Color Fundamentals/Pencil, 1.1


Working with color: understanding the dynamics of choosing harmonies, and working with layers. This sequence will focus on practicing in that arena.

We’re back again, with another great group of new students working toward practicing their color drawing, using colored pencils. This is the first day of class, and we look carefully at the color wheel above, and identify the twelve pure colors on the outside band, as well as the inside bands of tints, tones and shades that relate to each pure color.


Then we take our pencils and select one for each hue (or pure color), making a 1 x 12 inch strip of dark and lightly saturated bands for each. These are the 12 colors used for the entire 6 week class.


Next, we are going to look at value on a simple rounded form: the tennis ball. Our first drawing will be a warm-up, looking carefully at the form in light, and identifying the values only in black and white.


The result is a solid looking form with a clear distinction of light to dark values, not forgetting the cast shadow beneath. Next, we work with the first way of changing color and value: saturation. We use a monochromatic harmony (one color) and describe the form only using dark, middle and light pressure on the yellow-green pencil. Darkest pressure will appear more intense and solid, lighter will appear less saturated and lighter in value.

Let’s see what my students will bring in with their homework assignments, related to this in-class work. They will choose a different “dominant” color (main color of the still life). This color will still be part of the 12 color spectrum, however.

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