Color Techniques for Drawing

Lesson 13/17 - Using Multiple Colors for Shading & Highlights


Color Techniques for Drawing


Lesson Info

Using Multiple Colors for Shading & Highlights

Now we're gonna combine several of these techniques that we've done onto one drawing. This is gonna be back to our dog painting. In class one, we drew a dog. When you do a nice drawing that you like and you're thinking of painting it in, one of the first things you wanna do is trace it. This saves a copy. This is another kind of analog version of what you would normally do on your computer. You save a copy of any file that you think you might wanna go back to. I traced the dog that I drew because I'm gonna start messing with it with paint and there's a really good chance I'm gonna wreck it and I kind of like my dog painting, my dog drawing. I'm going to transfer it on. I'll just start out this a little bit but, I think by now you've seen tracing and transferring. You could if you didn't draw this dog and you had a photograph of your dog, you could start at this point. We already did a dog in the last class. We're gonna start using the one we already drew. You tape that on your paper. I...

have a nice cut piece of Arches hot press watercolor paper here again. I'm taping it down and I'm going to put my transfer paper underneath there and just use my hardest pencil, draw around everything and it's gonna come out. This image is transferred onto there. Then, I'm gonna start filling it in. I'm gonna use a combination of the techniques that we have already used. As you can see, in the background I did this technique. I just colored in the big shape gold and I colored in my background this teal color but, in this case I did something a little bit different. See how I left this gap line? That just gives you another look. I kind of like the look. Either one is fine. I'm just going for this one 'cause it's a little more of a printed look. I'm going for kind of this retro lithograph look. In printing, they often get these misregistration gaps. This was just that so far. Then, I'm gonna add a few more techniques. I think I wanna add some background shading and I definitely wanna do some paint over the gold. For my background shading, I'm gonna try out some colors. Let's see. I know I wanna paint a lighter little bit in the sky and fade this out. I've done some samples of that blue color on just a piece of scrap paper. I'll use the smaller brush. I take the same, use this palette, I'm gonna take the same green that I painted the background with and I know I want it to be lighter so the first thing you think is, okay add white. I'm gonna add some white to it. You can add as much white as you feel like. Try it out. How does it look on that green? Looks okay. I think I'm just gonna paint it on like that and then I know my background's gonna have a bit of a fade. Just gonna rinse out my brush and try and just drag this out and fade it out a little bit. I'm actually trying to lift the paint underneath it so it'll mix with this so I can get a fade. Oopsies. That's okay but I'm gonna take a look at it. I don't think I like it quite enough. I think it needs to be warmed up a little bit. I'm gonna take that same color and I'm just gonna add a teensy bit of yellow to it. If I add too much, it's gonna get really green. I want it to stay the same color but just be a little warmer. Let's try that one. That looks a little more natural. See how it kind of looks like it could be maybe some sunlight on the background as opposed to some white paint on the background? Drying off my brush a lot and just dragging that out. I like that one. I'm gonna circle it. I'm gonna take notes on my chart. See, once again, I'm making a chart. This says I had a green background and I did yellow with just a little bit of white. Now, I know I wanna paint some highlights and some shadows on the gold. Well, what's the first thing I think? Highlights and shadows on the gold, I'm gonna try some black. What happens if I do this gold with a little bit of black on it. That's very dark, isn't it? I'm not gonna be able to see the gold through it at all. Let's see what happens if I wash it out just a little bit. It's okay. Let's pretend that was a shadow area and then it faded kind of into a sunny area, it would look like that. It looks a little harsh for me. It doesn't look like a shadow at all to me. Maybe I'll try purple. I have that color. Same thing. What does purple on gold look like? That's kind of a neat look. Then let's see what happens when I fade that one out. It's alright. I could go for that. That's not too bad but it is also pretty harsh again. I gotta think of how the purple's gonna look with the green. What's another color I have? That indigo, I've been using that a lot. Let's try that one. That pigment goes on much thicker. That's kind of more of a charcoal-y thing. Let's see if we can get that to fade out. Also, all of those are still seeming pretty harsh to me. I want this to be a little bit more cohesive. I'm gonna try this warm gray color. This is called gray number three. You could make gray by mixing a whole bunch of colors together but, it's right here and it's nice and I wanna keep this consistent look. If I mix it myself, if I try and remix it, it's gonna be really hard to get the same color. I'm just gonna use it straight out of the tube. I like that a lot better. That is a lot softer. I think I'm gonna go with that one. I'm gonna use that gray number three over the gold for my shadows. I'm also gonna have some highlights on the gold too so I need to pick those. Let's start. It's gonna be the same thing as this. I'm gonna pick white and see what a white highlight would look like. That looks like my dog may have some whip cream on his or something. That looks a little too harsh so I'll do the same thing. I'll add a little bit of yellow to that. There we go, that softened up a little bit. I think what I need to do is add a little bit of yellow highlights and a little bit of gray shadows. I'll go through this whole thing when I'm trying to pick colors that I wanna use. I spent a long time on this drawing. It took me a long time to get it all transferred and straight. Might as well take awhile to choose these colors. Got them picked. Let's just finish up and do a little painting here, okay? Your picture of your dog is on your tablet. That's the same dog drawing that we were working with before when we were doing our drawing. We can just download it from CreativeLive. I'm gonna start out and I'm gonna only use that gray and that yellow-gold. I think I'm gonna move them over here. This gray is gonna be my shadow color. See how I've got all the paint all the way up on the ferrule of the brush? I'll do that when I'm mixing but not when I'm painting because when you get a big glob of paint, this is what happens. Here's a picture of your paintbrush. You've got a nice point on it and it comes into the ferrule of your brush like that. If you get a big glob of paint stuck right up here way high, your bristles are gonna go like this and fan out. They're gonna go straight across from that big glob and they're not gonna be a nice pointy point. What I try and do is any time I get all the paint shoved way up in the ferrule like that, I try and rinse it out and dry it really well and then I'll just go back into that same paint with just the tip. Now I've just got paint only on the tip and I can do a really nice fine, delicate line without it spreading out. Back to this. I know my dog is a black dog and he has black spots. I've got gold on here so it's a little hard to see my drawing. If I wanted to, I would take that same tracing and I would trace back and transfer over the gold, but I can see my lines well enough I think. Here I go. Gonna start painting anything that I see is dark in the darkest spots and then I'm gonna pull it out into any lighter spots. He's got his collar on. Most of his tail is black. Cleo, while you are filling in some of the details on him, I actually wanna pass along a question from one of our online students that's somewhat related. Poppy wants to know when painting colors next to one another in watercolor gouache, do you necessarily need to have one color dry before you paint the color next to it if they're gonna abut one another? Depends on if you want them to blend together or not. If you want a really paint by numbers look where everything's very separated, yes. One should be dry. If your paint is more of a creamy consistency where it doesn't have a tendency to wash so much, you could probably get away with it. There is a lot of time when you wanna use gouache more like you're doing oils or acrylics where you actually have them butt up together and then you kind of scrub at that line in the middle and blend them together. It really depends on the look you want and what technique you feel most comfortable with. If you put the paint next to it and it blends and you go, oh no, dang I ruined it, then you probably shouldn't do it. Or you should practice it more until you get comfortable with and like it. My dog is getting brown. Here's his eyes and his ears are dark. Most of his face is black I think. Half of his forehead is white. Anything that I think is white, I'm just gonna leave it gold for now. He's coming around. His name was Pocky. (chuckles) Little rascal dog. That's kind of it for the dark on him. I think maybe just a little bit more dark in his toes. The pads under his toes are dark but I'm just kind of doing this as a little bit of a shadow color. Right now what we're doing is the technique that you can try and practice using craft paper. If you have a brown paper like the paper that you have on your tables right now or you could go out and buy a nice tone of gray that you like. It could even be green or blue. Anything that's a medium range. Right now we are painting darks and lights on a medium color. We've practiced here, we practiced painting lights on a dark color and we practiced painting darks on a light color a lot. Now we're doing just the darks and just the lights and we're leaving the mediums. Okay Pocky. We've already used the pineapple technique to do the background and now I would say we are using kind of more like a, which one is it? I guess it's more like this. We're just going for finding the darks. We're doing a little bit of that technique. Find all the darks. I'll put shade behind him. I'm gonna say there's a little bit more shadow. Gonna say the sun's coming from this side over here and there's gonna be a little bit more shadow on this side. I'm gonna really color in a shadow in here. Gonna save room for my highlight. I got my big kind of more of a full intensity section and I'm gonna fade it out a little bit. There's a little bit of that reflective light that I'm leaving in there just in case. Just kind of get all these darks on the dark shadowed side and blend them out a little. Cleo, I love the way this is adding that dimension. It's almost referring back to those charts you did earlier where we saw the cube and the sphere and giving them those rounded edges. I wonder, I know this is gonna take awhile to kind of work through. Would it be possible to look at the finished piece and you can kind of walk us through some of the steps that you took to kind of polish it up and finish it off? Yes. Gonna bring out the finished piece in one second. I just wanna show you a little bit of how I would put on the highlights. Sure. Our areas of highlights have been saved. We didn't put any paint on those at all. The highlights are just a tip of his tail, a teeny bit of his nose, maybe just a little bit in his ears. The highlights are hardly anything. Not much at all. Just a little bit on the eye, his star. 'Cause you wanna make sure you don't cover up your medium tones. The highlight on here, it would just be a little bit in there. Try and leave as much of the mediums as you can. If your highlights actually run into your darks, then it's gonna flatten out again. Now as you can see, I forgot to paint the background. As you can see, the color that I chose for our background color in this one, I put just a little bit of yellow and white into the blue. I painted that on the background next. Then you saw as I was filling in here, I was hitting all the dark areas and then hitting all the light areas. If you just take a little bit more time, I was almost there but just take a little more time and really carefully draw in those shapes. It really starts to take form. Here, the last minute, just paint his tongue in pink. That's kind of the neon pink tongue finale. There you go. Then I would do the background next and fill that in. That's kind of how you combine all of these. It seemed a little random maybe when we were doing all these different techniques and trying out how would we apply things. This is how you really bring it all together on a finished piece.

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.  


user 43495d

Cleo does start quite nervous, and not very clear in her explanations. Thanks to the guy asking the questions throughout the class…I guess he was as confused as us in the beginning. BUT…the class does get better!! She gets more confident and does give good examples to take your simple drawing to a colorful piece of art you can sell on products or share on social media. I really enjoyed later lessons. And I always say-if I can get a least ONE good advice or trick – then it was not a waste of my $20.