French Grey 30% was the next color used to darken the shadows on the tree trunks. I'm wanting a gradual blending of the colors, so I placed the French Grey 30% only in the center area of the French Grey 10% previously applied along the left side of the trees, and I colored in the top half of the shaded areas under the black bumps on the trunks. For the shadows coming across the trunks from the branches on the right side of the trees, I darkened only about the right half of the previously shaded areas, closest to the branches.
The trunks need to be clean with no residue from the previous colors. I used a kneaded eraser.
French Grey 10% is the first color applied to the Aspen trunks. It's a very light gray. The sun is shining in from the right side, high up in the trees, so I will darken the left side of the trunks and leave the right side white.
Branches and knots on the right side will cast shadows on the trunk.
To make the lines that encircle the trunk look three dimensional, I'm leaving a white strip above each line and I'll slowly darken the shadow beneath. It's difficult to see the progress at this point because this color is very light, but it will become more apparent as additional darker layers are added.
This view shows the French Grey 10% layer completed.
In this step, I once again used the Colorless pencil to smooth out and remove visible vertical lines, this time in the leaf areas. I used small circular motions on the leaves, being careful not to smudge the orange leaves into the yellow leaves. The trick here is to smooth and blend all of the leaves, but not all together. We are not wanting to create one big orange blur.
I also used the Colorless pencil on the tree branches. This eliminates any white paper which may still be showing under each branch and it gives the branches the appearance of wood, rather than separate pencil marks. I colored the branches in the direction of each limb.
It's difficult to single out specific individual changes which were made to the drawing in this step, but it creates a smoother, more natural feeling overall, even when it is inspected closely.
To complete the sky, I used a Colorless pencil to smooth out and remove the visual effect of the vertical lines. This is a Prismacolor pencil that is actually clear wax with no color added. It helps blend the individual lines of colored pencil to create a smooth, even color and texture. I used horizontal strokes and a fairly heavy pressure to blur the colors together. The sharpness of the pencil is not as important at this stage. In this view, I have left a small patch of sky unfinished to demonstrate the effects of the blending process.
This view shows the sky completely blended. Even the smallest blue areas require blending. Your dusting brush comes in very handy at this stage. As the clear layer is applied, small pieces of colored wax will flake off of the surface, leaving a mess and creating potential problems, if not carefully removed.
In this view, I have expanded the coverage of the previously listed colors over a wider area of the leaves, to darken the overall picture. This will make the Aspen trunks appear even brighter and really make them POP!
Burnt Ochre is the next color applied to the tree leaves. For now, this is the darkest color that I plan to use on the leaves; however, I may revise that later if I feel an even darker color is needed to add depth.
In the reference photo, the bright sunlight on the pale colored leaves has caused the camera lens to close down, making the trunks appear darker than the actually are. My objective in this drawing is to attempt to capture the bright white which Aspen bark has in nature, while maintaining the brilliant fall colors of its leaves in direct sunlight.
For this particular drawing, that becomes a balancing act to keep both trunks and leaves bright, without allowing the drawing to become too light and appearing washed-out.
At this point, it appears we need more contrast between leaves and trunks, so I will now go back and darken larger areas of the leaves with the same colors used previously, to provide that extra depth and balance.
Later, after I have completed the trunks, I will evaluate the overall drawing again to determine if an even darker color should be added to portions of the leaves.
The next color used was Mineral Orange, which I placed only over the darkest areas of the last color added, Spanish Orange. I left all other previously placed colors untouched. I used random directional strokes, but mostly circular strokes.
Again, it's important to keep your pencil sharp to be able to cover the previous layers.
Sunburst Yellow is the next color used for the leaves. I've left the leafy areas which are to be the brightest with the previous color, Cream. It's not necessary to attempt to draw in individual leaves. I'm only shading in the next darker area (which is everything to be made darker than the cream.)
Spanish Orange is the next color applied to the leaves. For most of this layer I used vertical lines to fill in the color; however, in those select areas where this will be the last color added to the leaves, I used a small circular motion instead of vertical lines, which creates the illusion of tiny leaves. It was not necessary to do that in the areas where very light colors are to remain exposed, because individual leaves are not distinguishable in very bright, sunlit areas.
I haven't decided at this point exactly what colors I'm going to use on the trunks. In the reference photo, the trunks appear to be fairly dark; however, one of the most striking qualities of Aspen trees is their bright white trunks, and that is what I want to bring out in this drawing.
The leaves will be brightly colored, and will affect the intensity required to accent the trunks, so I will complete the leaves next, and determine at that time whether to leave the trunks light or to darken them.
I started with a Cream colored pencil base for all of the leaf areas, which includes almost all of the board that still remains white. This step is fairly easy because you don't have to keep looking at the reference photo for guidance. You do have to be careful to not accidentally get this color on the aspen trunks. Where the cream touches the trunk, carefully erase any of the graphite pencil guide lines that may be left.
In large open areas, I used vertical strokes to fill in the base color; however, there are many small leaf areas that are surrounded by tree branches that would be very difficult to fill in using vertical strokes. Instead, I drew in the lines in those areas in the direction of the branches.
Some of the branches on the lower right side of the photo have a slight white highlight on the tops and right sides of them. I left those areas white. With colored pencils, the white is rarely used. It's best to use uncolored white paper to be the white in your illustration.
When I filled in the leaf areas adjacent to the dark blue sky, some of the blue bled into the cream color. This is not an effect we want in the finished drawing, but it is not a problem here, because there will be several more layers of oranges and yellows on top of the cream, so the blue will not show up eventually.
Dark Umber is the last color to be added to the branches for now. At this point, the branches look complete; however, later I will add Black to the areas that I feel need to be darkened, in order to add depth and balance to the drawing. Are you drawing these branches in your sleep?
Starving artist trying to get noticed...(and not starve)