Tips For Drawing a Yellow Labrador in Coloured Pencil on Pastelmat

Mar 15, 2024
Tips For Drawing a Yellow Labrador in Coloured Pencil on Pastelmat

This is Hugo, one of the latest tutorials for my Ignite Membership and I loved drawing him, but I got a lot of questions about how I create his vibrant yellow fur! This is why I’m sharing my colour choices, some of the techniques I used when drawing him, and why layering is so important when drawing on Pastelmat.


Colour Choices:

I started with an Apricot Pablo as the initial layer in a lot of areas of this piece as it worked beautifully and then continued to build up the base layers with a range of oranges, creams and browns. This creates a lovely soft surface that you can then bring your details in.

In his ear area and the top of his head, I brought in a range of Polychromos and Pablos. Colours such as terracotta and Burnt Ochre with a Cream Pablo on top for the hair details worked really well. Also introducing colours like Brown Ochre and Burnt Umber from the Polychromos range as, although they’re not the prettiest colours, they’re good at balancing out some of those red and orangey tones so you have a nice balanced yellow lab colour.

For some of the shadows around the neck, you can see some beautiful greeny colours coming through and to create those I added Raw Umber from the Luminance range. I will say, make sure to make your shadows dark enough. Sometimes it can seem scary, but it’s really important because otherwise, they won't look like shadows.

If you want to hear my colour choices for his nose, make sure to watch the video at the top of this page.


Techniques and Layering:

One of the main challenges, when people start to use Pastelmat, is that they dive straight in with the details and in reality, it’s way simpler and easier if you ignore the details to begin with and get all of your values in with layers and then your details are really quick to add on top. Stay conscious of the different tonal values that appear within a subject like a yellow lab such as where there are dips under the eyes and cheek area, you’re going to want darker values there.

Another technique I use is trying to bring some of the texture in from the start. So, when you’re adding your first layer of colour, follow the fur direction and add a bit of texture. I find this helps me to get a feel for the structure of the animal I’m drawing and it can help limit the “ugly stages”.

Because this drawing is on Pastelmat, the light over dark technique is going to work just beautifully. It’s one of my favourite things about Pastelmat because, by layering light and then dark and then light, you can really blend and smooth the colours, which covers the graininess of the surface and leaves you with a really beautiful result. It’s also really great for when you get to adding those light hair details and whiskers because the abrasive surface will allow you to lay the light colour on top.


This tutorial is a really fabulous tutorial for understanding the concept of layering on Pastelmat, so if you’re one of my Ignite members, make sure you go and look at this tutorial. If you’re not an Ignite member but would like to be, you can find out more and join my waitlist here.

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