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.
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.
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.
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.