Whew, big sigh of relief! I finally completed drawing Herman the lizard.

Here are a few tips I discovered along the way.

Top 3 things I learned from Herman

Start with an accurate line drawing! As my favorite artist Lisa from Lachri Fine Arts says all the time, you have to start with an accurate line drawing because it is not going to get any better when you add color. And poor Herman didn’t. I messed up his aspect ratio when I drew out the line drawing originally. This caused me to squeeze together a lot of his scales and shorten his mid-body. I don’t think anyone except an expert on lizards might notice. At least I hope not but it matters to me. Plus, it was really hard to stay on track of what area I was drawing because the sections didn’t completely match the source. My eyes kept jumping all around, which fatigued me and made the drawing process frustrating. Next time, I am going to spend more time upfront ensuring my subjects anatomical dimensions are accurate to the source photo. I am not going to let the excitement of starting a new project rush my efforts and negatively effect the outcome. In fact, I want to more thoroughly plan out future drawings versus just putting pencil to paper right away. I will blogging about my progress in future posts. I am going to focus on color blocking, adding dimension and using computer programs to simplify the process.

Tackler a smaller project first! Scales are tedious and require a ton of patience. It probably would have been a good idea for me to do a smaller project with less detail and color.

Lock in fine details with ink! I should have rendered the scales with a black rapidograph or some kind of permanent ink before I applied other colored pencils. Whenever I went to color over the black lines surrounding the scales, the black Prismacolor Verithin pencil I used would smear slightly. I eventually went over the black lines with a Prismacolor Premier black and even a harder woodless Koh-I-Noor Progresso black colored pencil. However, the scale lines never really stood out.

Colored pencil video tutorial on lizards

I normally try to find a colored pencil tutorial on my specific subject before I start drawing. I didn’t this time, but I thought I would look for some good videos to share with you guys. It was actually pretty hard to find a decent one on this subject.

I did; however, find this one below from Sheldene Fine Arts. I had the pleasure of working with Sheldene Visagie before when I scouted her for Autumn 2015 COLORED PENCIL Student Digest. You can find an article she wrote about how she creates memorial videos to accompany her CP dawings for paying clients on page 40. You can purchase past issues of the COLORED PENCIL Student Digest at http://coloredpencilmag.com/student/.


Melissa LeGates is a professional freelance writer and retired Air Force journalist. She specializes in long-form features and loves to write about living a victorious Christian life, art and health.

She is an avid blogger and currently maintains three blogs:

– PTSD/my first book “Set My Captives Free” launch at http://setmycaptivesfree.wordpress.com

– Writing career at http://melissalegates.wordpress.com

– The world of colored pencil art and artists at https://coloredpencilenthusiast.wordpress.com.

She and her husband live in Delaware. In her free time, she is a student of colored pencil, watercolor, acrylics and oils.

You can contact Melissa at malegates@gmail.com.

Sharing is caring!

If you like this article, please “like” this post and leave a comment to help others along the path in their journey.

Non-profits and fellow artists

If you are a non-profit organization or fellow artist, please feel free to share my articles on all social media outlets (as long as you keep my name and information intact). I would still appreciate a courtesy heads up. 

For-profit publications

If you work for a for-profit publication, please contact me first prior to publishing my work in a fee-based magazine, e-zine or newspaper.