A Single Candle drawing in colored pencil

A single lighted orange candle in the darkness, the flame’s glow burning brightly.  Colored pencil on black paper, this is a study for a more complex still life drawing idea I have in mind.  The study turned out so nicely, I had to offer it up. 

color pencil study of A Single Candle on black paper, lighted orage pillar candle with flame the focal point
A Single Candle, 9 by 12 inch color pencil on black paper, original available

Original is 12 by 9 inch paper, and can be bought via Daily PaintWorks.  Prints are available at my Pixels store and accessories at my RedBubble store.

Technical drawing notes

Because I am asked by other artists wanting to try this technique, I thought I should share one very big tip and some smaller drawing tips I used to achieve this lighted candle effect. None of these are original – I found most in various YouTube videos on the subject – but here they are in one spot for reference.

  • Use a reference photo – this is mine
  • Outline where you want what on the drawing
  • On the brightest parts, use white pencil first for a base layer, fading to the black of the paper
  • For that pale yellow glow, lay down an underlayer of pale yellow before going over it with the intended color
  • for a visual example of the white underlayer, see my post on my Christmas Candle still life drawing

Lighted candle drawings

I’ll likely be doing even more drawings of lighted candles, because not only are they a fun challenge to draw or paint properly, but I just love watching a candle’s flame dance as the air moves around it. Also, I love trying to capture that warm glow of candlelight, not only in the flame itself but the way it lights all the objects around it. I especially intend to do some still life drawings featuring lighted candles, as those tend to be my favorite compositions.

Blue Dragonfly colored pencil drawing

A colored pencil drawing on toned paper, Blue Dragonfly shows a very common visitor to our property.  The dragonflies don’t tend to hold still long enough for me to take a couple dozen potential reference photographs in hopes of having one turn out decent, so I found the reference photo over on a site called Morguefile, which has thousands of copyright-free photos for artists and graphic designers to use.

This year we have seen a new color variation of dragonfly – in addition to the blues, the greens, and the copper/rust ones, I remarked the other morning that we have now seen a black dragonfly with yellow segments on the tail. They also have some stunning earth-tone red eyes, about the same shade as the burnt sienna in my oil paints.  Once I get a good enough grasp on the dragonfly body and wing shapes, I’ll try to draw one of those as well, but for this piece I decided to start with the most-familiar blue dragonfly.

colored pencil drawing of blue dragonfly resting on a strand of babr wire on tan toned paper with abstract green shapes as background
Blue Dragonfly, 9 by 12 inch colored pencil drawing on toned paper, original available

The original is available through Daily PaintWorks.  Prints are available at my Pixels store and prints and accessories are at my RedBubble store. My dad says this particular drawing is his favorite artwork I’ve done to date. Considering he has seen my drawings from age five on, that puts it above the couple thousand or so I’ve done the past four decades – so high praise from him.