The Colored Pencil Course: Landscape Drawing - Part 2

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Lesson Description

A look at drawing the landscape using colored pencils on textured and toned paper. Part 2. An ordered approach is suggested for ensuring the illusion of depth. The drawing that was started in Module 11 is completed by developing the middle ground and the foreground. The trees and grasses in the foreground are completed.

Lesson Materials

Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper, Prismacolor colored pencils, colorless blender, graphite pencil.

Lesson Resources

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Reference Image

Lesson Discussion

  1. Are you planning a tutorial on house portraits in colored pencil? I know you did one in pen and ink but I don’t see many examples of houses in cp. I am interested in attempting to draw my house and would like to use cp. My cp teachers lean more towards animal portraits.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. As a beginner, this module (I have completed the earlier modules)has been very challenging and also very instructive. I don’t expect my results to be like those of more advanced students, and certainly not as good as the demonstration lesson. But I will ask one question, which is “has anyone found a way to render skies smoothly?”. No matter what I try, sharpest pencil points, repeated layering and blending, my skies are always irregular, especially in the parts requiring more pigmane, and especially in blue areas. Skies either turn out to show quite a bit of the paper’s tooth (always a problem with me, but especially in skiesw) or with repeated burnishing the skies turn out with that waxy overlay, and hints of irregular pigment. I’ll post an image, once I get my present version of Module 12 completed – but meanwhile, any hints?

    Thanks – Bill Hansen

    • Hi Bill,

      You may try gradually applying colors with a lighter touch. Cover the entire area with one color before progressing to the next instead of working in sections. You may also try a smoother paper like the smooth bristol to help eradicate the tooth of the paper showing through.

  3. Thanks Matt – I have tried applying very light layers with a sharp pencil point, but maybe I just don’t yet have the skills to make my layers light enough. As for the paper, I’m using Bristol 100 pound vellum surface, and also Strathmore “Lightweight” 135gsm sketching pad. The tooth seems to be almost identical on the two papers. I wonder if a paper with less tooth would accept the necessary layers. I’ve tried the Canson Mi Teintes paper, but that one is far beyond my skills to produce anything close to the desired “painterly” result. Maybe I could try it with pastels.

    I’ll keep working at the lighter layers for colored pencils. Meanwhile, I think I’ll have to accept the fact that as I try to develop skills, the tooth of the paper will show through in my drawings for a long time.

    As with so many of your clients, I am grateful for the slowly progressive step by step instructions, and for the videos. We beginners really need this! It’s not easily available in online instruction. I also appreciate your use of a relatively restricted palette. I counted up the palette of one of the popular teachers, an author of several books on colored pencils. I got up to 150 different “colors” from three different manufacturers before I stopped counting!

    Thanks again – Bill Hansen

  4. This is the first module where I’m dissatisfied with my final results (my perfectionism and desire for hyper-realism, I guess). I thought the instructions were unclear throughout with what to do with the highlighted tree top areas once they are down. Do you avoid them with subsequent layers? At one point you said to use Indigo Blue to enhance the shadows and make the highlighted areas more realistic. But I couldn’t figure out how to shape the highlights and shadows to make them look like leaves and tree boughs. I ended up with larger geometric shapes of highlights, rather than the finer details as your drawing. I would have liked to watch you work just a little longer before you cut to the end of some of the larger blocks of similar areas.

    I ended up using a darker gray toned paper with perhaps less tooth than what you suggested. Once I used any white or cream or sand colors to burnish they drowned out layers underneath (THAT never happens on white paper!) and I couldn’t get other colors to layer on top. I used the colorless blender on the entire surface, dark and light colors. The wax bloom was excessive and even after wiping there is still an uneven greasy wax shine over the whole surface–exactly what Bill Hansen was discussing. (The only time I had something similar was the wine in the glass on the earlier module.)

    I’m actually quite happy with the sky at sunrise, though. That was my first sunrise/sunset attempt, and I’ve only used toned paper a couple of times.

    Looking at the piece again I’m not quite so unhappy now. It does lack the detail I like–perhaps the combination of the rougher tooth and my inability to make the highlighted areas look like bunches of leaves. I still have trouble “seeing” subtle differences in shading in the distant tree line and the mid-range grass. Following your directions my drawing is much brighter than the reference (if I would have chosen colors on my own I would have guessed olive green for the highlights and the dark umber and indigo blue everywhere else; never would have guessed chartreuse and cream!). Can’t be perfect on my first attempt, evidently.

    Now I’m preparing myself for the portrait section! I have just started to learn about the proportions of the head recently. I can only guess how shading might work on skin and no idea how to create hair–though I didn’t do too bad with fur on the dog in the last module.


    • Hi Greg!

      Thanks for the suggestions. It sounds as though you are really thinking through your work. That’s great! But don’t overthink things too much or become too hard on yourself. Learn and move on. Some techniques will work well for how you work while others may not. But you don’t know until you try. So take what works and keep moving on. Whatever doesn’t work, use it as a learning experience. I hope this helps.

      • Thanks, Matt. I will allow myself to “fail” and not expect myself to be perfect every time. I’m working on the portrait now–eyes done, starting the nose!

  5. Just finished the landscape. My goal is to do landscapes and I am wondering if you plan a course just on landscapes with colored pencil ? If so please hurry as I turned 85 last Saturday and my time is limited.

    • Quick question, how come when you say “and then our drawing is complete” (15:24), it looks rather dark and dull and not very impressive, but in the next frame (15:25), it is very bright and the highlights pop off the page? Did you work on it longer after you said the drawing is complete, or did you use photo editing software to make your finished drawing look better in the photo than it actually looks in real life? I don’t think I’d want to take all that time to end up with a drawing like the one at 15:24, but the one at 15:25 looks great, that’s how drastic the change is .

      • Hi Matthew,

        This course is one of the first that I created and the video equipment and lighting I use these days is much better than what I used then. The video does not capture the true colors and the intensity of the original drawing. If you’ve ever taken a photo of your art before, you’ve likely noticed that your art seldom looks as you see it in reality – even with a good camera. So to fix this, the photo of the art often needs to be adjusted to look like the original. And this is why you see a difference. My equipment is a lot better these days and can more accurately capture the art while it’s being made – but even still adjustments must be made to the photo of the art in order to make it look like it does in reality.

  6. I had to give up on this one. How do you get definition on the tree leaves. My finished project looked like green and brown rocks. Also, how do you get fluffy clouds?
    But, am really enjoying the classes. Thanks so much.

  7. Hi Matt,
    The reference book part 2 is m issing. The one in the reference section of the part2 video is actually part 1. Could you upload it please? This is the landscape drawing in the colored pencil course.

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