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Color Style #4: Chalkboard Technique

Lesson 18 from: How to Draw

Cleo Papanikolas

Color Style #4: Chalkboard Technique

Lesson 18 from: How to Draw

Cleo Papanikolas

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Lesson Info

18. Color Style #4: Chalkboard Technique

Lesson Info

Color Style #4: Chalkboard Technique

our next one is a chalkboard drawing. So this is a really great technique to practice because it gets you thinking in a completely different way about what you're drawing. So far, everything that we have been drawing, we've been taking a dark colored pen or pencil or paintbrush and looking for the shadows and painting the shadows when this one were only painting the highlight This Okay, so I started out. And if I want to paint something that looks like a chalkboard, I'm just gonna paint my paperback black. Now you could use chalk board paint. I probably wouldn't use an oil based chalkboard paint if I'm painting with watercolor or wash anything Water based. I'm gonna look for something that's water base. And that is, um, doesn't have too much binder in it, so it's not shiny when you're doing chalkboard, you want something that's very, very mad. So it has a lot of tooth to it, so the chalk will really stick to it. And basically I just took my black paint. This is when you use black and I...

watered. It took my black paint. I watered it down just a bit, and I just painted the thing black, so I did, too. And on this one, you could dio a couple coats if you want. If that seems like it's a little transparent, but usually black is just really thick and dark. Um, here you can see I taped off the edges with washi tape. Um, gives it a little more of a chalkboard. Look, but you don't have Teoh. Okay? Now see what's happened to paint water. Clear that, I ask, would there be a benefit to using chalk board paint instead of the wash price? Okay, Yeah, This squash is pretty expensive because it's made for doing little things this big, but if you're gonna do something bigger, I definitely wouldn't use it. I'd buy chalkboard paint something that's like a chalkboards brake hand that's gonna be oil base or some kind of solvent based. And I'm guessing your watercolors you're not going to stick with it very well. In this case, we're gonna use a colored pencil, so it would probably stick to that. But if you try and do like a you could do chalkboard look in white as well, and that looks pretty neat. And then since we're using wash. It's gonna lift, and it's gonna mix with that. And you're going to get some cool blend E c. Now, I have a great painter because the bottom one just lifted and it starts to look really cool. And it has all these different undulating shadows in there and washing looks. We're going to just do this with a colored pencil to really give you a good idea of how to look for the light. Um, can I change my water? Is there? Sure. I think if I just dump in this bucket totally fine. Yeah. Great. Thanks. Okay, cause I'm not going to use that for right now. So what do you do is you have a picture? You probably You all have your picture on here, and you're gonna trace it onto your tracing paper. I'm doing mine a little larger, and then we're gonna transfer it. Remember how we transferred our drawings with the several transfer paper in Black Wolf? We did black on here. It wouldn't really show up with it. So we are going to use the white one, and you can see it has a powdery coating on one side, and then you'll just have to feel where it is, I guess. And I'm going Teoh, make it a little bit easier Told by cutting it down. Thank you. Now, this stuff there's a lot more powdering. It comes off more quickly than the graphite. So we're going to get our hardest pencil and we're gonna get it really sharp. So you take that down the little bit of Washington, try and find the powdery side and put that face down on the black and transfer your drawing on there. Clear quick. Question. If someone was doing this at home, could they also do this on a piece of black paper versus? Yes. Painting it black? Yes, for sure. You could do it on black paper. And it's also really fun to do it on like a medium tone. Like a craft paper like that. Great. On the on the paint. It gives it more of a chalkboard. Look, but for sure for an exercise, if you're just working on finding highlights, black paper is great. Okay, so I did just a few lines, so I'm gonna peak, see if I've got my transfer paper facing the right side up. Yep. Do okay? How's it looking? Oh, this is gonna be fun to reveal it. This is looking very dramatic. Okay? And this is the lemon flavour. Do we have them in? You do have a lemon? I would say most of the time when you see chalkboard art. Um, a lot of times it starts with a transfer of some kind. It's just a little bit harder to straight out. Draw on black for some reason. Okay, There you go. So that comes out much more dramatic than the graphite one, doesn't it? It's very contrast. E very fun. And you said that there, Cyril transfer paper comes in a variety of colors and when would you use some of those comes in like blue and yellow and red. I used the graphite most, um, the white. Of course. You use on a dark color. The blue. I think the blue originally was for non photo blue. But with all the digital going on now, I don't know if that really counts, but all use it if I'm painting something blue and I don't want to show up, The yellow is a really good one. If you're doing something on white paper and you just want barely a hint of a line. Um, and like if I'm doing a watercolor transfer, I'll see that graphite through the watercolor cause it's transparent eso I might use yellow there and it. Since it's very powdery, it will probably erase better than the graphite to the graphite based one that you used earlier. Is the white graphite based a swell? It just says wax free pigment. Think OK, so I'm I'm guessing that graphite is always dark gray pencil color. Um, so now when we're looking at this one, we're not looking for the shadows. Because if I took this white pencil and I looked at the shadows and drew them all in dark, I would draw an X ray, which is cool. But I just want to try and draw the highlights in white straight forward this time, and it kind of gets your mind a little twist in your mind. This is a really good exercise toe. Look at things differently. It's like you're looking at the positive and the negative shapes, and you're looking at the light. Highlights in the shadows differently is before I would just kind of circle the highlights and now I go straight in and draw the highlights. So just a little bit on the lemon squint your eyes. What's the brightest thing that you see there? These these drawings, this'll drawing. So it's really hard to tell on this because it's tiny. Um, I'll just put this here for a second. This is a a bigger version. And this picture is also in your materials where you downloaded all the dog pictures and, um, and the thing that you're drawing on right now, the blue line drawing. So it might be a little easier to see on this than on this creek, Lee one. But squint your eyes. Look at that. What's the brightest thing you see? So fill that in first. Okay? I'm gonna avoid the letters for a moment. So we just knock out some of these larger light areas, and I'm just starting with a very light, um, pressure. And then you can come back in after you've got this sort of very light pressure in places. Make sure you save out the blacks. If there's anything deep in the shadows in here, I'm not going to touch it. Okay. Now, when you get kind of all over. Squint again and find the lightest of the lights and do that heavier. See, this looks pretty light up here. Just try and get as much for ideas you can with the light of strokes and the heaviest strokes. Okay, Now there's a couple of ways you can come to when you have these little areas to deal with. Just gonna do a light one over here too. Two ways. One, you can kind of fake it. And you can go with the lines that the transfer paper has made. Just kind of draw around. I'm a little bit so you're saving dark areas because you just drew light. And this is dark on your drawing. So here, I'm kind of just fudging it a little and filling in around and that works for things that are kind of unspecific decorations. Because you could make him up however you want and clear. Could you reiterate for us when you talk about looking at that image and squinting to see the highlights? What do you mean by that? Um, I when you squint your eyes, you kind of things get blurred out. And the definition between the darks and lights. It seems like it just gets more basic at basic black and white, as opposed to seeing all the different little crinkles of the paper and some you can kind of to see the bigger shapes because things they're blurrier. Um, it's it's harder to tell with a yellow and white tiny candy. But if you're looking at a larger object like say, this trophy and you squint down, you can really see there's like a big dark shadow on one side and a big light section on the other side. Um, okay, so here is where technique went. Number one is just kind of blocking out around this white line and saving it technique Number two is there's no way I'm going to be able to draw around that way line. So what I'm gonna do is I'm just going to erase it, because I can write those letters pretty well myself. And this stuff on race is pretty well, you're going to notice that the transfer paper erases a lot better than the colored pencil does. Now I'm gonna take our dark pencil, and I'm just gonna write it again, myself. It kind of it kind of shows up is a little bit shiny, but it's still dark. What? That's an eye sunny. And then now that my line is dark, I could go in around it much more easily. The's color pencils get dull really fast to notice when I'm you See me kind of picking it up. I'm twisting the pencil, so I'm trying to find a sharper place, and I'll do that until I feel like I've worn out all the edges and then I'll go sharpen it. So here's a sample that I spent a little more time on, and it really got into the detail little bit more. You can see that I really left the darks for the writing and for the lemon. And then I tried to get a little bit of undulation and highlights and shadows within my whites there and then on my shadow noticed. Usually the darkest thing is gonna be closest to the, um, candy. But since I'm not drawing with dark, I started at the lightest side and drew towards it that way and left it. These were doing opposites on this one, so I really love that technique, and it's great to just practice it a lot. If you've been drawing a lot in a pencil, switch things up, go to drawing the opposite.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Drawing Tools & Materials List
Color Tools & Materials List
Candy Drawing
Lightbox Drawing Photos

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Line Quality
Sharks Drawing

Ratings and Reviews

Lt. Cmnd. Data

This fun course is perfect for the beginner that wants to learn how to draw with pencil. Cleo had lots of great tips and techniques that are easy to employ and you can get started with whatever supplies you have around the house (back of the envelope and a #2 pencil..). It is great to have more fuel for my creative habit!


This class is fantastic for getting you off and running for a daily practice of drawing and DIY exhibition. The range of techniques that Cleo goes over are easy to follow and enable you to create something that has potential! I am inspired to apply what I have learn in this class right away. I primarily work in the digital space, so spending time developing analog skills with an experienced instructor has been so valuable for me and my work. And as a side note, I loved focusing on everyday things (keys, scissors, etc.) and bringing out the character and beauty of those objects in our drawings.


I thought this course was great! Cleo broke down the fundamentals of drawing in a way that was easy to understand. I was particularly impressed by the different tracing paper techniques and using the pencil as a measuring tool. After taking this class I can now look at drawings and identify the techniques that were used to accomplish them and that's an awesome feeling :)

Student Work