the direction of the veins of the petals.  Look closely at each petal before colouring, you will notice that the direction of these veins changes on each petal, and they help show the roundness and fullness of the rose.  Using these as a guide, use your lightest red to colour the lightest areas of the rose.

Step 3.

Colour the remaining area of the rose with your dark red pencil. Once again, applying your pencil in the direction of the petal textures. Colour over the top of your Brown/Tuscan Red areas, these colours will blend together to create a really nice deep red colour.

Step 4.

It is time to blend our pencils for the first time. Dip your brush in the OMS, then remove the excess on a piece of scrap paper until the brush is mostly dry. Start blending your pencil, being careful not to accidentally spread that dark red onto the surrounding white paper, as it will be impossible to remove! The smaller brush comes in very handy for those tight spots. We want to take every opportunity to build upon the texture of those petals, so wherever possible, blend your pencil in the direction of the petal veins. Paying close attention to these textures will really prevet your drawing from looking flat when we are finished.

When you are happy that you have blended the entire surface, allow the OMS to dry completely.

Step 5.

With the first layer down, we have established where our lightest and darkest areas are in the drawing, but the coverage is still very patchy and light. We will fix that by adding additional layers of colour. Start by adding another layer of dark brown to the deepest shadows.

Step 6.

Use the dark red pencil to cover the mid tones, once again, going over the brown areas to create a deep rich shadow colour. Remember to work in the direction of the veins wherever you see them.

Step 7. 

Use the lightest red over most of the rose (except for the very darkest areas) this will help to bring all the colours together and help the rose look like it is just gradients of a single colour. Make sure you are still only colouring in light layers at this point, while it looks like there is a lot of pigment going down onto the paper in the video at this point, it is just because the pigments are starting to build up on the page. The point of this tutorial is to build our depth of colour slowly and we really don’t want to be pressing hard at any point of this piece.

Step 8. 

Using a very dry brush, we will be blending out the pencil again. Remember that as the colour builds up on the surface of the paper, the drier our brush needs to be. A wet brush will start to lift colour off the paper, which is the opposite of what we want to see. Once you are satisfied with the blending allow the thinners to dry before moving onto the next step.

Step 9 (optional)

At this point we can take a moment to add a little touch of that pinky tone to the base of the center petal. It is a small detail, but adding some different tones to the piece can help add to the realism and interest of the drawing. Adding some slightly different tones to our rose along with adding  the petal texture will help this piece be more life-like and less flat and solid.

Step 10. 

With our colours building up nicely, we can start to add a little touch of black to our shadows. I have held off from adding the black until this point. because I didn’t want to overshadow that vibrant red by mixing it with a straight black. Black itself can be too dominating to most colours to use directly as a shadow colour, so I used the Walnut Brown (or Tuscan Red) as a bridge between or red and black. The shadows of this rose however are very dark, so we can add just a little hint of black in the deepest shadows to add contrast to our rose. Be sparing, but brave in this step! If you feel you have put down too much black, you should have enough pigment on your paper to be able to lift off some of the colour with your brush wet with OMS. Usually you don’t want to lift colour off your page, but occasionally it can be a helpful trick if you have gone too far and need to take pigment back off. As long as you haven’t squashed the tooth of your paper, you can always wait for the thinner to dry and re-build any colour lifted off later. 

Step 11.

The piece is almost done. At this point go over your colours once more to make sure the paper is completely covered. Add the Walnut Brown to the shadows, then add more of the darkest red and top it off with a final few layers of the lightest red. At this point you should have a lovely strong red colour and some nice dark shadows on your paper. And its all been done with nice light layers.

Once you feel like you have a good amount of colour down, blend the rose with OMS for the last time.
(If you reach this point and you still don’t feel like you have a strong enough coverage, feel free to add more layers, as long as you have kept a light hand, you should be able to keep adding layers of pencil until you reach a nice saturation.)

Step 12.

While you wait for the rose to dry. Add a layer of your lightest green to the entire stem and leaf section of the rose, once again following the direction of any textures you can see on the stem. Then you can add some of the darkest green in the areas of shadow, such as, under the leaves, where one of the leaves are curling over and down the right hand side of the stem. Look closely at the reference photo to find these shadows. Finally you can add a touch of Walnut Brown or Tuscan Red ( remember that red and green are complimentary colours, so they will blend to a darker and less saturated colour, perfect for a shadow!) to the very darkest shadow on the stem.

Step 13.

Blend out the stem with OMS on the smaller brush, some of those tight little curls may be a little tricky, so take your time! Luckily the green pencils don’t seem to spread as easily as the red, so you are at less risk of accidentally pushing them too far outside the area you want to see them. Allow the thinners to dry.

Step 14.

Repeat the colouring process with the stem. Even though this is a much lighter colour that the red of the rose, the stem should have the same saturation of colour as the rose, so you will need to add multiple layers in this area too. Go over the stem in the same manner as step 12, and blend once again.

Step 15.

The final touches! Using your dark red pencil, carefully add a few of the veins on the surface of the petals. You have been following their shape throughout this piece, so a few light lines should finish this off nicely. Be careful to only add these lines very lightly, they will look too artificial if you press down to hard. Just use a light touch.

Then, if you wish you can use your dark red to add a little red to the tips of the rose leaves and use your darkest green to add in a few of the little spurs on those leaves as well. And your all done!!

I hope you find this tutorial helpful and you give this a go!! If you do I would love to see how you go! feel free to tag me on Instagram or post to my Facebook page. You guys have done some wonderful work with the pear and mango tutorials, I am sure I will see some beautiful roses too.