How to Draw Realistic Objects using Color Pencils ?

Updated: Feb 18

Rad Educators is a 1-year program intended to help beginner artists learn step-by-step techniques from professional artists across different mediums. This is in no way sponsored or promoted by any particular Art Brand.

Heet Bhavsar is Rad Educator for Colour Pencil Sketching.

This is a step by step guide to drawing realistic Gems Chocolate from the most affordable material available in the market.

Materials Required :-

Fabercastell Bi-Color Pencil Color set of 18

Gelly Roll White Gell Pen

Grey Toned Sheet

Apsara White Glass Marker Pencil

STEP 1 : Understand the Material and Object

The purpose of using a grey-toned sheet for realistic color pencil work is to highlight the curves on objects wrapper or depth of field on a plastic surface when the light is applied on the surface of the object.

Understanding the object means to understand the highlights, shadows, colours and tones used, perspective and proportion. Here our object is a Gems Wrapper, since the height cannot be drawn separately, in such cases the shadow becomes the height. This looks like a illusion in the beginning, until we add in colours.

While creating a reference for work (taking a reference picture); set the angle in a way that a little curve /shadow is visible. This helps to achieve realism in art and creates perspective and depth in drawing.

Always put a light source above the object from where the white reflection highlight and shadow is created on the object.

STEP 2 : Drawing the Object

As I suggest use grid method to draw object. This ensures perfection specially for beginners who have not mastered free-hand drawing.

Create grid on reference (there are lots of apps available to do this).

According to your paper size choose your drawing area. Remember, bigger the size, more is the area for detailing. Number the grid; both on your drawing sheet and your reference. Observe each box and draw the same on your drawing sheet. Remember; observation is the key. Take good amount of time to observe, it will save your time from erasing and re-drawing.

STEP 3 : Adding the first layer of colours

Once the drawing is completed, cross-check the proportions in each square. If you are satisfied with your drawing , you can start colouring. Some artists choose to erase the grid-lines at this stage; and few artists erase after the colouring is done.

Starting filling the word Gems with white colour pencil. Use apsara glass marker pencil to create the perfect highlight. If you've chosen any other object, start by filling white on the highlights. This is a very important step, as it would attract the viewer's eyes.

Now, start adding other basic colours. In case of Gems Wrapper; we need to start be filling the yellow and blue colour and then proceed to green and pinkish-red as shown in the reference.

Here, we are creating layers, first with the white pencil; then the light blue and then a layer of dark blue colour pencil. Layering has many benefits. It enhances the colour, makes it easy to make details too. You will not get the exact shade in one go; it only comes after multiple layers. Remember not to over-do the layers too, as it might damage the paper. It is not possible as a beginner to get the exact shades all the colours, specially if you've limited colour pencils. Try getting the nearest possible shade.

You can use a rough paper to try layering and creating colour swatches. Make a new colour by adding layers with two different colour pencils. Try various combinations in different amounts, until you get the shade you desire.

As already told, use the white pencil for the highlights, add a line of shadow (dark, thin line) and again a portion of lighter shade. This gives a 3-d effect to any object. Observe closely, and you'll see multiple lines even in the highlight and shadow portion. Try drawing every line that you see.

Take help of this realistic sphere exercise to learn object depth and whiteness.

STEP 4 : Adding Shadows and Highlights to the drawing

Usually, the darker shades while layering are near the folds, or corners of every individual part. Focus on part at a time. While adding layer, it creates an effect like a gradient; when you merge the light and dark layer.

Now, once the basic colouring and detailing is done, it is time to enhance the highlights with a white gel pen. It changes the look of the object completely. Also, it is time to add the extreme dark portions or shadows of the object.

Understand, there are different intensities of reflection. The ones where is it absolutely white, use a white gel one. And, to the areas where the reflection is moderate, use a light shade and white colour pencil; merge the two properly to create a blurry, faded look of reflection.

As per our drawing of a gems wrapper;

Use purple and dark blue to add shadow to the GEMS text. With a very light hand i.e least amount of pressure; add purple and dark blue on text. Understand it has to be very, very light.

Give details and curve on text body surface by using dark blue and purple very light shade on the text.

Then according to reference give details to every and each white reflection depth by white gel pen.

Try to get as close as possible to the reference photo.

STEP 5 : Adding Final Touches in the Drawing

Adding the main object shadow now. In our reference, there is a huge amount of light falling on the object surface. So; the shadow here can be done directly with black colour. Use a graphite pencil along with grey and black colour pencil to complete drawing the shadow of the object.

Lastly, observe if any portion requires blending, or adding another layer. Make minor changes if require. You can use a blending stump or blending markers to get a smooth finish for the object.

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