- Lesson details
Instructor Chris Legaspi shares 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 lesson, Chris utilizes Prismacolor pencils and toned paper in three demonstrations from reference.
- Strathmore Toned Grey Sketchbook
- Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencil – Black
- Prismacolor Colored Pencil – Black
- CarbOthello Pencil – White
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Here we are going to focus on colored pencil on toned paper.
This is probably my favorite sketching material.
I’m going to use my favorite toned paper, which is a toned paper sketchbook that I brought.
We’re going to use colored pencils, and we’re also going to use a white pastel.
That’s one of the beauties and advantages of toned paper is that we can add white.
It’s going to be a lot of fun.
We’re going to create some very fun and dramatic drawings.
If you’re ready to get started let’s begin.
This is probably my favorite thing to draw on.
First, I want to show you the paper.
This is a Strathmore toned gray paper sketchbook.
It’s a prebound sketchbook, and the paper is quite beautiful.
I love it because you can do white.
That’s what we’re going to do.
It’s one of the new things we’re going to do, be able to add white.
You can also do this, if you go to the art store, the Canson toned paper is very common.
That will also work.
Strathmore has toned paper.
You can buy the big sheets.
You can also buy big pads that aren’t sketchbooks.
If you really like toned paper you can get a big pad.
Pretty much, as long as it’s fairly smooth, I like more smooth.
It’s a little bit thicker.
It has some nice weight to it.
It should work.
That’s the paper that I’m going to be using here.
It’s definitely a sketchbook that I recommend.
As for the pencils, these are the exact same as, just like the previous lesson in colored
pencil, we’re going to be starting with the Verithin.
We’re going to most of my work with this guy because Verithin is very light and has
a lot of control.
Then I’m going to add the dark accents and the finishing touches with this guy, the Prismacolor
colored pencil is also black.
This is definitely great for finishing the rendering, going from a good block-in, a good
start, and then refining, refining, refining.
That’s what this pencil is good for.
You can get a lot of different tones.
Finally, Carbothello white is what we’re going to be using for the white.
It’s what I used here in these drawings.
It’s the white.
The white is just great, especially on toned paper.
It makes like a very glowly effect.
That’s what I like about pastel.
If you can’t find it, you can also use Prismacolor white.
It’s really good.
You can also use that.
This doesn’t get as bright.
The temperature is a little blue for my taste.
It’s very blue, has a very cold blue temperature.
This is a little bit warmer, more neutral.
This, as you’ll see, you can put it on and you can actually smudge it around because
it’s pastel, and this is wax pencil.
If you can’t find Carbothello white, definitely go with the Prismacolor white, which works
pretty good, too.
Alright, we’re going to start with a male in side view with a really cool expression.
I’ll probably do two drawings here side-by-side because it’s—
I’ll be working a little bit smaller.
I’ll try to do two drawings here.
Let’s see, what I’m going to do is start with the block-in, the shape placement.
One thing I like about the toned paper, because it’s already mid-toned gray, it already
gives you that half-tone.
Remember, when we were working on the white paper we had the half-tone, we had to address
For this one, we don’t have to.
You’re probably going to see me start spinning soon.
I like to do that.
I like to spin the sketchbook so I get my hand at the right angle.
A lot of times, the shapes are very important to getting the read once you drop in your
shadow, so the shape itself has to be pretty well drawn.
It has to read as to what you’re trying to say.
That’s why I want to make sure my hand is at a comfortable angle
where I can hit that shape.
I’m going to group his hair with the shadow.
It’s not as dark as his shaved hair.
I want to group that with shadow.
It’s not as dark as the other parts of his hair, but it’s, the top part is still dark enough.
Adding a little bit of texture.
His neck wasn’t thick enough.
Now I start to fill in the darks.
I’m almost tempted to leave this paper.
It’s a cool effect when you can leave the darks part of the shadow.
This doesn’t erase that well, especially if you dig in the paper.
In a lot of ways, it’s like a pen; it’s semi-permanent, actually.
Another reason why I like it so much, too, is it forces you to really be thoughtful with
your hard accents.
There are ways—I know a lot of illustrators use electronic erasers, the kind that you
can plug in, and they’re super strong.
They’re like draftsman erasers, the kind that architects used to use.
It’s a really strong eraser that you have to plug in.
Those will erase anything.
They’ll lift off anything.
That’s probably the only way to fully erase colored pencil.
There is a nice highlight happening on this nose.
We definitely want that.
We’re going to use the white for that.
I already know it.
I’m going to put a little bit of tone—let me erase these construction lines.
Put a little bit of tone for a variety of technique.
Notice I’m using the side now.
It looks different from the hatching.
It’s exactly what I want.
You can see this needs to be darker.
Over in the reference you can see that this area is really black because he has black
hair, and it’s in the shadow.
It’s going to go pretty dark.
I’d probably get the Prismacolor now.
That’d be a good time to break it up.
We’re still in this first pass of shadow.
We’re starting to get in some half-tone now.
I just like how it looks.
I want to get a sharper pencil.
You get much better results when your pencil is sharp.
You get much better results when your pencil is sharp.
I’m always sharpening them.
That’s why I have it double-sharpened so you can use it twice before you have to go
back to the sharpener.
If you do it this way, your pencils don’t last very long.
Right now they’re like a buck a piece, not too bad.
Your pencil shouldn’t be lasting too long anyway because you’re
drawing all the time, right?
That’s the point, right?
Okay, so now I know that I’ve reached the limitation of the dark I can get with this.
I’m going to switch to the Prismacolor.
Let me add real quick.
Let me add just a little glaze of half-tone.
What I want to do is make the highlight in his cheek really glow, so I want to surround
with some dark, dark values if I can.
We’re pretty much done here for this first stage.
Now, let me get this guy so the brightest highlight is here.
Typically, the brightest highlight is on the biggest surface closest to the light, the
largest surface closest to the light, so that would be this guy.
Just a little bit on his forehead.
Look at the way you add it.
It’s so cool.
It’s just so bright.
I love it.
You have to be pretty careful, but I’m going to add it right here in this dark area, and
it’s going to really glow.
One thing I like about the pastel is that it goes on top of just about anything.
It doesn’t matter what you put down.
It’ll go on top.
I’d like to finish this rendering.
Notice the nice, long point.
When you look for a sharpener, you want to get a nice, long point like that.
That’s all you really need.
Get the Prismacolor out.
See how it gets dark really, really quickly.
It goes right on top.
That’s all you really need to continue add darks.
You can continue to add highlights.
Look at what you can do with the pencil, too, is what I wanted to show you.
Sometimes I like to smudge it on like that and then take my finger.
It’s better if it’s dry.
Then I sort of smudge it around with your finger.
It creates a soft, lost edge that’s really cool.
Okay, so that’s the end of this demonstration.
If you want to continue to render, build up the darks, add more detail, and refine your
That’s pretty much all you need to do.
Wherever you need a highlight you can just use the pencil as your white highlight.
Let’s move on to the next demonstration.
I’m sure you can already guess where the white pencil will go.
I hope you can guess.
Can you guess where the highlight will be?
It’s what I had in mind.
I’m already thinking of a metaphor.
Do you have a metaphor in mind as you’re watching this?
An idea that I want to convey.
If you’re a little lost at what I mean by metaphor, you can review the first lessons.
The first few lessons we talk about adding a little bit of story briefly, but it’s
covered in detail in the portrait drawing lesson on the library here.
So, not a lot of shadow on her face.
It’s really about the hair, setting up that hair.
I’ll probably use a little bit of dark tone on the outside as well.
Spin my book.
I wanted to get this angle of this jaw.
Same with the angle of the jaw.
It’s much easier when you can—and because it’s a female, it’ll be just a little
Ear is a little high.
That’s what these guidelines are.
I’m trying to find the ear.
We covered that as well in the portrait lesson.
Probably if you’re watching this you’ve already seen it.
A lot of good information in the drawing.
This is definitely more of a companion to that.
The model has a very beautiful, long neck, so I’m going to exaggerate that idea.
That’s one of the western ideals.
Actually, I’m going to do it with this one.
I have an idea.
It might not work.
I have an idea.
What I’m going to do is I’m not going to fill in the shadow.
I’m only going to address the half-tone.
She’s already got a half-tone.
Maybe I can set up the hair.
I’m trying to think of how I can do that.
I’m trying to be careful here.
I know I’m going to use a lot of the pastel for the glow effect.
Actually, I’m pretty much done because there is not much shadow to work with, and the half-tone
is already established because of the toned paper.
That’s a lot of work done, which I love because I get lazy at times.
Now it’s just a matter of bringing out these features.
That eye is not right.
As I get away from the face, my technique is going to be a little bit more crude.
This rougher line technique, hatching.
Let me give a little bit of tone in her cheek.
Her skin is fair skin, too.
She has a little bit of tan.
I might have to mass in some of that shadow.
Let me add the highlights.
We’ll decide from there.
I haven’t decided if I need to mass in the shadow.
What I do is I put a nice wash like this.
I basically put two coats.
We’ll see how that looks in a minute.
Put it one coat like this, and we’ll kind of smudge it around so it gets that nice glowy
It basically lightens the whole area, and then the second coat will, full brightness.
Look how beautiful that glow effect is.
You can only get that with toned paper.
Put some highlights on her face.
I like to get those.
Yeah, we’ll have to fill in the shadow mass.
Highlights on her nose there.
The lower half of her is fairly bright, too.
I’m surprised to see that.
Right here she has like a passage of cheek fat there.
We all do but the way the light is hitting it creates a fairly substantial plane change.
It’s a mini soft-edge highlight.
Notice on the face you can just smudge with your finger to really soften it.
Then I’m going to hit this area one more time.
I don’t like that shape.
It’s a little formless.
I kind of want to group the hair as much as possible.
It does feel like it has some volume right now.
It’s a little bit stuck on.
What I’m going to do is trace some of this tone back into the backside of the hair.
I’m going to take out the Prismacolor and mass in the shadow mass just so that we have
a nice dark value that we can compare it to.
We can complement our nice bright value that we established there.
That’s really all that this drawing needs, is to continue to add your darks.
Take them as far as they can go.
Right now they’re pretty dark.
What I would probably do is frame this hair with some dark to finish the drawing.
Let’s just see what that looks like now.
Probably frame the whole background.
You can even put it in a nice vignette.
That’s kind of what it’s missing is a slightly darker background so that the hair
glows even more.
That would be one way to approach it.
But for sure, as far as the face, rendering the face, it definitely needs a little bit
more attention in the lights, and I would probably do a combination of the Verithin
for that, and the white CarbOthello, the pastel.
As far as starting the process, we’re pretty much done.
That’s a weird mixture there.
Used the wrong tool.
I should have used this guy for the eyes.
What I wanted to do is make her nose highlight feel brighter.
If you surround a highlight by darks, it will feel way brighter.
That’s what I’m trying to do here.
I think it worked a little bit.
There you go.
There it is.
Break the edge.
It could be the last thing as well, at least do the finishing touches like that.
What I like about the pastel, too, is you can kind go on top of it.
You can go on top of it, and it still looks pretty good.
Usually the wax pencil you really can’t go on top of it.
Once it’s down, it’s fairly its own little island and doesn’t like to be bothered.
Alright, that’s the end of this colored pencil demonstration.
Let’s move on to the next example.
It’s a nice simple form, hand grasping a piece of fabric there.
Don’t feel you have to draw heads and figures if you’re practicing rendering.
In fact, I would encourage you to do smaller, simpler forms.
Put a little wobble there.
Wobble is just an extra curve that didn’t need to be there.
It looks better when you can simplify.
If you follow this library here, I’m sure many instructors have
brought up that message many times.
This is no different.
That’s a tough angle.
Cool little knuckle there.
I like that.
I’ll make a note.
I’m going to fill in this tone, the shadow tone.
There is a lot of bounce light here at this knuckle, so I won’t make that so dark.
The entire cloth too, a little half-tone back here.
Half-tone will help set up the highlights, which is coming next.
Even though the paper is already pretty toned, I’d like to set up this light even more,
meaning make it more dramatic by surrounding it with darks.
This whole thing is a light form.
I’m sure I’m going to need the Prismacolor to get these dark darks right here.
These are the little cast shadow forms, and they’ll help to sell the bounce light without
us doing much work.
If I can just make this area darker, the bounce light will read as bounce light because that’s
a more effective way to lighten the shadow, to surround it by darks.
That’s why we do the core shadow the way we do it.
Speaking of core shadow, that wrist is feeling flat.
Cast shadow here.
Occlusion shadow here.
The occlusion shadow is where forms touch.
That’s why the knuckles, when two fingers touch, they have a little bit of a darker
part to them, darker part.
The darkest part of the shadow is the occlusion.
Ready for the colored pencil, the pastel.
The brightest thing is this highlight on her knuckle.
What I’m going to do is just try to do a soft kind of look and then gradate it out.
I’m doing something like this and then feathering it out.
That’s kind of what I’m doing.
I’m doing—I’m lightly touching it and then getting it darker.
It’s like a reverse gradient.
Lightly touching it.
Get darker and darker.
I want it to be fairly soft but not too soft.
I want it to be more of what’s called the specular highlight.
It’s a highlight on a fairly reflective surface.
It makes the skin feel a little bit more oily.
That’s kind of the look I want.
It’s an old Leyendecker, exactly how Leyendecker does it.
J.C. Leyendecker, one of the master illustrators of the Golden Age.
Wherever I need softening, I just hit it, you can just smudge it around with your finger.
You can do the background.
That’s all this drawing really needs besides the dark accents.
Occlusion shadow, occlusion shadow.
There is a nice dark shadow here.
The cast shadow is another cast shadow.
Wherever I see a cast shadow I can pretty much make it as dark as I need to go.
That’s how I would complete the rendering.
Then if you need more control, just bring the Verithin, more control for your half-tones
and light half-tones.
I would leave the light half-tones the paper, but for sure, if you want slightly darker
half-tone, you can use the pencil.
Alright, that’s the end of this demonstration.
Yeah, just probably, you know, bring the values up.
I’d do the same thing for the arm.
The highlights look pretty good, actually.
In fact, I don’t think there is too much that needs to be done.
Probably make this whole sheet dark because it is fairly dark, even the sheet.
That’s the only thing I would do because to me the most interesting thing is the highlights.
I would want to surround this with darks instead of the highlight.
Definitely try this for yourself.
If you can’t find a toned paper sketchbook get the loose sheets.
They’re fairly common.
More art stores will carry them.
It’s a lot of fun to draw.
If you can’t find this pencil, make sure you can get the white.
The white Prismacolor would be great.
As long as you’re practicing on toned paper and have the ability to add white, I think
it’s a good exercise.
Hello, welcome back.
I hope you enjoyed the demonstrations.
The technique can be a lot of fun, as you can see.
You can do a lot.
I would encourage you to practice on many different subject matters.
You can follow along at home and try the reference you saw here, or you set up simple still lifes.
I think that’s great practice as well.
You can see that you can do so much with the white pastel and also with the black.
You can get very, very dark.
Because the paper is already toned, it creates a lot of flexibility for you to render half-tones.
You can use either the Verithin or the white pastel.
So, practice as much as possible.
If you don’t have the sketchbook, definitely try the loose paper.
As long as you have the ability to add white, it’ll give you an idea of what it feels
like, and I think it’s a really great exercise, and it’ll definitely help you as well when
you go back to drawing on white paper or back to white canvas if you’re painting.
That’s the end of this lesson.
I hope to see you in the next lesson.
Until next time, take care.