Today’s critique comes from artist Sarah Coleman. She has completed this piece using colored pencil and a white gel pen. The drawing is great on this! The highlights and shadows are beautifully done. You can really see the shine on those berries!!

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I only have one real tip for this one. Hype up your contrast! Your colors are very muted. You’ve got your highlights and shadows in the right place, so the hard work is done! They’re just not quite bold enough.

I know it can be scary to really get your colors more bold. It feels safe to leave them softer, more muted, but trust me, it’s worth taking the risk and getting those colors in there. For this one, I would personally do one of two things…or maybe both. First is to blend out with an odorless mineral spirit and a very small brush. If you can cover up the white bits of paper showing through on the reds and oranges, that will help create a more bold, more realistic look like you said you were going for. The second option would be to burnish. If you push harder with your pencil for your final layers (don’t do this on the first layers as this technique flattens the tooth of the paper making it so that you can’t add additional layers, this should be your last step), it will really make those colors pop!

This is the beginning of an absolutely stunning piece, it just needs to be finished! You’re doing an awesome job!!