Creating texture when using coloured pencils.

Parrot feathers

In an article online, the Virtual Instructor says:

“All these rough surfaces are created by placing many light and dark marks close together. It is the character of the marks, however, that accounts for the many different textures. By using a variety of light/dark, narrow/broad, hard soft marks, any texture is drawable.”

The first thing I do when I am using a reference photo that has lots of texture in it, is to study it carefully. That way I get to see how the texture looks and the direction in which the lines are going.

When I have looked at the image and got a sense of how I am going to draw the texture, I create a sketch outline of the image.

When I am ready to start adding layers of colour, I will lighten the sketch outline by tapping the pencil lines with a kneadable eraser.

I can only barely see the sketch outline and I will know that it will not show through the layers of coloured pencil. I can also still make out the patterns of texture that I have outlined.

Now it’s time to get the colour down.

I start by applying a base colour using the light to mid tones of the colours I will be using.

The next layers will be made using lines or marks that mimic the direction of the lines of texture and using the relevant colours. All the time I will be checking the reference image so I can get it looking realistic.

buy adding colour by shading in the direction of the feathers helped to create a realistic looking parrot

When I have built up a few layers, I will glaze (shade) over the top with a light to mid tone to soften the lines and then repeat the process again until I get the desired result.

Now it’s time to darken the dark and lighten the lights to get the right contrast. I don’t tend to use a black to darken but a colour opposite the one I am using on the colour wheel. This usually gives a natural more realistic shadow than black, which can sometimes be too harsh.

The exacto knife can give the illusion of flyaway hairs

If I am drawing hair or fur, I will also use an Exacto/craft knife to gently scrape some colour away, especially if I want to create some flyaway hairs. This makes the drawing look more realistic.

I think the most important thing to remember is to be patient, slow down and don’t rush the process.

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