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This example shows in more detail the technique described on the previous page


This exercise shows the working of tree foliage with a series of layers of dry W/C pencil which are then worked with a damp brush to develop and enhance the dry pigment.

The paper used in the example was Daler Rowney Langton satin finish botanical paper 300gm weight and the pencils Caran D’Ache Supracolor Soft using a selection from the 120 full set.

Actual colours are not too important, nor is the actual order in which the colours are laid down, as the middle brush stage merges the colours together and the final step adjusts the overall tints

The aim is to lay down a series of loosely overlapping layers of scribble strokes

These first three scans show the lay down of dry colour on the paper, & show the colours used. The actual shades are not critical as the colours will be blended several times. The purpose at this stage is to get a good build up of selected colours on the paper to be able to work with.

We now add water and blend and heighten the colour. A small firm moist brush is used to soften and merge  the pigment.  

Don’t get it too wet.

See how much more intense the colour is once the water is added.  

The brush can be used to manipulate the colour and push it around on the paper, blending and making the leaf shapes more clearly

See the inset image for a close up of the coloured surface

work over the  surface again with dry colour to add detail and develop the green shades.

Umber has been used for the branches

 Once this has been carried out, further dry pigment can be added where required to bring out dark areas and adjust the green shades with browns and golds.  

In this case the green was warmed with Umber and dark shadows were intensified with black. Further layers of dry colour were then applied (brown ochre for warmth, sepia in the shadows and khaki green to add light green where necessary).  

Once again water was applied to bring the colours together where necessary and the final scan shows the result with fine detail applied within the foliage to highlight areas of leaf that stand in front of darker green shadowed foliage.

Always work from references for trees if you can.

The above is shown as an example of the technique only and was not done from any actual tree.  The more you look at and into trees and how the light catches the branches and how they hang from the tree, the better you will get at drawing them.  If you work to this stage with W/C pencil, you should still have most of the ‘tooth’ of the paper available if you wish to go further with dry point wax or oil based pencils

Enlarged detail

Content and

Page layout revised March  2014

See how the  brush has piled up the pigment in some areas and left thin areas behind in others.

This is the last page of this section apart from the tutorial exercises

For more information on similar techniques, and those required for Landscape subjects with a lot of wooded content,

see the Landscape Techniques section

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