How to: colour backgrounds #2

So… let’s get practicing with colouring a sky first.

Color a Good Sky

Click to enlarge

As children, we learned that the sky goes all the way from the top of the page to wherever the “ground” happens to be drawn. What we didn’t learn is that the sky is not all the same color. As a rule, the sky gets lighter as it approaches the horizon. Different areas of the sky may also appear to be more or less saturated depending on the presence of clouds and haze. A good sky can bring perspective and depth to a coloring sheet.

1 Choose your shades wisely

Pick out three shades of blue that are of a similar hue.
Don’t be afraid to use a deep shade as one of your choices.
You will be putting down several layers of color using a light touch and then going back to deepen as needed.


2 Find the horizon.

Use your lightest shade of blue to color in the area nearest the horizon.
Use a light touch to put down a soft layer of color.


5 Color in the middle.

Use the medium shade of blue to color in the middle of the sky area.
Again, just put down a light wash of color that you will go back and deepen later.


6 Color the dark.

As before, put down a wash of the darkest color across the top of the sky.
Allow the perspective of the line drawing to guide how wide to make the strips.


7 Blend, blend, blend.

Using the lightest color, start at the horizon again and lay down a second layer of color.
As you approach the middle tone, blend some of the lighter color into the darker color.
Use a heavier pressure and small, circular strokes as you blend the lighter color into the darker.
Switch to the medium shade and repeat the process, blending the medium color into the darkest color.
Lay down additional layers of each shade until you achieve the saturation you want.

8 Blend some more.

Finally, use a white pencil to go over the entire sky. Using small, circular strokes and heavy pressure, burnish the colors together over the entire sky.
The white pencil will melt the layers of wax underneath and redistribute the pigments until they are completely blended. The white pencil will also lighten everything underneath, so don’t be afraid that the dark layer is too dark.
You can lighten it as you burnish the shades together.


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