View Full Version : Red-Yellow-Blue

07-16-2010, 10:52 PM
Hi, Folks. Great to see this new forum. Thanks to those who worked to make it happen. Here is my offering. I've started a sketch journal using only a selection of Derwent Coloursoft reds, yellows, and blues (and maybe a little graphite and ink now and then). I'm using a 3.5" x 5.5" Hand-Book Journal. The first image is a sketch I did in an older sketchbook in celebration of ordering the Hand-Book. The additional pages are warm-up exercises in the new book. Alas, my scans never seem to do justice to the colors I see. Actual sketches coming soon...I hope. (I'll post fewer pages per post in future. :o) Cheers, Herb

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Jul-2010/71766-0_Book.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Jul-2010/71766-1_Palette.jpg

07-16-2010, 11:27 PM
Welcome aboard. Looks like you are all ready to go. Hope to see sketches from you soon.

07-17-2010, 12:18 AM
Herb - looks like you are off to a great start. I love the color test pages. You have quite a nice range there. Looking forward to seeing more.


07-17-2010, 12:27 AM
great idea, i will have to give something similar a try

Vivien Maloney
07-17-2010, 12:55 AM
Herb, welcome. You've made a great start to your new Journal. Good idea all the color swatches - I always mean to do this but never get around to it. Maybe your Journal will give me incentive to be more organised and do color swatches as well.

07-17-2010, 01:20 AM
Interesting concept for a sketchbook. I guess we start many of these sketchbooks with the idea of practicing/learning something in particular. I played around with the red/yellow/blue colored pencil method a little, talk about labor intensive! I gave up on that one pretty quick. :lol: It will be interesting to see what you do with it.


07-17-2010, 01:21 AM
Herb, that's a great series of swatch tests mixing secondaries and tertiaries! Very organized. My scanner does that to me too, but having the Coloursoft means I can look at my own pencils for true color. I appreciate your documenting exactly which primaries you used too.

Do you have a colorless blender? The Prismacolor one is good and soft, so is the Derwent Blender. The Derwent Burnisher (usually comes with it in a two-pack) is harder and has the core material for their Studio/Artist pencils. Those mixes could look very smooth once burnished. Electric blue with lemon yellow makes a good bright emerald green!

07-17-2010, 11:50 PM
Thanks for the warm welcome, all. Here's today's effort of about an hour. (I should have stopped at 30 minutes. :D)

I agree, David, red-yellow-blue with colored pencils is a chore. I thought I could manage with such a tiny sketchbook, however. I plan to soldier on for a while to see what happens. Although I may introduce the remainder of my "normal" CP palette before long, adding one or two of each of the secondaries.

Hi, Robert. I have a Prismacolor blender stashed away somewhere, but I personally prefer not to blend or burnish except for what naturally occurs in laying one color over another. The subtle blending of translucent color is one of CP's main attractions for me.

This is overworked, lacks range in value, and is a little bit muddy, but I don't feel any need to tear out the page. :D




07-18-2010, 12:09 AM
Nice feather. That would be my only comment, that you have already noted, the lack of value range. But, very well done with only RYB.

07-18-2010, 03:11 PM
Today's entry...

Disappointed in the modeling. Still overworking.


07-18-2010, 05:57 PM
The flower may be a bit overworked, but the leaves are just gorgeous. I like the range of color you got in them and yet, they still read "green".

08-12-2010, 01:16 PM
Hi Herb,

Just found and checked out your sketchbook. Great concept for a journal, and I hope to see more of your work here.

08-12-2010, 05:37 PM
I like the feather. It could have stronger value ranges but its shimmering colors make me smile, it's got a lot of light dancing in it. That has a soft, dreamlike feeling, like it fits in a storybook.

Very cool orange flower and leaves too, especially the leaves. It's only the flower that's a bit overworked and you could do some lifting on it with a kneaded eraser - press, peel off, roll it up, press again. I was very surprised at how much color I could get off with a kneaded eraser without messing up the paper tooth.

One thing may help with the RYB sketches. I'd start with the deepest dark areas and do them lightly with Indigo no matter what else is going over it, a sort of overexposed Indigo image to establish deep darks and then work up from that. I've done these in the past and having a value drawing for the first layer helps a lot.

Or you could add two more colors to your palette, still staying in RYB. For reds, get a deep dark red comparable to Prismacolor Tuscan Red. I know there's one in the range. It might be in the browns section but it's there and I've used it. Then at the darks end of the Yellow group, add a yellowish brown, as the "deep dark" of yellow. Even using Yellow Ochre as the "dark yellow" helps in establishing values. That'll let you use darks where you don't have Indigo in the mixture and still keep to your primary palette.

08-12-2010, 07:20 PM
Nice color swatches. Love the feather!

08-12-2010, 09:56 PM
Great start Herb, look forward to seeing how you progress!

08-22-2010, 10:45 PM
Thanks for the feedback, guys! Been doodling for several pages. Here's something I thought would be fun to do. Lost some subtleties in the scan. Done with my nine-pencil palette...three red, three yellow, three blue. Didn't include the white Neocolor. Planned to but miscounted my spaces. Ha!


08-23-2010, 12:24 PM
This is gorgeous! I love how you did this with your primary palette, that makes it amazing. You got the hues so accurately!

I have a 12 color set and know why you forgot the white one - it's because they put one of the sticks going across the others and make the tin a little wider in that direction. The white one's probably in the slot going across the tin. Mine had the black in the sideways slot but it's natural to move them around after using them. Mine has the tray facing with the sideways slot up by the hinge but it's also natural to take the tray out and put it back the other way - it'd fit the same.

08-23-2010, 02:32 PM
No, scans don't do justice to works. They're evil.

I like your works you're doing so far. Especially, doing artwork on colorful art materials are actually good subjects to do. Beautiful and vibrant.

08-23-2010, 07:00 PM
Looks great! :) By the way, my scanner is horrible! It always never scans the way I want it to when it comes to putting my artwork up here.

08-23-2010, 08:32 PM
Thanks, Robert, Rachel, and Crystal. Not to belabor the point but I had time to take a photo this evening. I think it is much more representative and captures more of the color play. (Could have done a better job modeling, etc., etc.)




08-23-2010, 08:54 PM
Very cool project, Herb! Although, since I tend to be someone who never met a tube or pencil color that I didn't 'need' in my palette, I'm feeling a bit guilty here. :)

08-23-2010, 09:05 PM
Herb, I love that! Those colours look beautiful and it is such a fun little sketch, I am surprised you can achieve that with red/yellow/blue alone ;)

08-24-2010, 03:03 PM
That is just so cool. And a great way to work the triad of colors to achieve the rest of the colors.

08-24-2010, 10:55 PM
I'll probably regret doing this sketch publicly, but here goes anyway. I wanted to sketch my beat up old planner, which is just various shades of brown. I thought I would record the steps. Here are the first few steps showing fewer than 10 minutes of sketching so far.

Step 1: Graphite Sketch

Step 2: Coloursoft Acid Yellow in light areas

Step 3: Coloursoft Lemon Yellow in mid-tone and dark areas

Step 4: Coloursoft Deep Cadmium in darkest areas

Next update I'll try to make some beautiful greens.



08-25-2010, 12:40 PM
I love this idea. A great use- theme- for some of the several small sketchbooks I have. Also a good excuse to buy more special sketchbooks. The red-yellow-blue is a neat challenge and seems even a bit relaxing when overwhelmed with too many color choices, like after a long workday. Keep it up!

08-25-2010, 05:52 PM
Herb you are doing wonderful things with your few colours. I never would have thought it possible. The neocolours came out so well, you did an excellent job of mixing the colours. Thanks for sharing the steps of your planner sketch, off to an interesting start. You are sharing your secrets... I am watching carefully :)

08-25-2010, 10:04 PM
Here's another 10 minutes or so of sketching...

Step 5: Coloursoft Blue

Step 6: Indigo

Step 7: More Lemon Yellow, Deep Cadmium, and Indigo

Step 8: Deep Red

08-25-2010, 10:26 PM
Very cool. Thanks for sharing your technique.

08-26-2010, 01:13 AM
Thanks for sharing this. Could I ask, what sort of pencil sharpener do you use? When you're out and about with you're journal.

08-26-2010, 07:17 PM
OK. Starting to make some progress now. Put on some Blood Orange over the greens last night. Took about a minute. Almost starting to see some brown now.

FMC, I have a nice Panasonic KP-350 auto-stop electric pencil sharpener that I rarely ever use. I'm afraid I'm one of those pocket-knife guys. :o See my R-Y-B pencil palette below.

Step 9: Blood Orange

The pocket-knife sharpened pencils...

More to come...


08-27-2010, 01:01 AM
Thanks for that Herb. I have a full set of coloursoft just waiting to be used. I've often thought of putting an outdoor sketching set together, hopefully I will get inspiration and ideas following this thread.

08-27-2010, 09:58 AM
Hi, FMC.

I have all the lightfast Coloursoft (BWS 6, 7, and 8) and I'm thinking of adding the Ultramarine which is BWS 5/6. (See color charts below, although the colors are not true to life.)

I found I rarely used most of the colors as I prefer a blend that's lively and has some depth to a flat color.

The palette I normally use is as followsó

C020 Acid Yellow (my green yellow)
C030 Lemon Yellow
C040 Deep Cadmium (my orange yellow)
C090 Blood Orange (my orange red)
C100 Rose
C130 Deep Red (my violet red)

I'd prefer to use the Deep Fuchsia as my violet red for mixing, but it is fugitive.

C300 Indigo (my green blue, opaque, a little goes a long way!)
C330 Blue
C370 Pale Blue (a violet blue, but very transparent)
C410 Dark Green (my blue green)
C420 Green (my yellow green)
C590 Ochre (who can live without it?)
C600 Mid Brown (pretty close to burnt sienna)

The weakness of the Coloursoft selection, I think, is that they do not have a good lightfast violet or violet blue. Their C230 Pale Lavender is lightfast but to my eye is a dull, lifeless violet. I am thinking of adding C290 Ultramarine to serve as my violet blue, which I think would probably yield some decent violets.

These are just my thoughts, of course. I'm certainly no expert.




08-27-2010, 05:32 PM
Reds and violets are a lightfast problem in other lines of colored pencil as well. Ultramarine may be a good solution. Give it a try.

08-27-2010, 10:46 PM
Well, I've dragged this out long enough that even I'm tired of it. Here are the last few steps. It didn't turn out quite as I envisioned...but then they rarely do. :lol: One of the problems I have with R-Y-B is that I often run out of tooth before I can get the color I'm after.

Step 10 Blue:

Step 11: Lemon Yellow

Step 12: Deep Red and Blood Orange

Step 13: Deep Cadmium

Step 14: Indigo and Blue

Step 15: Deep Cadmium and Blood Orange

Step 16: Several repeated applications of previous blues and reds

Finally...From here I used the sticky stuff to lift out highlights and worn areas. I just threw some color on the zipper pull...regrettably. :o And this is all the time I'm going to spend on this exercise. It's actually darker in real life. Probably should have waited for some daylight to photograph.



08-28-2010, 03:40 AM
Hi Herb I have limited access to a computer at present but managed to get on briefly yesterday and list your selection on coloured pencils and have started messing about with them. Thank you for the information. I have been trying to copy a grey metel helmet from a book cover. Which has been intresting as I live in a motorhome and was parked on the side of a road in town. Trying not to attract attention by keeping the lights off but was modestly impressed by my efforts of drawing in the gloom. might do a bit more later now the daylights here (thick fog Plymouth seafront).
cheers Frank

08-28-2010, 03:23 PM
The photo of your little Neocolor II tin drawing comes out a lot brighter and truer, thanks for posting it. I liked it anyway and now it's just brilliant.

Gorgeous work on your old brown planner! Thank you for showing all of the stages, that's a fantastic project. I can see why you got a bit tired of it by the end, but it came out so well and the leather texture is wonderful.

08-28-2010, 03:43 PM
While it may not be what you envisioned, it does look like a worn leather planner. Nice finish. Thanks for sharing your steps.

08-29-2010, 09:07 PM
Thanks, guys.


08-30-2010, 03:17 AM
Lucky Seven! How did you get such lovely darks on the pips of the dice? Indigo blue?

Vivien Maloney
08-30-2010, 03:33 AM
Love the Neocolor II sketch. I've been using these a lot lately and really like them. Your sketch of them is so full of color. Great job on your other sketches as well.

08-30-2010, 09:42 AM
Thanks, Viv.

Debby, the "black" is Indigo, Dark Green, and Cranberry. (I recently decided to substitute Cranberry for the Deep Red I was using as my "violet red".

08-30-2010, 12:58 PM
Great dice sketch, I love the strong values and soft red background. Gorgeous super darks on the pips and the soft textured application. Thanks for listing the colors used. I've got a full set of Coloursoft too, so I might try that mix sometime, it's great. So much livelier than using black.

08-30-2010, 01:01 PM
Nice dice and planner, Herb! I have a technical background, and so could easily spend tons of time delving into the details of the colors of various media - it is a fascinating subject. I've been trying to focus more on the making art aspect, but every so often dealing with the colors is great fun. Particularly with watercolors, I have color swatches of all the colors from several manufacturers that I have (a lot of total colors!). I have recorded some 'recipes' for various colors that I use in landscape painting as well so I don't forget them when I happen to hit upon a color mix I like. When I was first starting in watercolor, I even took a full watercolor sheet and constructed a glazing matrix. Color 1 - the underpainting color - across the top, and Color 2 - the glazing color - across the left hand side. With at least forty colors, maybe more, I then painted the whole chart. It took hours of work, but was fascinating. I took it to one workshop I attended that had to do with color, and everyone in the class thought I was a loony-toon (there may be some truth to that, I suppose :lol: ) for having spent that much effort on it. Haven't taken anything on quite that big yet since then, but the siren's call is always there.