Colored Pencil Paper

042 Colored Pencil Question and Answer Show

Topic:  Question and Answer Show



This week John and Lisa answer some of the questions you submitted to us!  If you’d like to submit a question that may be potentially featured here on the show, just write to us at  or complete the online form at


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Some of the questions this week are:


  • What kinds of things do you see newer artists struggle with at the beginning?

  • How do I know when to Burnish?  It seems like I’m burnishing too early and when I’m done, I still see the paper showing through.

  • How much color theory do I need to understand to start in colored pencil?


Links mentioned in the show:


Lisa's longer Patreon videos


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Stay sharp!

014 Portraits That AREN'T Creepy

Topic:  How to render portraits in colored pencil

Intro:  Lisa and John discuss colored pencil portraits AND the new Colored Pencil Paper by Strathmore

Every single part of drawing a portrait is laying the foundation for the final product.  

Before beginning, it is good to know what I want the outcome to look like.

So for me, there are 4 areas that I am most concerned with:

  1. The layout - Am I going to trace an outline of the face or am I going to freehand?  Where is the subject going to be placed on the paper or canvas?  

  2. The focus in the face - If the focus is not going to be the eyes then that particular feature needs to be something that I think about and make sure that I keep that the focus.  As I’m progressing through my rendering of the portrait I am still thinking about that focus area.  In other words, just because I may be working on a cheek, I don’t want to become unbalanced in that.  In my effort to render a cheek I still want the eyes to draw the viewer in.

  3. Values and three-dimensional rendering in the face - For example, if I am drawing a nose.  Then I want to keep in my mind that at least I know in my mind that this is a nose and it has an apex at the very tip of the nose.  The tip of the nose will probably be lighter than any other part of the face because the 3D rules dictate that I do that.

  4. Building my values slowly - I do not want to speed things up and start quickly laying down pigment with pencils, just because I know there’s a large area that needs this one color.  I want to take my time and very slowly build up the values so that everything is in balance.  At any time I could stop drawing and call the piece a complete rendering- IF, I’ve kept the right balance.

For me, the face or subject matter is something that should have continuity.  It is sort of like water flowing down a river in one direction or a musical piece.  There is a balance with music.  We don’t all of a sudden in the middle of a piece, typically, change all the instruments and change the time signature.   But rather, there is some confluence in the piece.  There is some flowing from one musical portion to the next.  Drawing is no different.  There must always be a balance.  


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