The Colored Pencil Course – Composition and Still Life

You must be logged in to access content on this page.


Learn More About This Course


“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.


Description: A look at a few compositional devices and how they can be applied in developing and choosing an arrangement for a drawing. Part one of a still life drawing demonstration.

Suggested Materials: Colored Pencils (Prismacolor pencils are used but any brand is fine), Bristol paper, and a colorless blender.

Photo Reference

Next Module: Reflection and Transparency


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


Join today and get this course as well as the other great courses, weekly Live Lessons, and lesson plans.



The Colored Pencil Course – Composition and Still Life — 16 Comments

  1. In setting the reference photo up to copy, I find I go from regular size to super huge. Is there any way to adjust the size of the image
    to copy. Thanks, Doug

  2. Matt,
    i have not had any probs.printing out the “photo references” however i have a ???
    1. in any of these modules,there is no size mentioned….what size are we suppose to make this 2 wine bottles/grapes
    color drawing ?


    • Hi Raquel,

      We all have different sizes in which we like to work. Some folks feel more comfortable working larger, while some like to keep their drawings smaller. I like to work small with most mediums that require precision and time, like colored pencils. This particular drawing is very small (6″ by 8″ ish). This size allows me to work enough detail in the drawing without becoming overwhelmed. That being said, some artist will naturally feel more comfortable working a bit larger so that details are a bit easier to achieve. So, it’s entirely up to you as to what size you decide to make your drawing.

  3. love watching you work, it’s like magic one minute nothing is there and then poof a drawing in front of our eyes i know i don’t have natural talent for this but i have always said anyone can do anything in life,however
    how well its done weeellll that’s another story thank you so much

  4. Hello,

    I tried this exercise with the paper Bristol Smooth because I did not know the Vellum.
    I am French and you can find other brands of paper more easily in my country.
    On the other hand I discover the Bristol and I like it.
    I find that the result of my drawing is very correct on the smooth.
    Is there a real difference between these two papers?

    • Bristol Smooth is really too smooth to get many layers on colored pencil. Bristol vellum is better. Vellum is still smoother than hot pressed paper with medium tooth. Many people love hot pressed paper for colored pencil because you can add many layers of pencil for rich color. Cold pressed paper has lots of tooth (it is rough and better for watercolor), so very hard to fill the white valleys in the paper with color.

      Each paper behaves a bit differently. Smoother paper allows sharp detail, but fewer layers. A bit more tooth allows more layers and richer colors.

  5. Wow, Matt!

    The apples in Lesson 4 were about where my skills brought me prior to purchasing this course. But I was so surprised how much this lesson (6 & 7) improved my drawings. The wine bottles and corks were a big step up for me–my drawing really looks great, if I may say so. I hadn’t used Bristol velum before. In fact, I may have been using mostly cold press paper (in a bound journal) that required several layers with OMS to fill the tooth. It didn’t allow the sharp details that the Bristol velum gives (I can even make out the miniature lettering on the label of my drawing!). I had tried some areas of complementary underpainting before, but not the technique you showed.

    Thank you for this course. It has proven to be just the boost my colored pencil art technique needed to get to the next level from a place where I was stuck. I have “peeked” ahead and can’t wait to draw the dog, landscape, and portrait!


Lesson Discussion