The Colored Pencil Course – Value and the Underpainting

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“The Colored Pencil Course” is designed to guide absolute beginners and intermediate artists to a level of producing professional quality colored pencil drawings through concise and “easy to digest” modules that include HD videos and Ebooks.

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Description: A look at the importance of value in a colored pencil drawing and how an underpainting can help to ensure that a full range of value is achieved.

Suggested Materials: Colored Pencils (Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils are used but any brand is fine), Bristol paper, Turpeniod or other thinning agent, and a nylon brush.

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Next Module: Using Color Theory in Drawings

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Every demo above is included (and more not pictured.)

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Comments

The Colored Pencil Course – Value and the Underpainting — 33 Comments

  1. In the example, dark brown was used as the under painting color. Is dark brown always used for the under painting color? If not, how do you know which color to use?

    Thanks,
    Chris

  2. Hi Chris!

    The color you choose for an underpainting will affect the color temperature of the finished drawing/painting. A warm Dark Umber was chosen for this reason. For a cooler base, Indigo Blue may be nice.

  3. I just bought my membership yesterday, and I am loving it. I already had Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils, and I wanted to learn the techniques to produce a beautiful drawing. Everything layered just great, and my paint thinner worked liked it should. I done this on Strathmore Sketch paper. I have Bristol paper, but I didnt want to use it just in case I messed up. Now I wished I had done it on Bristol paper, but I am very happy with the results. Thank you Matt!

  4. I only have prismacolor pencils and doubt i be getting chromo pencils anytime soon can the same effect be done with just regular color pencils?

  5. Hello! I bought my membership some days ago. Some questions – I have Koh-I-Noor Polycolours, Derwent Coloursoft and Artist. Which ones are best to use to follow lessons and workshops? Tried with Koh-I-Noor and Canson XL Sketch – the result was fine.

  6. Hello Matt, thank you so much for a great lesson. I have always heard about underpainting but never really understood it, this has been a great eye opener.

  7. I was trying to buy some watercolor pencils from my “real life” art teacher about a year back but he didn’t have any. Instead, he told me to use my Koh-I-Noor Progresso Woodless Colored Pencils (which I bought for a class; I’m assuming they are wax-based) and said that I could “make them work like watercolor pencils” with a nylon brush and rubbing alcohol that’s over 80% alcohol. Basically, it’s your Turpeniod trick. Just passing on a tip.

    • Hi Patricia,

      The same process would not produce similar results with watercolor pencils. The burnishing works because of the binder in the colored pencils, which is different from the binder found in watercolor pencils.

  8. Thanks this is very helpful. For the individual with the Koi-Nor polychrome pencils they are oil based like the Faber-Castell but at a lower price point. I have had issues with Prismacolore quality in recent years and have stopped using them

  9. Thank you Matt for another very informative lesson.
    Donna – I too have found the quality of the Prismacolor has deteriorated so much that I won’t buy them any more. You can’t create a colored pencil piece if you can’t sharpen the pencils.

  10. Questions about the thinner… What is the best way to clean a brush that has Terpenoid in the bristles? (Soap and water?) Should we be careful about cleaning between applications to very different areas of color? Will dipping back into my little jar transport a lot of pigment to the jar? (I’m using a 1 oz jar for the thinner.)

    Thanks very much. Enjoying color pencils for the first time in my life.

    • Hi Cynthia,

      You can clean the brush with soap and water just as you normally would. Sometimes, dissolved color can still stay on the brush so wiping the brush with a paper towel between applications is not a bad idea. “Re-dipping” shouldn’t contaminate the thinner.

  11. Great Lesson . . . I am new to colored pencils but I have done underpainting with watercolors. The process seemed to produce exceptional results. I had the same question about the thinner. I have Prismacolor and they worked fine but I have recently invested in a few of the Polychromos and they seemed to work much better especially with the thinner. Their price is a bit more, but they seem to be worth it.

  12. Morning Matt, The 3 apples had a great time working in the underpainting, first time used a paper stock a bit to course second time a charm, turpenoid went well. Will use this approach in my next illustration “LIKE” the technique. Thanks again for the detail instructions.gerry@bequiadesign biz. …moving positively forward.

  13. Hi Mat purchased my course to day very impressed and looking forward to getting started. I have used oil paint for some time but only started using pencils reciently and find them very therapeutic.

  14. Whoa…I thought cp was a light to dark layering sequence. How did you manage to put the lighter apple colors over that brown(darker)underpainting? I thought the only surface to allow light over dark was the suaided matt board.Please clarify. I am teaching cp and this is a total surprize. Thanks,

    • Hi Georgia,

      There are many ways colored pencils can be applied. Some folks prefer dealing with the values right from the start. You will never be able to layer pure white over dark applications, but you can preserve these areas in the early stages of the drawing and address the areas that you know will be dark. In this module, the lighter areas are preserved during the underpainting process.

  15. Can’t wait to try this one! Does it matter if I am using a combo of pencils…Prismacolor, Faber-Castelli and Royal? I could feel the difference in application when I was laying down Prismacolor on the pepper lesson, but I’m wondering if the different binders (wax vs. oil) will affect the burnishing.

  16. hi Matt, excellent art work (and excellent tuition by the way) I know this is a method that takes a lot of time, but when we say a lot how long do we mean. For example, how long would it take you to create the same picture from start to finish if you didn’t have to make the video at the same time. sorry if someone already asked this.

  17. Hi Matt,

    I bought the membership last week and I am totally loving this. Thanks for your wonderful presentation 🙂

    I always could draw/sketch anything using a pencil, however, when it comes to coloring and shading, I find it very challenging and frustrating to create the illusion of form. I tried the apples yesterday and it came out alright. I think I need a lot of practice.

    I’d love to learn to color animals, birds and landscapes. What kind of papers should I choose? Any recommendations please.

    Looking forward for the courses.

    • Hi Anish,

      Thanks! I would suggest toned papers for sure – but white also works if you want the background to be white. You’ll need to experiment to find the surface texture that works best for you. Some folks like smoother surfaces like Bristol, while others prefer heavier textures like pastel paper.

  18. I am beginning to use color pencils and I keep discovering new varieties. At first I thought there were only watercolor color pencils, then, as I watch the videos I come to understand that there are several kinds. Still so much to learn. Thank you, the videos are great.

  19. Hi Matt i just joined yesterday and loving it. Thank you when i was 15ys old, i used to do oil paint but have never had any formal training. i am now 55yrs old and am keen to get back into it. For now i just used standard colour pencils and turned out okay but obviously not prefect. i still have to buy other tools you explained.
    My question is; Is there a way you can view our paintings and comment on it?

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