Hello! I've been really admiring your colored pencil work and was wondering if you had any tips or suggestions on how to blend colors? Or maybe any good references/tutorials I could look at? Thank you very much regardless, and I hope you have a good day!
Hi ! I hope you don’t mind me publishing this publicly, because I’ve been thinking about sharing some traditional art tips I’ve discovered over the years and this ask is the perfect occasion to do it.
Okay first of all I’m self-taught and never been to art school so maybe some the things I’m gonna say are actually bad ! Take it with a grain of salt and experiment yourself ! Also this is gonna be about coloured pencils only so… Yeah.
Okay so :
- I know the tool doesn’t make the artist but when it comes to coloured pencils it makes a great fucken difference whether your pencils are 1euro offbrand Rik et Rok at Auchan or… Better quality. If you’re really determined to work traditionally with pencils, you should think about getting some good pencils, where they have more pigment and a thicker consistence. I’m partial to Faber-Castell Polychromos but they’re very pricey so if you find another good brand that’s cheaper go for it (also hit me up ahah)
- Every brand is different. As I said, I primarily use Faber-Castell but recently my aunt gave me another brand that is a also “quality brand” (I don’t have the box at my flat so I don’t remember the name) but while the colours were really vibrant they also spread and smudged much more easily. I didn’t really like it, but if you’re used to it, I’m sure you can do great stuff !
- Also, use untextured paper. I don’t know why they say grainy paper is ideal for pencils ahah ^^ It gives a weird pixel effect when you scan it because of the tiny white holes you can’t fill with your pencil. I like smooth Canson paper better ! I use Exacompta paper but I mean there are a ton of brands who offer the same stuff.
- You can sketch with a mechanical pencil and everything but you shouldn’t keep graphite pencil on your page when you colour, otherwise your colours are going to get a weird greyish colour and it’s just Ugly. For me it’s the hard part of drawing digitally: I sketch with a mechanical pencil, then I take a coloured pencil and erase every line to trace over it with the coloured pencil. It’s boring and hard but it’s for the greater good.
- When you line with the coloured pencil, take an “in between colour”, like that’s what I call some colours that blend well with everything ? Because lines will smudge so you want to avoid clashes. Dark colours such as purple or black I tend to avoid because huge dark smudges aren’t a good look, unless you’re going for something in that colour palette. Same for all other colours, especially blues (cause the SECOND you use yellow it’s Over - be super careful with yellow and blue I’m warning you so you can avoid my fate). I usually take a deep pink (magenta) because pink is the ideal blend colour since it’s between warm and cool tones. Sometimes when I want to go for a more natural look I use browns that blend well too.
- Also once you’re done colouring reline everything because smudged/less clear/less vibrant lines
- I tend to line everything with the same colour so there is continuity within the drawing. I use other colours for when I want a certain item to pop up.
- Pink is your ultimate best friend. Want to make that gradient between yellow and blue ? Use pink in the middle. It works for everything. I love pink.
- The trick is, go lightly at first, then add more and more layers. Think a bit like digital layers ? You do your flats first (rough colours, you don’t even have to fill it all properly like you can leave some white), then you put a layer of another colour (usually with the strokes in another direction like if your first colour has vertical strokes then go horizontally or diagonally), then another, then another again, and you refine that shit until it looks good.
- If you go on my earliest art pages you’ll see that my art wasn’t as well coloured as it is right now. Shit was LIGHT AS FUCK (and I kept complaining that I wasn’t able to get deep colours ahah). As with all shit, it’s gonna take a while to get it right.
- I hate colouring clothes so my Bullshit Secret Technique is horizontal or kinda wavy/following the movement of the clothing crosshatching with a lot of colours until it makes a decent gradient (see all of my drawings in April 2016)
- Single coloured flats are hard. Get one colour, then get another colour and draw over your flat. Okay it won’t be all the same colour but 1) nuances are good 2it’s easier for some reason. Maybe it’s just in your head ? I don’t know.
- If you can get one of these small eraser pens like pens but they’re erasers, get them, especially to erase your sketch, it saves lives. At least it saved mine. It’s so much easier to erase one line at a time than erase everything then lose track of where was what.
- Get a white gel ink pen for highlights and tiny sparkling stuff
- Know where the light parts of your drawing are going to be beforehand because there’s no way to get them back once they’re gone.
- Get a tablet and draw digitally. You can do much more stuff much more easily. Patterns ? Highlights ? Fluorescence ? Ctrl-Z ? Flats ? Resizing ? Last-minute glow in the dark ? Can’t do that traditionally. It’s too late for me cause I’d have to relearn everything and I’m lazy but if you’re getting started draw digitally.
- Otherwise add tiny sparkling stuff it’s really lovely.
Aaand here ! I don’t know if that really helped you, I’ve said it before but I draw really instinctively so it’s hard to explain what I do ^^’ Thanks for the compliments though, and have a nice day too !