Finished drawing of an artichoke by Cherry Ferris

Botanical Textures, Tips & Tricks in Coloured Pencil

Coloured pencils are a match built in heaven for botanical topics, precision and element. They are moveable, forgiving and accessible and by working with layering approaches they offer you the capability to generate and reproduce lively pure colors on the web site which are a pleasure to behold. As the seasons adjust and the cooler months make their way to our doorsteps, what can be nicer than filling our artistic world with the color and pizazz of fantastic botanical artwork. In this posting I will share with you some tricks of the trade working with Derwent’s Procolour pencils and how to generate the great green.

The pencil excellent for great element

Image of Derwent Procolour pencils
Procolour pencils have a precision stage and sleek laydown

Procolour pencils are component of Derwent’s skilled selection, and offer coloured pencil artists’ the best mixture of a powerful issue and smooth laydown. They merge the most effective of the Artists’ and Coloursoft ranges. Remarkably pigmented Procolour have a texture that applies easily like an oil-based mostly pencil but with the covering power of wax. Their durable, sharp position makes it possible for for drawing even the finest of detail with lasting precision. Although nominal dusting suggests that your work will keep on being clear and smudge-free of charge. These pencils can also reach attractive blended benefits with a array of extras and mediums, including Derwent Blender Pens and Derwent Paper Stumps.

Texture, tone, colour and condition

Mother nature is normally going, flowing and evolving. It offers a wealth of excellent subjects from the incredibly bold, structural, singular, architectural and vibrant, all the way via to little composite organisms such as lichen and microscopic algae. All subjects have their intricacies with their really individual techniques to unlock and discover.

Simplify the form

To express the shape and type of bouquets, fruit, grasses or foliage in botanical drawings, look at the picture and crack it down into its primary geometric kinds. A sphere, cup, cone or tube. Every aspect will have highlights (reflections from the light) and shadows (wherever the gentle can not get to).

Establish the tones

Always use at the very least a few tones of the exact same colour pencil and goal for a smooth changeover and graduation of tone amongst them. This is especially critical on smooth surfaces, spherical surfaces & h2o droplets also! Right before you begin, discover individuals lightest locations and be aware to reserve them. If the surface of your issue is quite shiny the emphasize will be especially dazzling. So you might consider leaving the white of the paper for this. Remember ….It’s normally less difficult to go darker than lighter! However, if you do stop up loosing your lightest emphasize, it is not automatically accurate, but a cheeky touch of a white paint pen or white gouache does miracles to restore them.

Reference photo
Traditionally, botanical subjects are designed from existence, but I see no harm with a minimal rule breaking from time to time. In the course of the extended wintertime months I come across utilizing photographs for inspiration are a fantastic way to bring again the joys of summer season and a experience of pleasure again to your sketch book.

If you are doubtful of your tones check out squinting at your issue. This should really blur out all the detail and make it less complicated to establish people lights and darks. Or you could merely convert a image 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 subject and recognize the all round shape and the place the mild is coming from. Glimpse carefully at the colour and the place the highlights and shadows fall. Now pick your principal base colour from your pencils that is the closest to that color. Pick two or far more shades of that colour making sure that some are lighter and darker than your base color.

Top rated tips on creating botanical greens

If you are interested in botanical artwork then you will be tough pushed to stay clear of working with the color eco-friendly! Eco-friendly is one particular of these Marmite colors! You possibly appreciate it or loath it and it can appear pretty flat and uninspiring (significantly with coloured pencils)… but here’s the solution … to develop a plausible and fascinating environmentally friendly, one inexperienced is under no circumstances plenty of!

Idea 1 – Mix your greens

Constantly use at least three greens mixed alongside one another, supplemented with other colours to adapt the mix and tone to include depth. It is all about all those layers. Heat up greens by implementing yellow-greens or yellows over the top. Darken greens by including a touch of purple, purple or darkish blue. Bear in mind all greens are normally designed with different kinds of yellow and blue pigments. So if you obtain your coloured pencil source is missing certain colours, experiment with optical mixing and use this to your benefit.

Tip 2 – Build a color chart

Image of a colour chart

Do not be beguiled by the names employed for pencils (I’m such a sucker for a fantastic name). You often see names these as grass green, moss eco-friendly, cedar inexperienced and many others. Applied independently they normally appear really garish and synthetic. The colour of the barrel or direct hardly ever matches the color they lay down to! So constantly develop a colour chart with any established of new pencils. They make an vital reference issue and enable you to match the colour to your topic relatively than the name.

Suggestion 3 – Apply matching colors

A fantastic way to observe your optical mixing is to select up some paint swatch cards from your local components store. Expend time striving to produce that exact shade/tone/colour in your sketch e book by layering, blending and correcting colors with your pencils until eventually they match. You are going to discover the extra you follow the more rapidly and a lot more assured you will get. You will also obtain that you commence to favour sure pencils and blends as your style develops.

Idea 4 – Split down the subject

Reference image of an artichoke

Sketch book get the job done and checking out color combinations are priceless practice for botanical artwork. Absolutely rendered pieces of get the job done can acquire quite a few several hours of watchful layering, colour matching and creating. With this in head, it is fantastic observe to split down the matter into more compact areas (leaves, bouquets, colour, shape and so on). Experiment and do your research right before you start off. This will save a lot of heartache and frustration and it’s a wonderful reference for very similar subjects in the upcoming.

For instance, an Artichoke is a complex object to attract. Consider its condition, principal colours, texture and type. Spend time exploring these complexities in your sketchbook will give you an comprehension and a new found assurance in approaching a thoroughly rendered drawing.

Try rendering a little area of an artichoke in your sketch ebook. Glimpse at the combos of greens, complimentary colors, tone and shade you could use to develop the texture and variety of what you see.

Suggestion 5 – Use a wash

Image of a section of artichoke with an underwash

I generally use a clean beneath my pencil function to unify and carry the history. Inktense pencils function beautifully as they are dazzling, transparent, and after the ink dries it remains lasting. In the impression higher than I’ve applied a light wash of Apple Environmentally friendly as a foundation layer. Other artists use watercolours or some kind of solvent such as Zest It Pencil Blend to break down and mix the initially layer. Follow on your paper to be guaranteed it’s able of these procedures. If you can draw a section of the issue then you can attract the whole issue. It is just a case of replicating what you have learnt on a more substantial scale.

Finished drawing of an artichoke by Cherry Ferris

Tip 6 – Paper is critical

A low cost paper will often give weak benefits and set you up for a fail. Instead, opt for fantastic good quality clean ‘high white’ paper either as a sketch e-book, unfastened leaf or Bristol board. Very hot Pressed watercolour paper is exciting to use as well. An beneath layer of inktense or watercolours can be utilized to warm push paper to intensify colours.

Tip 7 – Be diligent

Maintain your pencil details sharp and your marks light-weight and regular. Irregular marks can be truly challenging and at times close to unachievable to go over up in subsequent layers due to the transparency of the pencil pigments. This can be utilised to your benefit also!

Tip 8 – Make your pencils do the job for you

Expend time having to know the capabilities and constraints of your brand. Devote time in discovering how to optically blend your colors on the web site. Be bold with your colour choice and use complementary colours to definitely make your work sing. But above all, experiment, love the approach, and do what helps make you happy.

Suggestion 9 – Generating Darks

Building punchy and vivid darks can be tough with coloured pencils. Complementary colors are a incredible way to create depth and desire in your darks. Notably valuable if you don’t have a fantastic variety of greys in your set. Lots of botanical artists will produce a completely rendered grey toned underpainting of the issue. Colours are then layered in excess of the leading to give the drawing an included dimension of kind.

Finished drawing of a sprig of mistletoe by Cherry Ferris

I hope you have savored these hints and suggestions, and are now emotion motivated and well on your way to producing some lovely botanical items in pencils. If you have experienced a go at the workouts earlier mentioned (greens and spheres) you will have all the expertise to be in a position to attract a bunch of attractive Mistletoe with cute minimal berries … just in time for the twinkly season!

You could obtain some of our other blog posts useful for selecting the suitable colored pencil and further more facts on Derwent’s pencil range.


Cherry Ferris is a self taught artist who is fascinated with colour, pigment, elements and all items sparkly. She is specially drawn to nature and the lovely creatures that inhabit our planet and she’s potty about hares, foxes and owls which is why they feel to pop up in so lots of items of her perform. She likes to use numerous forms of media and is versed in pyrography, acrylics, coloured pencils, watercolours and pastels. Cherry also loves the heightened element in botanical illustration and typically utilizes these strategies alongside many other folks components and fusing them together in just a piece of artwork to develop a thing thrilling and new.

Cherry’s perform has been revealed in Wildwood Gallery on Dartmoor, the Derwent Pencil Museum at Keswick, The Wildlife Art Culture International (TWASI), Powderham Castle, The South West Academy Wonderful & Applied Art Open Exhibition (SWAc) & at OXO Tower, London with the Explorers In opposition to Extinction. She is also printed in numerous national and worldwide journals and is a contributing artist to the Earth Pathways diaries & calendars. 

Cherry also operates workshops for novices to a lot more innovative artists and also enjoys building inspirational & revolutionary neighborhood tasks to bring folks with each other from all walks of lifetime to unite and build stunning art.

Cherry lives in Sidmouth, Devon, Uk. Email her at [email protected] or go to her web site or stick to her on Instagram