- Lesson details
In this series, instructor Chris Legaspi will share with you various ways to render your drawings, using a variety of different materials. Chris uses his approachable, thorough teaching style to make the often-intimidating rendering stage accessible to artists of all levels. In this sixth lesson of the series, Chris uses the Prismacolor Verithin and Premiere pencils to demonstrate various cross-hatching and tonal mark-making techniques. Chris will demonstrate using photo reference of a female portrait, standing male, and a male hand– all of which you can find attached to this page.
- Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencil – Black
- Prismacolor Colored Pencil – Black
- Seth Cole Drawing Paper
- Electric Pencil Sharpener
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Welcome to this lesson on rendering techniques.
This is the 6th lesson in the series.
Here we are going to focus on colored pencil.
Today I’m going to show you my favorite drawing pencil, and I’m going to show you
a couple of different ways to use it.
Then we’re going to go through three demonstrations so that you’ll see how I approach the start
of the rendering process.
I’m also going to review a little bit on the previous lessons, some of the material
we talked about, and also discuss more into the techniques for rendering edges and form.
So, if you’re ready to get started, let’s begin.
Today we are going to be using colored pencil, and we’re specifically going to be using
mostly Verithin by Prismacolor.
What Verithin is, is they are sort of a colored pencils, but it’s harder.
It’s harder so you get a lot of control.
This is probably my favorite pencil right now.
I’m obsessed with these things at the moment.
You get so much control, and I’ll show you in the demonstration.
This is the Prismacolor Premier, just their black colored pencil.
This is also black.
What I like about this one is you can get more variety of edges, as you’ll see in
a minute, and it goes darker.
Let’s say in terms of graphite this might be an HB, so this would be the 6B, you know
what I mean?
This one can’t get dark, but you have a lot of control so lights and half-tones will
This one can get dark, and you also have a lot of control with it too, but I just like
this one because it’s harder.
The actual material is harder, the waxy material is harder so it’s really nice.
It produces very light and subtle marks, which I love.
And to erase, I’ve got the Mars plastic eraser.
It’s the only thing that will erase colored pencil.
As for paper, any white paper will do.
Many illustrators that use these professionally use Bristol.
Right now I have this ordinary Tesco paper, I believe, just ordinary copy paper.
Also, the final two I want to show, which is this guy, which is a pencil sharpener.
You definitely need to have one.
In order to do these techniques, you need a very sharp lead.
That’s what the pencil sharpener is for.
This is a Foray.
I got it at the office store.
Panasonic makes a good portable one too.
Alright, let me show you first the marks we can get with this.
Colored pencil is kind of cool.
It’s kind of a blend between charcoal pencil and the charcoal itself, the charcoal stick
like we saw in previous lessons.
We can get really nice hatching, really tight control.
With hatching you can do text free marking.
You can also get some of the blending side marks, which I rarely use.
What I do is I do 80% of the drawing with hatching, and then at the end maybe I’ll
do the last 20% with tonal marks, which will create variety.
Remember, we always want three techniques, at least three techniques.
It makes your shading look more sophisticated.
I also got this guy, and this guy can get really black, so this will be my dark accent.
You see how dark that can get, really nice and dark.
Also, with this you can use the point, and as the point gets faded you can do nice gradations.
It’s really the beautiful thing about colored pencil.
You can get beautiful gradations.
This is the tool for gradations, in my opinion.
You can lay it flat, get an even softer look.
You can also do hatching gradations as well.
You can see this one is not as dark.
This one gets nice and dark.
I do most of the work with this, and then I’ll use the Prismacolor to do the finish.
Just like before, you always want to start with an idea, do a good construction.
The process is the same, always the same even though we’re using this new medium.
What I like about the Verithin is its ability to get beautiful half tones.
So much control.
It’s a perfect tool for people like me who like to hatch
more line-based drawing versus tonal based.
Notice I’m drawing very, very light, so forgive me if you can’t see it on the screen.
I pretty much won’t go this dark.
A lot of times what I do is I’ll bring it into Photoshop, actually, and use the tools
in Photoshop to increase the contrast.
It’s the exact same approach as using a copy machine.
This pencil is a very popular tool among illustrators.
The illustrators that I studied with here, they all use the Verithin
and the Prismacolor in this way.
I’ll often start a drawing with fairly full value, but then to get the extra punch they’ll
use the copy machine.
But now, with Photoshop and more modern tools, it’s much more simple to do, or it’s another
way to do it.
Of course, the advantage with the copy machine is that you have the original.
This tool is great if you’re a little bit illustrative-leaning.
I think you’ll enjoy it.
It comes in different colors too.
I just like sketching with black, obviously.
I forgot to start with a gesture in the neck there.
It can be dangerous.
I almost lost my drawing a little bit.
Okay, now let’s fill in the shadow mass.
That’s pretty much it, right there, for our little study.
What I can do now is start to transition at the core shadow.
Soon I’ll need the Prismacolor black especially for the eyes, the eyelash and the shadow.
And then, finally, I think a little bit of half tone will be good so I know that the
highlight is going to be here and here.
I just put that there to remind myself that when I start laying down the half tone I’ve
got to be careful with those areas.
It’s also a stylistic thing.
Also, I like to go against the form if I’m doing the half tone the form is pretty much
In this case I’m going to go totally against it, or in this case, horizontal.
Put a nice wash in there.
Then let me call out my eraser.
Then, finally, pick out a little bit of these highlights.
I’m not going to go all the way with the colored pencil.
I don’t need to go too black with this one.
I think the values are pretty strong.
I just need enough halftone to get a little bit more of a form read.
It still felt a little flat.
This is what I like about the Verithin.
It just gives you so much control to do that.
I think we’re at a good stopping point here.
Yeah, we’re at a good stopping point.
I was able to call out this eye.
Get some of the darks in there.
It can be a little dark in the nose.
If I wanted to finish I would probably start going to black.
That would be the next step; figure out how dark I’m going to go.
We already know the paper is going to be the light.
For this example, we’re using the paper for the light so that way in order for me
to complete it I’ll just have to start punching the darks.
I’ll show you what that would look like.
Probably, let’s say the eye in shadow there.
That’s one place to start.
That would be here, eyelashes.
Then this shadow here.
I would go a little bit darker here.
Now, with that contrast we’re able to see more clearly.
That’s how I would continue this drawing just to build up the value.
That comes slowly especially if you’re using pencils.
There is only one way to build value, very slowly.
Alright, let’s move on to the next example.
Cool light and shadow pattern.
I’m only going to focus on the torso here.
It’s a beautiful torso.
I want to spend some time on those forms.
Those forms are so cool.
If you’re following along at home, feel free to draw the whole figure, of course.
Very interesting figure, too.
This is more of a rhythmic blocking there.
Now I’m cleaning up my lay-in, making sure that the shapes will read correctly.
I’m going to give myself some guidelines, a little bit of construction so that will
I plan the shadow it’ll fall correctly on the correct form.
I’m ready to start separating the shapes.
It took a while to get that drawing.
There are a lot of interesting small shapes and details.
A lot of times I spend some time thinking, okay, what’s important?
What can be left out?
Remember, one of the ways we can become not just more efficient, but create better pictures
so we can learn to simplify so that we can leave out things that aren’t really essential.
That makes our drawings much more compelling, of course.
There is a lot of noise here.
It’s all fascinating noise.
Fascinating, interesting shades.
Beautiful, small shadow shapes.
I hope if you get to draw from life that wherever you go the light looks this good.
Clean up my construction a little bit.
It’s a little bit noisy.
I like to preserve the white of the paper as much as possible so that way it makes the
highlight really, really bright.
That’s one of the ways to get better contrast when you’re drawing on a white paper.
This one is pretty bright too, especially on brighter paper.
Just keep the drawings as clean as possible and be very efficient with the marks.
Alright, fill in the tone.
I typically spin my paper when I’m at home when I do this stage.
And then let’s see if we can address some of the core shadow, but we’re done with
this early sketch block-in.
It’s just time to address the core shadow now.
Make it turn.
One technique I like is that you have a core shadow here what you can do is when you make
marks you want to go along the core shadow.
You want to kind of go in the zig zag form like that.
You want to go both ways.
You want to go zigzag into the light and then zig zag into the shadow.
Really what it is is a corner.
It’s a corner so there is light here.
Here is your shadow.
Here is your core shadow.
You need to add some tone so that the core shadow starts to roll and transition into
the shadow like that.
Of course, it rolls and transitions into the light.
You want to go both ways.
Here I’m kind of doing a line technique for the half tone, which is cool.
You can do that in a male and kind of get away with it, especially like a muscular male.
See how I start to go against the form now?
Pencils are dull.
Okay, we’re pretty much done.
I’m going to punch in a few of the contours.
The next step to do, just like before, if you want to continue this drawing, continue
the rendering, you know, find the darkest area and add your black for the focal point.
Right now I know his hair is not a focal point, but I could probably sink the whole drawing
into a black or a dark zone and just bring up the value slowly and then refine the edges.
It’s all rendering is.
Refining values, refining edges.
Part of that is establishing your full value range.
How dark are you going to go?
If you’re doing this for more of an illustrative capacity.
I would definitely do illustrator techniques, which is use the computer or the photo copier.
A lot of times in a professional setting you just don’t have time to do this.
We’ve got to get these things done.
That’s the purpose behind that.
Alright, let’s move on to the next demonstration.
Let me do a quick bucket.
There is a nice gesture here.
If you follow the arm all the way to the finger it creates a beautiful gesture.
Now I’ve got to know exactly how big this thing will be, so it’s about there.
Forget the wrist.
Shadow right there.
Measuring with my hand the alignment of this knuckle.
That’s what you saw there.
Let me do it again.
Just like life drawing technique.
Extend your arms straight up.
It’s not too much shadow in this hand, but it’s okay.
We can get nice half tones with the Verithin.
A lot of cool details there.
A lot of times with this medium you can even get away with not feeling in the shadow as
long as you do the core shadow and give it some texture.
That’s kind of what I’m doing here.
I’ll explain in a moment what I’m doing.
It’s working for this because we have a male.
He’s an older male.
I think I know this model.
I believe he is in his 60s.
His hands have wrinkles and fine details that I can exploit here or show off with the pencil.
Okay, what I did here is you saw this way the core shadow, see how it’s a little bit
Another way to do it, and the finger is a perfect example.
A finger is basically a cylinder.
This works actually better with weird forms.
Do your line work like this.
See how my texturing, the core shadow.
It’s exactly like this idea and then smooth gradation, but instead of going to a gradation
I’m using all line.
It creates a nice idea of texture.
All the texture occurs anyway at the halftone.
Same with value.
You can continue to do this too.
Even when you’re taking it to a finish if you want a more textured look.
But you may not want that.
For this example, it works great.
Let me just drop in the core shadow.
I’m going to drop it in pretty texturally.
Add in a little bit of half tone.
Probably the highlight will go here.
The highlight will be on each individual finger because it’s a cylinder form.
That’s probably where the highlight will go.
The palm is sort of like a brick.
It’s more like a thick piece of toast kind of form.
It’s kind of what I’d imagine the hand to be.
You leave a little there.
Probably if I wanted to continue this rendering.
All you really need is to add detail like the veins and other fine wrinkles.
I would pick an area first, so pick an area like this knuckle and say, you know, this
knuckle will be the focal point of my hand drawing.
Make that special.
Just like when you do a figure you want to do the head first, establish the head.
Pick one area that you’re going to take to a high level.
Just like when you do a head you kind of want to do the eye or areas around the eye.
Typically, these are just the default natural focal point, and then you can also add a value
It’s pretty much it, right there.
Now that I added the half tone, the shadow is not dark enough because I have to reinforce
the shadow to create that separation.
Remember, we want separation more than anything because we need to know
what is light, what is shadow.
Be very, very clear.
The more we can do that with value, push the values further apart, the better.
Of course, there is a time when you—this one is getting dull.
There is a time and a place when you need to—when it’s sharp you get really cool marks.
Much better marks.
There is a time and a place to do that.
This is definitely one opportunity to do that.
Alright, that’s the end of this demonstration and that’s the end of this set right here.
Let me just quickly look over the other drawings.
As you can see, Verithin doesn’t get very dark, so that’s good.
You can build up the values slowly.
Once you add the colored pencil, the Prismacolor colored pencil then you’re able to go to
black and get your full value range.
Then I would go back to this, go back with this to render the half tones and the lights.
Could you get much more subtle.
It’s a very versatile tool.
Okay, that’s the end of this demonstration.
Hope to see you in the next video.
So, until then, take care.
I hope you enjoyed the demonstration.
We covered a couple of different things using the colored pencil a couple of different ways
to use two pencils.
One, the Verithin with more control and the Prismacolor to get the rich blacks that we need.
Because the paper is so bright we want to use the paper as our highlight, sort of to
reserve the brightness of the paper.
The exact process is the same as the previous lessons, starting with the lay-in, getting
a good drawing, separating light and shadow and then massing in the value and then rendering
That’s really all that would be needed is to just continue to refine until it looks
right until the values look right.
If you’re following along at home and you like the images, definitely follow along and
use those images for reference, for homework.
If you have your own images as well that will work.
You can also do this from life.
I often draw from life at the coffee shop.
There are some great stills with a lot of really great lighting so it’ll be great
That’s the end of this lesson.
I hope you enjoyed it.
I hope to you in the next lesson.
Until next time, take care.