How To Draw Realistically | Timelapse: Horse in Coloured Pencils
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How To Draw Realistically | Timelapse: Horse in Coloured Pencils

August 11, 2019


Hi guys and welcome to this week’s video! Today I’ll be drawing a horse in polychromos
coloured pencils on Pastelmat paper. I gave a sneak peek of these new supplies
in a haul video I uploaded a week or two ago, so if you’re interested in seeing the other
supplies I bought, I’ll leave a link in the cards in the top right and in the description box, down below. I’ll be showing you a time lapse video of
the process I took to complete this portrait, and whilst I do, I’ll be providing some
helpful tips on how to draw realistically, or make your work look more realistic. As always, this video is built on my own experiences
and opinions, so let me know what you think and why you disagree if you do! I’ll also be uploading another video where
I give an explanation of my process, so be sure to check that one out too. I’ll put a link to it in the cards and the
description box when it’s live! I have to be honest, I had a hard time coming
up with a video topic this week, but thanks to a commenter- LittleAuk I believe, I was
inspired to do a video on this topic. So thank you very much, LittleAuk, for suggesting a video about drawing realistically! And the topic and drawing that I’m doing really came together when I had some comments about how realistic this drawing
looked when I uploaded some WIP shots on my social media. If you have any suggestions for video topics in the future, I’m all ears, so don’t forget to leave them down below in the comment section. So anyway, enough of that, let’s get on to
the tips! Number 1! Always draw from a reference. There’s this misconception, especially with
younger or newer artists, that you need to be able to draw everything from memory in
order to be a good artist- or that drawing from a photo reference is some form of cheating. I can assure you that almost every artist
that draws realistically will be drawing from a reference. The people who can create convincing results
without one, are people who have years- decades, even- of industry experience. Make sure that you have permission to use
the photograph you’re drawing from, if you plan on uploading your art to the internet,
or sell it. I recommend sites such as Pixabay and Paint
My Photo as sites for royalty free, copyright free photographs to work from. My second piece of advice- Begin with an accurate
sketch or outline. I’ve already made a video on how to create
an accurate sketch, so if you haven’t seen it I’ll leave a link to it in the cards and
in the description. I recommend using a few different techniques
to ensure the accuracy of your sketch- but in most cases I’d suggest the grid method,
and using a tracing of the reference to check. For very important pieces, that need to be
perfect- such as commissions, portraits and pet portraits – I’ll trace it. And I’ve also made another video about tracing
in general- and the controversy surrounding it- so I’ll leave a link to that one as well. The important thing is to have most accurate
foundation for your art that you can manage. I know that it’s all too tempting to jump
right in to the most exciting part- the colouring- but if there are any inaccuracies, they’re
not going to disappear when you start your colouring. The further along with the piece you get,
the more difficult it can be to correct and adjust- particularly with transparent and
unforgiving permanent mediums such as markers and coloured pencils. It’s so frustrating to be halfway through
a picture and realise that something is drastically off about it, and that you might’ve picked
up on it if you used all the resources available and spent the extra time to check. So use that extra time, be patient- it’ll
all pay off! Compare your drawing with the reference through
the entire process Half of the time I spend drawing is looking
at the reference- and perhaps even more. With realism I try and capture as much visible
information from the picture as possible. It would be incredibly difficult to try and
memorise everything- even for just one small area. I look at my reference photo, take a piece
of visual information- for example, either colour, location, length, angle- and put it
onto paper. I look back at the reference photo to check
if I’ve drawn it correctly, and if not I’ll adjust it. And I apply this process to every tiny line,
shape or transition I see in the photo. I really recommend having your drawing and
reference visible at the same angle or plane- so for example if you’re working flat, have
a print-out of the reference laying next to your drawing, or have it visible on your phone
or tablet laying next to your work. This reduces the chance of your drawing being
distorted. I recommend having your picture digital, as
this allows you to zoom in, but also I find that colour is usually better represented
on a screen than on a piece of paper. For me personally, I have my reference photo
up on my computer screen in front of me, but also because I record the process of my drawing,
I have the live camera footage of my drawing up on my screen next to my reference. It’s also important to look at and evaluate
your work without comparing it to the reference. It can be easy to get absorbed and overwhelmed
by a small difference between your drawing and your reference photo, which would not
look “wrong” unless the viewer was looking at them side by side… and I’m sure in the
majority of cases, your work will not be displayed next to your reference image. This leads me nicely onto my fourth tip, which
is about your mindset. Expect the majority of the process to be about
making adjustments. Don’t set out to perfectly capture the subject
in your first layer or first line- make a start and then slowly refine a piece towards
the goal you want. In the context of this horse drawing, I lightly
blocked in the general colour I wanted the skin to be in a small location, and then I
looked to see where things needed to be lighter or darker, and adjusted the base colour accordingly. Similarly, if you’re sketching- if your line
isn’t quite right, try drawing it again before you erase it entirely. Compare, try and see at what point the line
isn’t right, and adjust just that part. I have often seen somebody draw something,
and when one tiny part isn’t quite right, they’ll erase the entire thing. It’s such a long-winded path to take with
your artwork, and I can see that it’s a quick road to frustration and burn-out. Number 5 is to focus on your values. A value is how light or dark something is-
and this is really important to describe form. A really easy way to check your values in
comparison to your reference is to make a greyscale version of your reference photo,
and take a well-lit photo of your artwork and also convert that to black and white. Compare the two side by side. You can also make a “value finder”. I’ll leave a good pre-made one I found in
the description box below, but essentially it’s just a chart of grey tones ranging from
white to black. You then hold up your little chart to an area
on your greyscale reference photo, and you move your strip up or down until values match,
or are as close as possible. You can then take that to your drawing, and
colour the area until it matches that point on your value finder. On a similar note, be conscious of the contrast
in your work and reference photo. A common mistake is to not go dark enough,
and as a result you lose out on a large chunk of your potential range of values, which will
make it really difficult to convincingly portray a form. Think of it as trying to shade a sphere with
just two medium grey values, instead of ten that range from very dark to very light. Having a good range- from bright to dark,
is what defines the contrast of a piece, and makes an image look interesting and attention
grabbing. Make sure to reserve your darkest and lightest
shades for very exclusive areas though- imagine you are drawing an eye in greyscale. The “white” of the eye isn’t going to be as
white as the paper- it’s often darker than one would expect, but on the other hand, the
reflection in the eye might be a bright white. Similarly, the pupil might not be the blackest
black throughout, only the area that’s not covered by a reflection might be that black,
and the rest might be varying shades of dark grey. I find a quick way to detect contrasts in
a piece is to squint. It’ll make clear what areas are the brightest
and darkest, and where they are placed. in respect to one another. Being strategic about your use of tone will
make it easier to convey the form in a more detailed and refined way. My seventh tip is a bit similar to number
5- it’s to define form by changes in value rather than outline. Nothing in life is outlined, but instead an
object might appear to have solid boundaries because of the difference of its value compared
to the object it touches. Back to the eye example- the difference between
the eye ball and the eyelid isn’t a harsh barrier, but a crisp difference in value. The white of the eye is most likely going
to be lighter than the edge of the eyelid. Remember to erase your sketch as much as possible
before you start colouring or shading, so it’s just barely visible, or be sure to add
enough layers over the top of your sketch so that it disappears entirely. Remember to cover over the lines as you go,
rather than colour up to them, like you might in a colouring book. Building on this, consider that things like
wrinkles in skin, or veins on a leaf aren’t just a line of a single value. These structures have form too, and interact
with the surfaces nearby them, and value should be used to describe them. In the example of a leaf vein, the highest
point of the vein might be the lightest, and the sides may be slightly darker. Where the vein meets the flat surface of the
leaf, a shadow might be cast. When drawing a wrinkle on skin, it’s not a
hard line, but a quick gradient between the flat surface of the skin and the wrinkle. Paying attention to these things will help
better portray form, and reduce the appearance that the details are just “drawn onto” the
subject rather than actually being a part of it. My eigthth tip is about colour, and choosing
the right ones. First of all… don’t get hung up about choosing
the perfect hue. How dark the colour is is more important than
if it’s too red, yellow or blue. There is also no one-size fits all colour
for a particular subject matter or material- for example, skin. It all depends on lighting! Anyway- if you want to more accurately choose
colour, make sure that you have your colours swatched out already. I’ll often pick up my swatch sheet and hold
it near my reference photo, so I can see which colour is the closest match. If I don’t have the exact colour- which is
likely the case, I’ll choose one that’s a little lighter and add another colour over
the top to make it darker, or to adjust the hue. I’d also recommend using a digital colour
picking tool. I’ll often have my reference photo open in
a program such as Microsoft Paint, and use the eye-dropper tool to select an area where
I’m a bit unsure about the colour. I’ll then make a swatch next to the photograph,
on a blank area of the virtual canvas, and it’ll make it easier to see what the colour
actually looks like out of context. It can be hard to know exactly what colour
something is when it’s in context with other colours and lighting. Think back to the infamous white and gold
or black and blue dress- or an even better example is a more recent edited photo which
clearly depicts bright red strawberries even though no red pixels were used in the image. Once again, I’ll leave links below to the
images I’m talking about if you’re unfamiliar with them, or you can google the term “Colour
Constancy”. Anyway, I digress. You can also use the digital swatching method
to compare the same areas between your drawing and reference to see where you need to adjust. Just make sure that the photo you take of
your drawing is well lit in neutral coloured lighting so that the colours in the photo
are a true reflection of reality. Number 9 is all about nuances of colour. It’s important to vary the hue of the colour
you use- by that I mean how red, blue or yellow something is, and not just vary
the colour’s saturation. In warm light, blue is often present in the
shadows and reds and yellows in the highlights. Reflected light is also worth thinking about-
what coloured objects are nearby your subject matter, or what colour is illuminating your
subject? I consider reflected light a lot when drawing
fur- particularly black or white fur. Blue is often a colour of choice when I’m
colouring black fur, as the blue from the sky has an effect on the fur colour. However, it’s important to be subtle about
these additional colours in most scenarios. I recommend using glazing techniques to add
just a hint of the nuanced colour over your base colour. My final tip is about details. You don’t need to stress over the details-
highly detailed is not synonymous with realistic. Building on this, the way human vision works
is that only the very centre of our vision captures fine details. So to create realistic looking work, the whole
piece doesn’t need to be intricate- in fact this can often detract from the sense of realism
in a piece. With portraiture, the eyes are often the focus
of a piece, so those are usually the areas I make sure are most detailed and full of
contrast, and the further away from the focus, the less detail I’ll put in. Similarly, things that are further away we
see with less detail, especially if our eyes are focused on something much closer to us. This is why if you have a background in your
drawing, it might be a good idea to have it blurry and out of focus, and that will really
help to push your detailed subject matter forwards. Ok! So that’s all the tips I have for now- let
me know which one you found most useful, or if you have any tips of your own I’d love
to hear them in the comment section below. Here’s the finished piece! I’m really pleased with the outcome, there’s
something about it that feels different to my usual work- perhaps more control? Let me know what you think! I hope that you enjoyed this video and found
it interesting and helpful- leave it a like if you did! Don’t forget to subscribe if you’d like to
see more tutorials, challenges, reviews and art advice videos. Thank you very much for watching and I’ll
see you in the next video!

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  1. Hi! Excuse the long video, but I didn't want to miss out detail and examples that I felt were important to illustrate my point.
    QUESTION: Did I talk too fast in this video? Would you have preferred a longer video, or two seperate ones, where I speak a little slower? 🙂

  2. Hi Claudia, for myself i would prefered longer videoto understhand what you've say, to me specially has i'm French i haven't understhand what you've say so i've forward the video sorry Claudia but i'm Honnest if you continue to speack that fast well i won't be able to watch and i've asked myself when i've watch your tutorial maybee it was to much advance video for me!? I really love your Drawing and I'm shure you are an excellent teacher has well but i don't know if i will stay, you know even if i would try to draw i don't even know where to start lol! OK. could you please tell me what is the earaser you've use on this video Thank You Claudia, wonderful Drawing and i'm impress by your amazing Talent!

  3. Impressive technique and result. I have had a lifetime with horses and just love your portraits of these wonderful animals.Thank you for sharing.

  4. Polish Subs Note:
    tłumaczenie żargonu artystycznego musi, niestety, kończyć się jakimś kompromisem. Staram się tłumaczyć w miarę możliwości zgodnie z zasadami języka polskiego (Claudia wyraża się w dość elegancki, często niemal literacki sposób i usiłuję oddać jej sprawiedliwość) i unikać anglicyzmów, ponieważ wychodzę z założenia, że osobie początkującej i nieznającej angielskiego sformułowania takie jak np. "burnishing", "glazing", czy "wax bloom" niewiele powiedzą, chociaż na przekór słownikom są w użyciu w środowiskach artystycznych. Innym problemem jest oczywiście konieczność synchronizacji długości wypowiedzi z napisami.
    W użyciu funkcjonuje też "referencja", także neologizm, którego nie popiera żaden słownik. Ponieważ w j. polskim "referencje" występują raczej w liczbie mnogiej i odnoszą się do opinii pracodawców, decyduję się czasem na sformułowanie "zdjęcie referencyjne". To wciąż kalka, ale czasem lepiej brzmiąca niż swojska "zgapa" i nie tak groteskowe co bardziej "polsko" brzmiące "zdjęcie odniesieniowe". Sęk w tym, że zdanie "always draw from reference" nie ogranicza swojego znaczenia do rysowania ze zdjęć (choć na to wskazuje kontekst filmu), ale o używanie wizualnego odnośnika – również np. rysowanie z natury. W j. polskim brakuje mi też określeń takich jak "value" jako wachlarz światłocienia, z braku laku zdecydowałam się jednak na przekładanie "wartości", bo taki termin czasem pojawia się na blogach związanych z rysunkiem. Kilku literówek i innych niedociągnięć jestem boleśnie świadoma i postaram się poprawić je w przyszłości.

  5. Terrific information, very valuable as I am still quite new using coloured pencils. Do you recommend using pastelmat paper when applying OMS and/or Brush and Pencil products over watercolour paper?

  6. Thank you for your kind and information filled reply! I haven’t bought any pastelmat paper yet, pricey! I’ll carry on with my watercolour paper; I haven’t had any unfortunate experiences such as pilling. I am touching wood as I write that!

  7. Hello, I was wondering….what do you prefer … working with a solvent like zestIt or with powder blender? And do you use the same papers with this two blenders?
    and have you tried the faber castell albrecht durer water color pencils already? (works great on Pastemat)
    Greetings Julia Bos from the Netherlands.

  8. Excellent video. I noticed that you did not use mineral spirits, like Gamsol, for blending as do so many CP artists. Yet, your work is perfectly blended! Do you burnish or just keep layering to get that smooth blend? You did not talk too fast and the length of the video was perfect. Thanks so much for sharing your talent. I learned a lot!!

  9. Hi friends! I've been noticing a lot of comments on my older videos where people tell me to turn off the background music!
    Thanks for the feedback- the advice was heeded a while back (November 2017-ish, around the time I was able to upgrade my audio quality), so be sure to check out some of my newer videos. 😊

  10. I very much enjoyed your tutorial, and thought the horse looked realistic. However, the rich chestnut colour of its face abruptly changed after the halter strap above the nostrils!

  11. I love all 10 tips. The accuracy of the drawing and how to adjust bits not erase it all was very helpful. I used to think you had to draw from you minds eye not a reference piece. No wonder I didn't pick up my drawing until much later in life. But now I'm having fun. I like your short videos like this one but also appreciate the longer ones that show step by step your work so I can see exactly who you are drawing, shading and highlighting. I have learned so much and appreciate your channel.
    What is the powder you use and does that work with wax based pencils?

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