Treehouse WIP - Stuck...

  • So...

    I am relatively happy with my image, but when it comes to coloring, I have no clue. I have lots of color pencils but I am stuck with how to color this. I want the tree trunk to be dark, the treehouse to be mid toned and the girl and outside to be bright.

    So I get the theory, can someone give me some guidance?



  • @felixius Hi! Man, color, is hard. I still struggle with it after years of working in creative fields. I have two advice options for you that i think will help you really nail this adorable piece and keep from stressing.

    The first option is just do black and white! Color doesn't make a piece; lighting, texture, story and composition make a piece. So maybe skip the color, focus on telling the story with light, shadow, contrast and form! See this piece by David Hohn:

    For this I personally prefer charcoal because it's forgiving and gives a very wide range of value. Plus, I always dig that softer, smokey feeling for atmosphere. But you could use colored pencils, ink, pencils, graphite sticks.. whatever tickles your fancy.

    The other option is to keep the colors VERY simple- for example, ONLY USE BROWNS. or Greens. This will let you treat it like value and simplify your decision making. Maybe pick one other color to "pop" where you want attention to be. Like Lee's treehouse:

    Either way, I recommend you scan it in, print it offer and "transfer" the drawing to other paper so you don't "love" the original and it feels easier/less dire to really experiment and mess around.

    Hope that helps!

  • Cute!

    I don't have much experience with colored pencils, but here's how I'd approach it. I would approach it in stages, like you are layering the colored pencils instead of trying to get it done in one pass. That way you can see if the colors are working and make adjustments as you go without committing fully in one go. But first, I'd make some very quick color studies on a scrap paper. Make them a small thumbnail size, maybe 2 inches, and lay down some colors and values with your colored pencils. Don't draw details, just blocks of colors/values in the general shapes of your composition. When you get to the final coloring stage:

    1st pass: Lay down your base colors but don't push down hard into the paper quite yet.
    2nd pass: Lay down another layer. You can use the same color, or perhaps a different color to give more color complexity. Start introducing a bit of shading.
    3rd pass: Start pushing the darker values.
    4th pass: Add finishing touches, occlusion shadows or outlines.

    This is just a general suggestion. You can figure out the stages as you go and have more or less passes as required. If you are finding it difficult to get the values you want with just colored pencils, you might want to think about combining mediums. Acrylic, watercolor, and markers are probably good pairing for colored pencils. You still get the texture of colored pencils, but easier color and value impact.

    I would also check out some youtube videos about working with colored pencils. It really helps to see how others approach it. This one might be a good one to check out.

    Good luck! I'm always intimidated to go into coloring too. 🙂

  • Your image is cute. 🙂 I'm always nervous adding color also. I've been working with colored pencil for my "Draw 50 Things" challenge, and let me tell you, it is quite time-consuming. Basically what has been said is correct. You start out with light base colors. You want to start out with your lights because while you can always go darker, it is not always possible to go lighter. Then you add your shadows in, going in layers. As a tip, do not use black to shade. Use a darker color of your base color or use a mixture of a dark brown and a dark blue to build up your shadows. Work layer by layer. As I mentioned, it is time-consuming but looks really nice when you are done. 🙂 Before you start, it is also helpful to make value thumbnails so you have a basic idea of where you want your lights and darks. Looking forward to seeing the finished product!

  • Thanks guys! I guess I got a bit flustered... I will just have to give it a go and learn from the experience. Thanks for all the advice!

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