Color Techniques for Drawing


Color Techniques for Drawing


Lesson Info

Color Introduction

Color can be very overwhelming, especially if you're just starting out. You go into the art store, and there's just rows and rows of paint and different kinds, and tubes, and all these color charts out, and everything is just at their strongest intensity. How do you choose? They're concentrated on purpose to be overwhelming (laughs). So let's start by getting rid of 1/2 of everything, break it down a little. I'm gonna say there's two schools of color painting. One is gonna be the fine art oil painting side, and one is gonna be kind of the decorator spot color side. Fine art oil painting side, now that's where you have all the colors out on your palate, and you're painting this landscape, and you're doing like atomosphere, and shade and shadows, and trees have 20 different colors in 'em. We're gonna get rid of that, save that for later. We're gonna work on spot colors. This is more of a graphic design approach, or interior design. This is when you get out the Pantone chips, and you get ...

to just look at all these gorgeous colors, and you just pick one that you love, and you take it from there, find things that match with it. Or in the hardware store, when they have all the paint chips out, getting those. So it can be really fun, because you just get to go straight for the colors that you really love, not worry about all the color wheel and all of the matching and stuff. So we're gonna start by choosing just a few simple colors. And we're gonna really learn how to load the brush. And so when you do get that perfect color on your brush, you know what to do with it. And when you see illustrations that in magazines or ads, or wherever you look, it'll demystify the process a little bit. And you'll be like, oh, I kind of recognize that technique. I know how they put that paint on. Or if you're sitting in front of your new pencil drawing, and you wanna add some color, you might have some ideas of what you're favorite techniques are. Okay, so, you know, after watching my last segment you probably know that I'm gonna say try out your materials, and make a chart, right? (laughs) Just don't listen to anybody else's description of how to use it, just try it. One of the first things you do when you get into an art school class, the first thing you're gonna do is learn how to stretch your paper. Now, why do you need to stretch paper? If you have a flat piece of paper, and you put some dots of liquid in one spot, those are gonna like, just like your jeans do in the wash, they're gonna get bigger, they're gonna get smaller. And if they don't do it all evenly, you're gonna get wrinkles in your paper. This is something paper naturally does, so you don't try and fight it too hard. But I haven't actually stretched watercolor paper since I was in school. But there is one thing that I do do which is I coat my paper with acrylic medium. So this just kinda puts like a layer of plastic on there so the paint doesn't really sink in 'cause I like to be able to erase my paint. So the good thing about using acrylic medium is that you can wipe the paint right off, paint doesn't stick. The bad thing about using acrylic medium is the paint doesn't stick (laughs). When you really want it to get to stay somewhere it gets a little bit frustrating. So this is something, I'm just gonna introduce you to it, you're gonna experiment with a little. If you like it, keep going. If you don't like it, most people don't do it, so do it as you like. So to coat with medium real quick, I just take this, it's called acrylic matte medium, and I just glob a little on, squirt some out. You can put in a little dish and use your brush if you want, but you don't have to. Now there's a couple ways of doing this. When you're stretching paper normally, you could put a whole row of tape all the way around this, so everything is gonna like buckle up the same, and then dry the same. Or what I found I can to is, if I don't have any tape at all on it, and I just do it real quickly all at once. It usually will grow and shrink kind of uniformly. So I just glob some on, and I do this, just brush it out real evenly. If you get just at the right angle with your light, you can see this, if you're missing any spots, if there's any holes. Do it both directions. Usually, if I'm doing a real nice piece, I let that dry. I'll hit it with a blow dryer. And I'll come back in to do another coat, and let that dry overnight. You don't have to let it dry overnight, but I find it does kind of just set up, and makes it better. Do they have-- Can I ask a question in regards to that? Yes. Even though you're painting on this acrylic medium, that process is called stretching the paper, just by way of clarification? I would say for, when you're doing this for watercolor, you're right, I didn't get to that. When you're stretching watercolor paper, you're just putting water on it. Ah, okay. You're not painting the medium on it, so-- And the purpose of that is just to get-- That's just to get it so it, so when you put water in one little spot, it's not gonna grow and shrink in a wrinkly way. Got it, okay. So that was kinda two things combined, there was growing the watercolor paper, and stretching the watercolor paper, and adding medium. And I was basically just saying, I don't usually stretch it because you would only stretch it if you've got like a big piece of nice paper, and you're gonna do like this big landscape that fills the whole thing. And it's gonna take you a really, you know, a couple of hours or something to cover every piece. During that time, it might get a little wrinkly, but you know, really wrinkles aren't so bad. You know, I got a lot of wrinkles in my art (laughs).

Class Description

Are you ready to work with color on your drawing but overwhelmed by all the possible options? In this class, professional painter & illustrator Cleo Papanikolas shares fun, beginner-friendly color application techniques that can turn anyone’s drawings into vibrant finished pieces.

In this class Cleo will teach you 8 different color styles ranging from spot color techniques to using metallics with illustrations.

You'll also learn how to:
  • Load and Apply color with your brush 
  • Use different mediums: watercolor, gouache, brush pens and colored pencil 
  • Create harmonious color palettes
With your finished color pieces, Cleo will show you how to move your drawings out of your sketchbook and out into the world. Learn how to display your drawings on gallery walls and onto physical products, from iPhone cases to large scale tapestries, with sites like Society6.