Skip to main content

Color Style #6: Add Color with Your Background

Lesson 20 from: How to Draw

Cleo Papanikolas

Color Style #6: Add Color with Your Background

Lesson 20 from: How to Draw

Cleo Papanikolas

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

20. Color Style #6: Add Color with Your Background

Lesson Info

Color Style #6: Add Color with Your Background

this one. There's really not a lot of technique to it, but I just wanted to give you an idea that you can mix more striking pencil drawing with your watercolor or with your washes, because from here, we've just been doing this tiny little sketch and maybe the pen has been the dominant thing. Or maybe the color has been the dominant thing. But you can actually do a pencil drawing with just a tiny bit of color or, in our case, some bright color. But, um, so, as you can see, I had my sketch and I did just like in our sketching class, just gonna finish drawing in my blueberries just a little bit. So I'm I'm using watercolor paper and it's uncoated, and I'm just drawing it as I would have done a regular pencil sketch, finished drawing that in and then just to give you the idea of again looking at the negative space before we were looking at negative colors, um, the highlights were were different when we were were trying to paint in the highlights instead of the shadows here, we're gonna pai...

nt in the background and not the object itself. So maybe That's just what you need when you're looking at it like I really like my sketch. I kind of don't want to ruin it, but I kind of want to make it colorful. Um, this also tells you you don't have to be quite so literal when you're thinking about how to apply color, so blueberries are blue, but you don't have to paint the blueberries blue. You can paint the background blue, so I just mix up a nice blue color and just paint around it. And this it's kind of thinking much more figurative about how to apply color are not be quite so literal with where you place it and what color you make things. The last one we did, it was like, Let's be really straightforward. Let's put the color on on the little section that is provided for that color. This one we're gonna play paint blew. Everyone's gonna think of blueberries, but it's not gonna be on the blueberry. So basically, that's what you dio just paint the background in. And as you can see, you end up with something that looks like that you can go in a little bit more with your pencil. Go over the blue, um, for a shadow if you want, But it kind of gives you a big pop of blue without having to be so literal about how to paint a blueberry. Another way of just kind of shaking up your brain and breaking out of the box on where to put the color.

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