Color Finding

Part of my homework for Level 3 Art and Design is to work on color finding. Mainly, I am supposed to do this with colored pencil but I’m using other media as well. I take something from nature and then try to replicate the exact color with layers of colored pencil. I find this exercise quite a challenge.

Here are four that I did in class. It’s really hard to get the correct color let alone the right value. And there are so many different greens to choose from.


So on my daily walks, I pick up something small to sketch and to find the colors. This one is a tamarack pine. It’s a pine tree that loses its needles in the fall, they turn a golden, almost yellow orange color in the fall and then drop off. While I was visiting New York City, I visited a small shop called CW Pencils. It was a delightful shop and I purchased some water soluble graphite pencils, a stub holder and a pencil sharpener. The sketch of the tamarack is done with water soluble graphite pencil. I did add a bit of water to the stem but left the needles alone.

The next try was lichen on a small branch. It’s hard to see the colors on this one but they were pretty close. It’s just there is so much darkness in between the little lichen bits it’s hard to see. I did the sketch with sepia pen and white colored pencil. This was about filling in the negative space with the dark background and leaving the lighter spaces with just a little bit of color.

And this is the one I did this morning. It is done with permanent ink pen and water color. I am really enjoying getting back into a better habit of sketching and finding color in nature. I’m also working on circles and octagons but I’ll show those next time. Have a great weekend!

16 thoughts on “Color Finding

  1. I’m always amazed at how many different greens there are. I have umpteen reels of ‘green’ thread but often I don’t have the exact colour for a sewing repair job!
    Your patience has paid off – your colour match sketches are good – and the oregon grape is amazing.

  2. Ha, I was thinking something similar to Lyn, I had the same problem with greens last week. That Oregon Grape is amazing, Ruth! I love your photos of your studies, they’d make really unique greetings cards.

    • Thanks! It is a fun way to look at color and then try to reproduce it. The pencil store was mainly pencils, did have sharpeners, erasers and a few notebooks but mostly pencils. It was a wonderful little store.

  3. Lovely layers of color!. Such a fine way to exercise the eyes, brain and hands.
    Currently I’m working with natural dyes and silk, aiming for a variety of greens. Beautiful, honest greens are challenging. Your post is very encouraging….:)

    • Thanks Laura, it is a good exercise always trying to see something new. Good luck with your variety of greens from natural dyes. I would love to see your samples.

  4. I can’t imagine trying to recreate those colors with pencil. It’s a good thing you’re not afraid to try other techniques. I’ve never heard of a pencil store either.

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