Color Techniques for Drawing


Lesson Info

Color Style #2: Doodle style using Pen

Now, here's another style that I think is really fun to do for beginners. I'm gonna call it a doodle style using a pen. A lot of times you don't even start with a sketch on this one. What you do, is you just take your marker, now we don't have a peach, I just made up the peach. I don't even know if this candy comes in that. Yeah. So, I just made it up (laughs). And you're doing a contour drawing, so this is kind of just like slowly following along the edge of what you think. Just like the contour in the pencil. It gets kinda wiggly and just sort of be careful of your connections. But, it's a very designery, it's kind of like a coloring book, it's kinda something that retains a lot of that young innocence and freshness. You just bold and you don't worry about whether something ends up looking exactly the right shape. Just go for it. Okay. So already you can see the line quality on this one was a little bit different than the line quality on that last one cause I'm not being too sketchy.

And Cleo, this is the same waterproof pen? It is. Okay. This is a really great on to do when you're drawing out of your head too. When you're not looking at something and using reference material. Okay. And you can get into doing fancy lettering with this too. Okay. It's kind of all about very slowly and very observing your contour drawing lines. You get to do lots of decorating and squiggles. Just doodle around. And then, when you color it in, you also don't have to be very precise. You can just add your color wherever you want. So, this has kind of a more pop feel to it, so I'm gonna do more of a pop painting job. I'm gonna use some bright neon and I'm gonna put some on here. But, you don't have to stay on the lines. You can just make this stuff go out anywhere. A lot of times, people will just do kind of like a patterned background and then do their drawing on top of it. Just see how much fun you can do with smearing your paint out. I'm doing this on uncoated paper. Now, here you can see one where I took a little bit more time, carefully drawing my lines and I did a nice smearing of the paint out, just to say, you know, it's kinda like a blast of neon color. It can't even really contain itself within its lines. And then I took the silver paint and I did the same thing there. I really like the pattern that these lines were making, so I just went for the pattern. I filled them all in and I actually went out of bounds here too and I kept going. In the different light, you can see it's shiny. And then I came in and for the shading, I didn't want it to look all sketchy. I wanted to keep it really pop, so I just did the dotted pipe shading with the points. And when you paint your color on, you can see that I've colored, covered up some of my black lines. Now, if I was just doing this as a professional graphic designer, a lot of times, you would scan your color side and your black and white side into separately and put them together in the computer because if you're getting something printed, they like to have those layers separate and then you can change out the colors or a lot more possibilities, but here, we're doing a little sketch. So, I don't really like how my nice sharp black lines have been colored up, so I'm just gonna wait for the paint to dry and come back in and color back over them. Just to get that sort of pop feeling back. Cause in this one, I don't want any of that washy, blending, romantic look of my last postcard drawing. I want it to be really bright and bold. So, as we're doing these techniques, just think hmm, do I like this one? Do I like doing this? Do I like trying to get all my lines really straight and dark? Or would I rather just smush them around and be really fast? And Cleo, could I mention, sometimes with that particular style, that people will lay down the color first, and then draw over the top of it? Yeah, there's a lot of complicated techniques that professional illustrators will do. Some will like do their line drawing and scan it in and then come back with something like this and then just only put the color on here and then scan the color on this part, so you can't see those light lines. And then still retain their black drawing and then put them together in Photoshop as layers. But, for what we're doing here, you would just need to allow the paint to dry completely before you drew over the top of it? Correct. Yeah, because if I just take a picture of this, post it on social media or I could use that in print if I wanted to. It looks great. Sure. I could frame it. But, if it's gonna be in like a book or something, they might want the black separated.

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.  



  • A great student for this class is someone who is newer to art and just wants to try a bunch of different mediums. The course is not the right fit for me personally. It's more of a "here's an interesting medium" class than a technique class. It scratches the surface but doesn't have the depth I'd like to see. One way I'd suggest improving the class would be letting students see the process from start to finish using slightly sped-up frames with narration in the background. I'd like more information about the technical parts -- just more depth. I'd like variations for more advanced students including color mixing or other more difficult techniques. I wish I could rate this with stars instead of just thumbs-up or thumbs-down. It's not just one or the other.
  • So sad to say this, but I was expecting MUCH more. Cleo is really fun and creative but I thought I was going to learn some new and exquisit artistic technics but instead I saw things I could discover by myself on Youtube :( I´m very disappointed. Thanks, Carmen
  • I'm so disappointed in this class, it's really not even worth the sale price of $18.00 her presentation skills are NOT good, and the content is a true beginning level, but they will be very confused!! This is the first Creative Live class I've taken that I didn't appreciate. This is NOT up to your level of professionalism. You should remove it from your line up of offerings.