This week’s submission comes from artist  Francisco Reteguin. This was his second colored pencil drawing! I love that even on your second drawing you’re already starting with shading!

You said in your submission that your goals were to create a realistic bird. I’ve got a few general colored pencil tips that will help you accomplish this!

Colored Pencil is a Slow Medium

First, you want to remember that colored pencil is a very slow medium to work in if your goal is to create something very realistic. It’s going to take a LOT of layers. Ideally, you want to work in many very light layers and slowly build up your values. Make sure to keep your pencil very sharp so that it can get into all the nooks and crannies of the paper, creating a smoother end result. When you quickly shade stuff in, you end up with a very grainy gritty look that is similar to working in crayons. Colored pencil artists who create very realistic work spend anywhere from 10 to 100 hours of actual work time depending on the size and detail to create that look. It’s not something that can be done in a single night.

Create a Perfect Line Drawing

Before you start shading, make sure that your line drawing is absolutely perfect. If you realize the shape of your branch isn’t quite right, that isn’t something that is going to improve once you start shading. Make sure every last detail of every feather is lightly sketched in before you start shading!

Keep your pencils sharp!!

If your pencils aren’t sharp enough to stab someone with, they aren’t sharp enough for your work! When your pencils start to get even a little dull, you start creating more of a grainy gritty look because you’re not getting into the crevices of the paper. Keep those pencils weapon sharp! Think steak knife, not butter knife!

Work the Pencils in Small Ovals or Circles

Right now I can easily see every pencil stroke. Some are vertical and some horizontal in the same zone. To get smoother, more even coverage, try working your pencil in small ovals and circles to avoid scribble lines.