These are the main Sections of the Site

These are the other Topics within this section

This ( above)  is the finished image from my original photo, and is the first version I completed of this picture.

It was worked with Faber Castell Polychromos Coloured  Pencils over an initial colour wash from Staedtler Karat Watercolour Pencils on Daler Rowney Langton 300gsm watercolour paper.  The paper has a satin finish - not too smooth - and therefore enables you to show the stonework well.  Choose too smooth a paper and you will get detail without the effect of the granite stone surface.

The second version is shown below and was completed on cartridge paper.  Different combinations of colours were used on the stone and the landscape has also been varied quite a bit.  Different techniques were also used for the sky.

The background is of less importance.  The stone is the reason for the exercise.

You will notice that the sky is much more satisfactory in the first version.  Working a sky in watercolour pencil wash is always a gamble - you never know how it will turn out.

Sometimes it will work out well and then sometimes it will prove to be a mess.  Working in dry colour is much more reliable, though not always as successful

Part of my reference photo is shown here, and you may wish to download the PDF version as well as a PDF outline to get the general shapes correct on your working surface.

The links to the PDF files are here ......

PDF of the reference photo

PDF of the outline drawing

You will have noted that the First version of the picture is more rectangular in shape and includes more of the background scene.  The choice is entirely yours whether you opt for version 1 or 2 for your finished picture

You are recommended to use the photo and transfer  the image across by tracing a partial image with coloured pencil and then redraw with reference to the original photo.  Firstly, bear in mind that working the stone surface works better with a paper with some tooth.  You will also need to consider how you are going to do the sky. In my original painting I used stretched watercolour paper and a wet wash of blue made from W/C pencils.  You may wish to try the dry method which depends on using dry point CP which is blended in with felt or a blender and where the cloud edges can be lifted out with an eraser.  Trial the paper and the sky options first before taking a decision.

Remember to flatten out the bases of clouds and watch out as they approach the horizon where they will appear to be flatter and stacked closer together.

My original tutorial notes take up the story ...............

Sky completed using wax type pencils rubbed in from a palette of colour with a piece of white felt and the clouds lifted out later with an eraser

Sky underpainting using a wash of colour from watercolour pencils.  When it works well, it is far superior to dry pencil.

With the sky in position, I suggest that you next tackle the background moor.

In this sample (below), I used watercolour pencil dry to lay down an initial light underlayer of colour which can later be softened with a damp brush and the colours merged.  If you chose to stay with dry colour, your final result will not have such strong colours.  

Omit all the stone at this stage.

You will note that I am building some fairly strong tints on the paper to provide a basis for later dry colour.  If the colours appear too strong when you come to apply the dry pencil, you can reduce the impact by lifting some of the excess colour with a pad of damp clean kitchen paper.

Let the paper dry again before adding wax pencil ,though.

This is another version of the same picture with some early working of a second layer of dry colour into the landscape and sky shown below

You can then work forward into the grasses in the foreground, but omit the stones so that all the granite surfaces are left as white paper.

Make sure that you erase any surplus lines ( leaving only those in the stones which indicate changes of surface, shadows or cracks ) If using W/C pencils, carefully blend in the dry pigment with a damp brush keeping your brush moving in the direction of the surface you are painting.

Your aim should be to complete all the background picture first

you can now apply some dry point CP to the moor and foreground, building up the layers.

Keep those background hills blue and faded out - apply a layer of white over the top if your colour gets too strong and then add a further light layer of grey blue if necessary.  

Leave all the stone surfaces white

Don’t forget to apply a layer of dark shadow to the foot of the tree areas to give that 3D effect of the light falling from the left hand side so that the shadowed areas match that of the sunlight on the main stone.

All this is merely scenery behind and around our main feature, but the green will balance the rich stone

Your background will differ from mine as you will either be working from the photo or from your own inspiration.

I have not stayed too close to the reference for the landscape.

For the stones, you will first need to practice with the colours you have available on a piece of scrap paper the same as you are using for the picture.  The development of the stone surface depends on building up overlapping lightly applied circles starting with white in the lightest areas,  adding a light warm grey  or starting with the warm grey for mid shaded area,  warming this up with green gold

( very lightly applied ) and then working darker shades of warm greys finishing off with dark sepia for the darkest shadow areas.

A lot will depend on the pencils you are using and the paper surface.  For the sample shown here, I used Polychromos and Daler Rowney Langton paper.

Colour enhanced above to show method.  In actual use, keep colour application very light as shown to the right here.

This is one of the oldest tutorial exercises that I completed, and whilst the picture has been worked twice in Coloured Pencil, on neither occasion was it scanned for a step by step example.

I set out to work it a third time as a step by step, so that the illustrations could be used for the notes, but interruptions led to the notes eventually being completed from a range of sources.  I have now re-written the notes for the web page and the old notes sheet will be discontinued for courses.

In this second version the stone takes a more central position and the picture relates more closely to the reference

Now we get to the important bit ..............

This is a scan of a repeat working of the stone, using Polychromos colours

You will see in stage 1, that I have started with a warm grey 1,  Bistre, and dark sepia.  There is no colour yet on the light areas.  Successive lightly applied layers of pigment are applied, working on the sunlit areas last.  Test your darkest darks on a sample sheet before applying to the deep cracks. Avoid black if possible.

Keep working more layers and adjusting for colour and density as you go.

You can lift out excessive pigment with white tac, or add more cream as a burnish to lighten slightly. Here we have further layers using cream, brown ochre and warm grey 3 & 6.  The actual colours you use are not vital, just ensure you work light layers of suitable shades until you have a good balance between stone and background

Here (left) is a close up of the stone worked on the first (letterbox shape) version.

Below is a close up of the same area on the second (square) version.  Note the different colours selected and the slight differences in the way the cracks and lighter areas are shown.

You can then go on and complete the collection of smaller stones spread about the area.  Make sure the light is consistent and that when you finish the picture the main stone contrasts darkness of stone against the light of the sky

and lower down the lightness of the stone against the darkness of the landscape.  

The stone should be a middle tone.

I have done several versions of this picture

and each time the combination of colours for the

stone and the landscape has been different.  

Here’s wishing you the best of luck with your efforts.  

Dry Watercolour pencil

MoistenedWatercolour pencil


Dartmoor ( Near Manaton ) DEVON  

United Kingdom

Next Page



Dartmoor  Devon