Botanical Textures, Tips & Tricks in Coloured Pencil

Botanical Textures, Tips & Tricks in Coloured Pencil

Colored pencils are a match produced in heaven for botanical topics, precision and detail. They are portable, forgiving and available and by working with layering strategies they provide you the ability to build and reproduce vibrant pure colours on the web page which are a pleasure to behold. As the seasons improve and the cooler months make their way to our doorsteps, what can be nicer than filling our inventive planet with the color and pizazz of superb botanical artwork. In this short article I will share with you some tips of the trade working with Derwent’s Procolour pencils and how to generate the ideal inexperienced.

The pencil best for great element

Image of Derwent Procolour pencils
Procolour pencils have a precision level and smooth laydown

Procolour pencils are aspect of Derwent’s expert vary, and offer coloured pencil artists’ the fantastic mixture of a solid stage and smooth laydown. They mix the finest of the Artists’ and Coloursoft ranges. Really pigmented Procolour have a texture that applies efficiently like an oil-centered pencil but with the covering power of wax. Their sturdy, sharp point makes it possible for for drawing even the greatest of depth with long lasting precision. Even though nominal dusting implies that your perform will keep on being cleanse and smudge-absolutely free. These pencils can also attain lovely blended final results with a range of extras and mediums, including Derwent Blender Pens and Derwent Paper Stumps.

Texture, tone, color and form

Character is normally relocating, flowing and evolving. It features a prosperity of excellent subjects from the extremely bold, structural, singular, architectural and colourful, all the way by to very small composite organisms these as lichen and microscopic algae. All subjects have their intricacies with their extremely personal secrets to unlock and examine.

Simplify the shape

To specific the shape and kind of flowers, fruit, grasses or foliage in botanical drawings, seem at the picture and break it down into its essential geometric kinds. A sphere, cup, cone or tube. Each individual component will have highlights (reflections from the light) and shadows (wherever the light can’t attain).

Detect the tones

Normally use at the very least three tones of the very same color pencil and aim for a easy transition and graduation of tone involving them. This is specially crucial on clean surfaces, spherical surfaces & water droplets also! Just before you get started, establish those people lightest spots and be mindful to reserve them. If the area of your issue is quite shiny the spotlight will be notably brilliant. So you may possibly think about leaving the white of the paper for this. Don’t forget ….It’s usually less difficult to go darker than lighter! Nevertheless, if you do conclusion up loosing your lightest emphasize, it’s not essentially proper, but a cheeky contact of a white paint pen or white gouache does miracles to restore them.

Reference photo
Customarily, botanical topics are established from lifestyle, but I see no hurt with a tiny rule breaking from time to time. Throughout the prolonged winter months I obtain making use of shots for inspiration are a great way to deliver back the joys of summer and a sensation of enjoyment back again to your sketch guide.

If you are uncertain of your tones try squinting at your topic. This should really blur out all the depth and make it a lot easier to establish people lights and darks. Or you could merely transform a photo of your topic to black and white (or greyscale). Then you have just the tonal values in entrance of you with no confusions of colour.

Squint at your issue and determine the general condition and where the light-weight is coming from. Glimpse intently at the colour and where the highlights and shadows drop. Now select your most important base colour from your pencils that is the closest to that color. Find two or extra shades of that color making certain that some are lighter and darker than your base color.

Best suggestions on building botanical greens

If you are fascinated in botanical art then you will be challenging pushed to steer clear of using the color environmentally friendly! Environmentally friendly is 1 of all those Marmite colours! You possibly really like it or loath it and it can appear extremely flat and uninspiring (specially with coloured pencils)… but here’s the secret … to develop a plausible and interesting green, just one environmentally friendly is by no means enough!

Idea 1 – Mix your greens

Constantly use at least three greens blended with each other, supplemented with other colors to adapt the blend and tone to increase depth. It is all about all those levels. Heat up greens by implementing yellow-greens or yellows around the top. Darken greens by adding a touch of crimson, purple or dark blue. Bear in mind all greens are normally made with distinctive types of yellow and blue pigments. So if you find your colored pencil source is missing certain colors, experiment with optical mixing and use this to your gain.

Suggestion 2 – Develop a colour chart

Image of a colour chart

Really don’t be beguiled by the names employed for pencils (I’m these a sucker for a very good title). You normally see names this kind of as grass green, moss environmentally friendly, cedar eco-friendly and so forth. Used independently they usually glance quite garish and artificial. The colour of the barrel or direct not often matches the colour they lay down to! So usually create a colour chart with any established of new pencils. They make an essential reference point and allow for you to match the colour to your subject fairly than the name.

Suggestion 3 – Exercise matching colours

A good way to exercise your optical mixing is to pick up some paint swatch cards from your local components store. Commit time hoping to generate that correct shade/tone/color in your sketch e-book by layering, mixing and correcting colours with your pencils until they match. You will find the additional you observe the faster and a lot more self-confident you will get. You will also come across that you get started to favour selected pencils and blends as your design develops.

Suggestion 4 – Crack down the subject

Reference image of an artichoke

Sketch book function and discovering color combinations are priceless practice for botanical artwork. Totally rendered parts of get the job done can consider numerous hours of careful layering, colour matching and creating. With this in intellect, it’s superior practice to break down the subject into more compact elements (leaves, flowers, color, condition and so forth). Experiment and do your research right before you start. This will save a ton of heartache and annoyance and it is a excellent reference for comparable subjects in the upcoming.

For instance, an Artichoke is a elaborate item to draw. Take into consideration its form, key colors, texture and form. Expend time discovering these complexities in your sketchbook will give you an comprehension and a new discovered self-confidence in approaching a fully rendered drawing.

Attempt rendering a smaller part of an artichoke in your sketch book. Appear at the mixtures of greens, complimentary colors, tone and shade you could use to generate the texture and type of what you see.

Tip 5 – Use a clean

Image of a section of artichoke with an underwash

I often use a wash under my pencil perform to unify and lift the history. Inktense pencils function wonderfully as they are vibrant, clear, and once the ink dries it stays long lasting. In the image previously mentioned I’ve made use of a light clean of Apple Green as a foundation layer. Other artists use watercolours or some sort of solvent this sort of as Zest It Pencil Blend to break down and blend the initially layer. Practice on your paper to be positive it is able of these types of procedures. If you can draw a section of the topic then you can draw the entire detail. It’s just a situation of replicating what you have learnt on a larger sized scale.

Finished drawing of an artichoke by Cherry Ferris

Tip 6 – Paper is important

A low-cost paper will often give bad final results and established you up for a are unsuccessful. Instead, opt for fantastic high-quality easy ‘high white’ paper possibly as a sketch book, free leaf or Bristol board. Very hot Pressed watercolour paper is exciting to use too. An beneath layer of inktense or watercolours can be utilized to incredibly hot press paper to intensify colors.

Suggestion 7 – Be diligent

Preserve your pencil points sharp and your marks light and continual. Irregular marks can be seriously tricky and at times around not possible to protect up in subsequent levels because of to the transparency of the pencil pigments. This can be utilized to your edge much too!

Idea 8 – Make your pencils operate for you

Expend time acquiring to know the abilities and limits of your brand name. Devote time in studying how to optically combine your colours on the page. Be bold with your color alternative and use complementary colours to actually make your function sing. But higher than all, experiment, get pleasure from the approach, and do what would make you satisfied.

Idea 9 – Building Darks

Building punchy and lively darks can be challenging with colored pencils. Complementary colors are a amazing way to produce depth and fascination in your darks. Especially valuable if you do not have a excellent choice of greys in your set. Many botanical artists will develop a absolutely rendered gray toned underpainting of the matter. Colours are then layered more than the best to give the drawing an added dimension of sort.

Finished drawing of a sprig of mistletoe by Cherry Ferris

I hope you’ve liked these hints and recommendations, and are now sensation encouraged and nicely on your way to making some gorgeous botanical parts in pencils. If you have experienced a go at the workout routines previously mentioned (greens and spheres) you will have all the techniques to be equipped to draw a bunch of stunning Mistletoe with adorable very little berries … just in time for the twinkly season!

You may discover some of our other blog posts handy for picking out the ideal coloured pencil and more information and facts on Derwent’s pencil range.


Cherry Ferris is a self taught artist who is fascinated with colour, pigment, resources and all things sparkly. She is notably drawn to nature and the wonderful creatures that inhabit our earth and she’s potty about hares, foxes and owls which is why they appear to be to pop up in so a lot of parts of her work. She likes to use many sorts of media and is versed in pyrography, acrylics, colored pencils, watercolours and pastels. Cherry also loves the heightened detail in botanical illustration and typically employs these techniques together with a lot of other people factors and fusing them alongside one another within a piece of artwork to create one thing interesting and new.

Cherry’s get the job done has been demonstrated in Wildwood Gallery on Dartmoor, the Derwent Pencil Museum at Keswick, The Wildlife Artwork Culture Global (TWASI), Powderham Castle, The South West Academy Great & Utilized Art Open up Exhibition (SWAc) & at OXO Tower, London with the Explorers In opposition to Extinction. She is also published in numerous countrywide and global publications and is a contributing artist to the Earth Pathways diaries & calendars. 

Cherry also runs workshops for newbies to additional advanced artists and also enjoys building inspirational & progressive neighborhood assignments to convey men and women jointly from all walks of daily life to unite and create attractive artwork.

Cherry life in Sidmouth, Devon, British isles. E mail her at [email protected] or visit her internet site or observe her on Instagram