Coloured Pencils: Violin (demonstration)

I drew this violin for my review of the Derwent Lightfast pencils, and figured it would make a good demonstration. As always, you don’t need to use the exact pencils I’ve used; just find the closest colours in your own pencil collection. The photo is by Karen Broemmelsick and was uploaded to the Photos For Artists group on Facebook.

Also, apologies in advance because I’ll probably get the names of some parts of the violin wrong (I did try Googling though). No one in my family has any musical talent, and unfortunately, I am no exception.

Derwent Lightfast Pencils:
-Sun Yellow
-Yellow Ochre
-Mid Ultramarine
-Brown Ochre
-Natural Brown

Brush and Pencil by Alyona Nickelsen
-Colored Pencil Touch-Up Texture
-Colored Pencil Titanium White

Stonehenge 250gsm paper (13cm X 18cm)

Step 1
Draw or trace the outline of the violin onto your paper. Put a light to medium layer of Yellow Ochre in the edge of the violin, leaving some small white gaps for highlights if possible (I’m aiming to do this if I can, but if I accidentally colour over them, I’m going to use the Brush and Pencil products to put the highlights back in). Go over the inner edge with Natural Brown to create the shadow. About half of the edge should be in shadow, but try to make the very inner edge especially dark.

On the body of the violin, put in a light layer of Salmon where the highlight will be, then go over this with White (still using light to medium pressure). Apply a light layer of Yellow Ochre to the rest of the body.

Also note that I’m not worrying about leaving the strings white as I’m going to paint them in later with the Brush and Pencil products as well.

Step 2
Put in an even layer of Black for the background, using a light to medium pressure. Go over this with Violet, making it darker at the top and bottom. Next, go over it with Mid Ultramarine, using a medium to heavy pressure in the middle and a light to medium pressure over the top and bottom. We’ll leave the background for now, but we’ll come back to it later.

Using a very light pressure, apply a layer of Scarlet over most of the body of the violin (except the Salmon/White highlight), leaving a few areas of Yellow Ochre from step one showing through. This will help create the natural variation in the colour of the wood. Using a light to medium pressure, go over the body area (except the highlight again) with Yellow Ochre, feathering your strokes around the edges of the highlight to create a smooth blend. Sharpen your Natural Brown, Sandstone and Scarlet pencils to a very fine point and put in the wood grain. Though having some lines be a little wider than others will help make the effect look more natural, most of the lines should be fairly thin, so you’ll need to sharpen your pencils quite often. Also, as tempting as it may be, don’t use a ruler for these lines; wood grain is almost never straight, and having straight lines on your violin will make it look weird. Don’t be afraid to use lighter or heavier pressure in some places. Keep most of the lines dark (Natural Brown) but have a few Sandstone and/or Scarlet overlayed with Sandstone for variety. Where the wood grain crosses into the highlight area, use a very light touch and create the grain with Sandstone and/or Scarlet.

Step 3
Colour the bridge of the violin in with Sun Yellow, adding a layer of Yellow Ochre over the section in shadow. With a light pressure, add another layer of Scarlet over the body for the reddish brown areas, and then go over all of the body except the highlight with a medium to heavy pressure with Sandstone, changing to Yellow Ochre for some of the lighter areas near the bottom. Add a light to medium layer of Natural Brown for some of the darker areas and then go over this with another layer of Sandstone. You might need to repeat this process a few times to build up the colours, and if you lose the wood grain, just go over it again with your Natural Brown, Scarlet and/or Sandstone pencils. Go over the edge of the violin with Yellow Ochre and a heavy pressure, blending it into the dark Natural Brown shadow.

Go over the background with Black, using a medium to heavy pressure at the top and bottom and a light to medium pressure in the middle. Burnish the whole background area with Mid Ultramarine.

Step 4
Use Violet to colour in the F holes, then go over it with Black and a heavy pressure. Use Violet to colour in the purple bits at the bottom of the strings. Colour the fingerboard and tailpiece with Black, using a lighter pressure for the highlighted areas and heavy pressure for the areas in deep shadow. Go over the lightest parts with White, gradually blending outwards with less pressure, then add another light layer of Black to unify it.

For the highlighted area on the body of the violin, apply a heavy layer of White, blending out into Salmon as you get towards the brownish parts. Blend some of the highlight colours over the browns and golds to create a smooth transition. You may need to go over the wood grain again at this point, with Natural Brown and Sandstone. Sharpen your black and add the decorative line detail just inside the edge of the violin’s body.

Mix up some Brush and Pencil Titanium White powder with the Touch-Up Texture liquid to form a goauche-textured paste. Add any highlights necessary on the edge of the violin and on the tailpiece, and then, using a ruler if you want, paint the violin strings. All that’s left to do now is sign the drawing.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this drawing demo. I’ll have a review of the Derwent Lightfast pencils up shortly.

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