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Colored Pencil Demo: Red Pepper—Part 2

This post continues the colored pencil demonstration on Wallis Paper begun in yesterday's post. A contour drawing has been made, washes of gouache (or watercolor) have been laid in and are dry. It’s time to start blending and building the color pencil layers.

Layering Colored Pencil on Wallis Paper

Colored pencil is a semi-transparent medium. This means that some of what is beneath each layer is going to show through in the final drawing. Colored pencil artists can use this quality to create vibrant color combinations which play on the layers of pencil and on the color of the paper (or underpainting if one is used).

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Left: The completed pepper drawing with layers of colored pencil covering the gouache underpainting. Click on the image to see an enlargement.

When I’m working on a colored pencil drawing I keep a color swatch chart going at the edge of the paper or on a separate sheet, so I know which colors I used and in which order. That way I don’t have to guess at my blends if I am interrupted and return to a project after some time has elapsed.

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Colored Pencil Demo: Red Pepper—Part 1

A couple of weeks ago I gave a talk on colored pencils to the University of Minnesota Women’s Club. The women were very welcoming, very attentive, and someone in their membership makes ridiculously delicious brownies. (Thankfully they pushed two of them on me!)

One of the samples I took to show them was a drawing of a red bell pepper on Museum Grade Wallis Paper. (Wallis Paper is a wonderful pastel paper that is coated with an acrylic primer which contains grit. This creates a great surface for grabbing pastel pigment and holding it. But it is also a fun paper to use for colored pencil if you don’t mind the voracious quality of the paper as it eats your pencils and if you pay attention to a couple other foibles.) We ran out of time at the meeting (they would ask questions and I would digress!) and so I thought it would be fun to post the process here.

The following images show the steps in building a colored pencil sketch on Wallis Paper. This drawing was done as a class demo in one of my advanced colored pencil classes (where I deal with working on oddball types of surfaces). The demo was completed in under an hour, with breaks for questions, paint drying time, digressions. The finished artwork is approximately 7 x 5 inches.

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