This project will be 2.5"x3.5" ACEO size on Strathmore Smooth Bristol using Faber Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils.  This will be done entirely in colored pencils.

Some information about colored pencils;  I used Prisma Colors for years and at times still do.  A few years ago I switched to PolyChromos.  Reason?  The PolyChromos held a sharper point.  PrismaColors are wax based and PolyChromos are oil based.   Both are equally good, it's just a matter of preference.

For this project I will be using Faber Castell Polychromos.
This is the line work taped down to a piece of masonite I made from an old clip board. (I cut off the clip and rounded the corners)  
First of all, when using colored pencils, go lightly. (I shade using small circular motions.)  Pushing too hard or burnishing will destroy the paper surface and cause the color pencil to bloom faster.  Blooming is when you have layers of colored pencil and it waxes over not allowing you to add anymore layers.  In this project, I am going to show you how I layer and show you some of my techniques to adding layers and layers without fear of blooming.

Here, I start with the background using a light layer of black.  You can still see the paper through the black, that's ok.  
Here I color overtop of the black with Geraniumrot Hell, Pale Geranium Lake 9201-121 (the red) and Preubischblau, Prussian Blue 9201-246 (the blue). Remember not to bear down on it, lightly so you can get plenty of layers.

Instead of just going straight black for the background, I wanted to add some color. Nothing too bright.  I want there to be hints of the color in the black.  I choose to use the blue around the top and around the back of her and using the red for the front of her. Suggesting warmth to the not yet colored flesh.
I lightly added about 3-4 more layers of black.  I want the background black with a slight touch of the red and blue.  I tried to keep the background consistent.  You can still see the paper through the pencil, that's ok. It's easy to rush the background, but take your time.  
Ok, now comes the fun part.  I will be brushing Odorless Mineral Spirits over the colored pencil using a No.8 Shader.  I also have a clean scrap of an old sweatshirt.  I put a little of the Mineral Spirits in a jar with a lid.  I dip the brush ever so slightly just wetting the very end. Then I wipe it on the scrap of old sweatshirt.  The dryer the brush, the better.
Brush time.  Dip your brush tip into the mineral spirits, make sure your brush is as dry as you can get it.  Then start to brush the colored pencil on your art.  I start at one side and work my way over.  I don't scrub too hard.  You have to be careful not to rub the paper's surface up.  At this stage, all I'm interested in is just flattening the colored pencil.

Brushing on mineral spirits will create a more matte look, it will also take the wax away, allowing for more layers of color to be placed on top afterwards.  Also, notice how it fills in the areas where you could see the paper through the colored pencil.  Now, at this time, I let it completely dry.  If you lay your hand on the paper and it feels cool, then it's still wet.

Give it a few minutes. No rush.
Adding another layer of the Geraniumrot Hell, Pale Geranium Lake 9201-121 (the red) and Preubischblau, Prussian Blue 9201-246 (the blue).  Lightly.
Brush again with the mineral spirits.  See how the layer darkens. You can stack layers upon layers using this method.  Now, let it completely dry again.
Another light layer of black.
Brush with the mineral spirits.  (Starting to get the idea.) Let it dry completely.
This time I gave it a little darker layer of black.  On this layer I pressed a little harder to get it darker.  But I still didn't press too hard. This layer will not be gone over with the mineral spirits.
Now, to start the flesh colors. There is a lot of colors to make up flesh so stay with me.  I started with Pompejanischrot, Pompeian Red 9201-191.  Carefully examining my reference picture, I lightly shade in the shadow areas and some areas that look reddish.
I now add Neapelgelb Dunkel, Dark Naples Ochre 9201-184.  You really have to be careful with this color.  My reference photo: her face has a yellowish tint and so does the blond hair.  Too much will make it look like she is jaundice. So use this color very sparingly or skip it all together.
Added in some Ocker Gebrannt, Burnt Ochre 9201-187 in the shadow areas.  Like I said, keep referring back to your reference photo.
Using Rotel Sanguine 9201-188 which is another reddish brown for shadow areas.  Just a note, I work the shadow areas and move toward the part of the face which is getting hit by the light.
Now in with some Siena Gebrannt, Burnt Siena 9201-283 which is very brown with some red in it.  I like this for the deep shadows.
This is my favorite color Fleischearbe Mittel, Medium Flesh 9201-131.  I use this in the shadows, in around the shadow area of the nose, the jawline and to highlight the makeup on the cheeks.
Now a little Van-Dyck-Braun, Van-Dyck-Brown 9201-176 to hit some of the shadows and midtones.  Remember, lightly.
We're getting there. Now I take Fleischfarbe Hell, Light Flesh 9201-132 and go over all the skin areas lightly.
Guess what we do now?  Yep, get out those mineral spirits.  Remember, dip just the tip of the brush and dry it.  A little goes a long ways.
Now those are flesh tones!  Let it dry completely before moving on.  The Flesh tones alone took me about 40 minutes.  Don't rush it.  I would rather have one really good card over several "Ok" cards, even if it took me all day.
Here is an enlarge view.  On the left is before using the mineral spirits.  On the right is after the mineral spirits.
Using the same Burnt Siena I start shaping the hair.
Using Umbra Natur, Paw Umber 9201-180 I continue shaping the hair.  I use this color in the eyes to add shading.  Then using Chromoxydgrun Stumf, Chromium Green Opaque 9201-174 I lightly shade the eye color. Then using Cold Grey IV 9201-233 I shade the lighter areas of the eye and the eyelids. 
Using Rotel Sanguine 9201-188 I continue with the hair, shading in the reddish areas.
Using the Walnut Brown, I hit the dark part of the shadows and around the face.
Now last but not least, we go in with the black. I use the black on the eyes too, in the pupils and the lip of the eyelid.
Ah, yes! Now the mineral spirits.
Now we let it dry completely.  Next we start to tighten everything up.
At this point I will not be going into a lot of detail.  Main reason is I really don't want to bore you to death.  I basically used the same colors in the flesh, just keeping it light and layering.  I did a slight burnishing with an off white cream color.  Again, I don't bore down on it hard at all, just lightly using the small circular motions.  I added in the black for the lashes as well.  Lashes can make or break.  I sharpen the black to a point and ever so lightly draw in very fine and few lashes.
Using the same colors as before for the hair,  I really just darken the shadows and tighten up the detail.
Using Liquitex Titanium White Acrylic paint, I brush in the white highlights in the hair and on the lip.
Ok, I'm calling this done.  
Here's a enlarged photo of the final after being cut.
Hope you all enjoyed my tutorial.
Back to Top