Here Martina Brisegård continues her great tutorial of how she did this beautiful background in Magical Jungle, with colored pencils.
(Here you can find step 1-4 of the tutorial, if you missed it!)
Step 5: Should you color from light to dark or from dark to light?
It’s up to you!
I have tried both, for me dark to light is easier for some reason. You need to try and see what works for you.
Soft, light layers are a must when beginning, simply because it’s easier to erase and/or color over.
See where you are going first, find where the transitions should be, then go in a little harder.
In general most parts of the background should be covered with at least three shades.
Yes it will take a while and you will need time and patience!!!
Use sharp pencils, for several reasons, not just light layers.
It’s easier to get into all the little spaces between details.
You will be able to fill the little grains in the paper, the tooth of the paper, better if you have a smaller and pointier tip.
And as I have said backgrounds are not difficult they just take time, practice and patience.
If you lack a bit with that last one, I will give you this advice, write down and/or photograph the pencils you are using and in which order. And make a note when you put the page you are working on away. Otherwise you might make a bit of a mess of things when you begin again with the wrong shade….
I encourage taking breaks, work on some details on another page a while, make a cup of tea, take a walk. When I color a background I tend to want to quit at least three times, then again I do that when I color endless amounts of leaves as well 😂
Here are a few more helpful tips that I discovered as I began to color the next little lesson. Even little videoclips!!! 😮
Line up all the pencils you are going to use in order, this will make things alot easier.
It’s a good thing to take a picture of them or write down which ones you use.
When I have finished with one color I move them to the other side of an object, just to keep track of where I am. Because when you work on a background it will take time and you will need a break now and again.
If you are coloring with Polychromos or another brand of pencils that can be erased rather easily one of these erasers are invaluble!!!
Your Kladdpapper can be used in several ways, as a guideline to judge how far down a color should go. So you color equally far down on both sides.
Or to rest your hand upon so you don’t smudge parts that you have already colored. Especially if you tend to do like me and turn your book around now and then.
I filmed a bit here, because I discovered something. I got a question about which way the strokes should go. In big areas and especially in the first layer of a color I tend to just swish my pencil lightly back and forth.
Note how far back my grip is on the pencil and the angle of the pencil against the paper.
But when coloring in smaller spaces and when I need to be more precise in later layers, I color in small circles, just to avoid leaving any strokes.
Take pictures of your progress it’s an excellent way to see if you have missed a spot somewhere or if your coloring is uneven.
But at an early stage like this it doesn’t really matter.
Step 6: Step 6 – Polychromos or a similar pencil.
Okay let’s get to it!
You have now picked a good page to begin with, have decided which pencils and colors to use and you have practiced light layers and pencil angles and you have a ”kladdpapper” right? 😁
Otherwise go back to Step 1-5
This will be the first layer of colors, it took me about three hours in two sittings. I don’t know if I’m fast or slow, but I thought it could be helpful for you to know.
I actually began at the bottom with the lightest yellow color, because that is the way some people say you should do it. But….then I just did it the way I usually do instead.
At least with Polychromos.
It is because I find it easier to know where to end with a color than where to begin if that makes sense? Also because I know that I tend to use the lightest color over a very large area, blending the darker colors together. So to me it makes more sense to begin with the darkest that only covers a little area. But you need to find your own way.
Be a bit careful how far back you fade in a color if your selection of colors span over all primary colors, for example like me, from purple to pink to orange and then yellow.
Since purple has blue in it and warm pink (salmon) and orange have yellow tones. Blue + yellow = green. It might make a mess of things.
Since more colors are involved in between it might just look a bit dirty or muddy.
Because mixing all the three primary colors (red + yellow + blue) will create a brown/grey color.
You probably remember that from when you where a kid playing with water colors. The water you dipped your brush in eventually became brown right?
But that is a side note.
So, let us begin!
These are my colors of choice this time, I like to play with several different shades, makes it less boring when you can switch colors often.
Inspiration? One part, the sun setting outside my window, I had to add the yellow/orange at the bottom (behind the trees)
Like I said I began the way you are supposed to, but then I changed my mind. It is a good idea thou, to consider how big sections each color group should have. Yellowbased up to the branch, pinkbased around the birds, purple on top.
So then I took my darkest color and began softly at the top, you can always go back and add more color, it’s harder to remove it so go easy at first.
About this far for now.
Coloring with the next pencil in order, all the way from the top, over the first pencil and fade out at the bottom.
Third pencil, yes all the way from the top and then a bit further down than the previous one. Don’t worry if it’s a little uneven at this stage, we will fix that during Step 7
When the color begins to shift into the next, this one is slightly more pink than purple, leave a centimeter or two at the top, basically where you colored with the furst pencil.
Now I softly colored a bigger section with this next color, I recommend to begin in the middle and fade up over the other colors but stopping where the colors begin to shift too much and fade down as far as looks good to you.
The same thing here, but with this pencil I colored a little harder out in the edges and softer around the birds, that is to create a bit of a horizon bend of the light.
Moving further down. And here is where I took a break and actually continued the next day.
This next color is my last true pink, the next tone will have more yellow in it. So it will cover a large area, from over the birds heads down to the branch and you will be tempted to stop at the branch (or something else dividing your picture) but don’t! Add a little bit below the branch to bind the areas together.
Sometimes it’s easier to see and to get into certain areas if you flip your book around.
Soft, light layers, in a circular motion, look at the little videoclip in Step 5 if you don’t know what I mean.
So this pencil covered an area from where the pencil is to right below the branch.
Now here is another pencil change where you need to be careful. Oh and do you see what I see???
I have missed a spot!!!
There now this pencil only covered 3-4 centimeters right above and below the branch.
The yellow and orange tones are quite colorful so it’s really important to have a light touch.
See what I mean??? You can easily see where the new color is added, and the goal in this type of background is no visable edges…so be careful.
Right now you can clearly see the orange edge above the branch, it will blend in later thou.
Only two pencils left, or one actually since I have already used the lightest one. So this one goes up just above the branch and then down almost to the bottom. At the last 1-2 centimetres there will only be one shade.
Even a soft layer makes a big differenc
And then I adjusted the bottom by adding a little more of the lightest yellow.
Step 7: And we are here Step 7 yay!!!!
Right now it’s sweltering HOT in Sweden so coloring in the shade is just about the only activity you can do without turning into a little puddle of sweat. Had to take breaks now and then so from the second picture to the last it took 4 hours.
Anyways, now we have done our base layer of colors and can move on to covering the little gaps and creating deeper colors.
Here you can adjust the width of the different colors, sometimes even leaving a color or two out of the mix.
I had some trouble with the transition from purple to pink, I blame the heat!!!
Next time I think I will do a background with Prismas, since that technique is a little different, at least the way I use them. But first I need a break…and a dip in the pool 😉
So this is where we left off in step 6!
Now use the same small circle technique and you can even have the same light pressure. Reverse your cicles now and again thou.
Begin at the top and adjust how far down you will go. I chose to add a little more of thd darkest purple this time.
This is also a way to keep track of which pencil to use next.
Begin up where you still see little white spots and color softly down and fade out.
Don’t forget the little spots to the sides. Here I adjusted them slightly and made them a bit darker.
So color from here where the paper shows thru…
…down to about here where the colors shift.
Like that. And use your trusty Kladdpapper as a line referens and protection of the picture under your hand.
Working your way down over the page.
See, a light soft layer makes a rather big difference!
After this Middle purple pink I was a little indecisive so instead of picking the next pink color I skipped down to the more salmoncolored one.
And worked my way up from the branch instead. And slightly below it. This is because I didn’t want to risk mixing cold pink with the warm and strong orange.
Then I went back and filled the gap between with the remaining two pink colors. Working from the bottom up.
So I guess this just was a judgement call, you will get the hang of it and find your own little tricks.
So now the top part is done!
Below the branch I skipped the orange pencil all together, feeling that one layer was just enough. Added a bit more of the darker yellow.