Still Life Drawing in Crayon

Drawing a still life in color is a great exercise for learning fundamentals in drawing.

Techniques shown in this video include how to set up a still life, the basics of color theory, and a drawing technique using Caran d’Ache Neocolor 1 Crayons.

See how to select objects for a still life, using back drop cloths, strategies for creating dynamic compositions, and more. Demo led by Art Prof Clara Lieu.

Video Walkthrough

  • Benefits of doing a still life
  • Negative views of still life
  • Still life set ups are not difficult
  • Dutch Vanitas still life paintings
  • Pick objects you want to draw
  • Grocery shopping: find objects
  • Search for objects outdoors
  • ​Plan ahead with your objects
  • Common mistakes in still lifes
  • Objects: shape, color, size, etc.
  • Color saturation
  • Complementary color pairs
  • Warm & Cool colors
  • Light & Dark contrast
  • Background cloths
  • Height of objects in still life
  • Layering backdrops
  • Arranging: overlap, diagonals
  • Lighting a still life
  • Positioning your easel
  • Viewfinders: composition
  • Thumbnail sketches
  • Line sketch in yellow ochre
  • First layer of color: blocking in
  • Layering colors
  • Finishing: details & contrast
Still Life Crayon Drawing, banner

Prof Lieu’s Tips

Clara cartoon

This is very dorky advice, but I sometimes write down a checklist of things I want to be conscious of when I am going into an artwork, especially when I have specific goals I am trying to address.

My checklist might include warm/cool colors, light/dark contrast, texture, anything you want to target.

Still Life Drawing in Crayon, Clara Lieu, banner

In general, I like to have short term and long term goals for myself. Short term goals are what I want to do this week and next week, maybe I want to be looser and more gestural in my drawing approach. Long term, maybe I want my drawing process to be quicker and more efficient.

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