My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lesson 27 - Tahitian Girl - Sea

The sea is a little complicated to draw. First, you need to get the shape of the waves. Then you have three-sided reflections. The top reflects the sky. Each side of the wave reflects what it faces, so it's always exciting. Are you ready? Here we go.

1. Take White # 938 and lay in your sun reflection and the white tops of the waves.

2. Now take Warm Grey 90% and put your shadows in. I'm focusing on the darkness as the waves get further away, and the dark backside of the close waves.

3. Slate Grey # 936 is one of my favorite colors. It is a blue-grey and works great for water. I put it right over the top of the warm grey 90%, and fill in the area between waves, all except for highlighted areas. It's fun watching the waves begin to take shape here.

4. Ready for some warmth? We'll put in the sun reflection on the backsides of the waves, and around the sun reflection with Canary Yellow # 916. Make sure you leave some pure white in the center of the sun reflection so it sparkles.

5. Now we'll put the reflection from the sky around the sun. Take Peach # 939 and gently lay it in. Be careful, because it's easy to overkill. Your strokes should be very light and very even.

6. I'm liking the feel of the waves, but it's still too light. It's better to start light, because you can always go darker, which we will. Take Indigo Blue # 911, which is a very dark blue. Go into the back waves and lay it on thick. Taper the intensity as you bring it forward, still keeping your strokes smooth and even. At this point, it's important to keep your pencil very sharp, so you fill in any texture on your board or paper with the tip, not by pressing hard.

7. All right, I'm happy with the intensity now. The darkness in the back gives the illusion of distance. Now we're ready to do some refining. Using Deco Blue #1015, smooth over the top of the front three quarters of the sea, going over everything except the sun reflection. This is a medium-light blue. As you go over the previous colors, it will mix with them, tainting the sea, but also giving unity. Taper your strokes into the deep indigo blue in the back, but don't go all the way. We still want the dark intensity at its best back there.

8. Now we're ready to polish it off. Using White, Cream, and Peach, go back and emphasize the highlights on the waves.  Then take your Colorless Blender and smooth any areas of the sea that are grainy. Voila, your sea becomes liquid.

Next week: We begin the skin! Hooray!!!


  1. Gorgeous! Simply gorgeous! You amaze me.

  2. Thanks, Leisha. I'm so excited to finally work on the skin. It's dessert!

  3. Wow. It's magic the way they just come alive. Wow.

  4. Thanks, Lydia. It feels like magic and it's completely learnable. I love watching others do it - that's where the magic is for me!

  5. JUST gorgeous, Jonene! Did you take a class to lean layering? I don't layer, I just do it all at once--you know, like a child with crayons? I've never learned technique. Need to enroll in a class. Thanks for sharing your talent, girl!


  6. Elizabeth, thanks! I learned layering from a book and just trying it out. It's fun once you get the hang of it. Classes are a great help, too. I've learned some of my best tips by taking private lessons from artists, whose work I really admire.

  7. I think I know what kind of grey you are talking about with Slate Grey # 936. It is a very beautiful king od blue-grey. I once saw that color for real. I was on a trip in Argentina, and got one of those buenos aires apartments in the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. I don´t know if it was the reflection of the sun or what, but the water looked that way. Amazing huh?

  8. Nikki, yes, I quite agree. When my husband and I flew over the Pacific on our way to Hawaii, the sea was the perfect slate color. So awesome! Thanks for providing the link. The apartments look fun. I hope you had a good trip!


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