An Exercise with Coloured Pencils

See the process of drawing with coloured pencils!


Many of my students have expressed interest in, or are in the process of learning how to work with coloured pencils. I haven’t work with them very much so decided I should try my hand at it, seeing as I’m the one teaching my students how to layer and blend with them. I know the theory of working with coloured pencils, but I’m not well practiced with them. Portraiture is my passion. Many years ago, I’d had a little side business in black & white photography. I specialized in hand painted portrait photography. When I came across Bella Kotak’s portraits, I was blown away, and decided to use her photo for my reference picture. Not only was this a beautiful portrait, it was also a challenge to draw, with all those lovely details.

I got out my sketch book and pencil and carefully drew the portrait then began to very lightly map out the colours. Keep in mind, with coloured pencils you are limited with the amount of pencils you have. (Professional colour pencil artists will have several sets/brands to work from. I have just one premium brand of 150 pencils.) I highly recommend making a swatch sheet of all your pencils so you know what they actually look like on paper, versus in the box. I worked on the flowers first, applying colour lightly and then more heavily to blend. I was quite happy with the result and proceeded to work on the gold pieces. And finally, I approached the face. I used several shades of pinks, yellows, browns, testing these on a separate piece of paper until I found the best skin tone. Once I was happy with the face I filled in the background, using solvent to blend.

This was a fun project that I am quite proud of. It was also relaxing, something I could do at home in my kitchen. I look forward to doing another one!