Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Layering Colored Pencils – Magical Effects Step by Step

This week, I have a new spread for my colored pencil journal, and it’s based on layering colored pencils. I share detailed photos so that you can try this too!

Frozen - a spread in a colored pencil art journal  by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

This coloring technique creates magical looseness, even if it begins with very stiff shapes. Because layering the colored pencils is the key here, it’s important to keep the layers light because paper can’t hold color endlessly.

Step 1 – Set Atmosphere

Choose a color that sets the mood for the image. My choice was pink.

Step 1 of a fun colored pencil layering technique.

Color the background lightly, but leave some blank areas near the edges and where you want the focal point to be. The heart is my focal point.

The blank parts will allow you to include lovely color variations in the last layers. Color softly and avoid outlines so that the overall feel is magical from the first layer.

Step 2 – Add Pattern

Stick with the same pencil and continue the monotone look by coloring rings on the colored area.

Step 2 of a fun colored pencil layering technique.

Make sure that the rings are different in size and spread a little unevenly so that the result looks natural and interesting. Think about fabrics but not the easiest polka dots, but a bit more intricate design.

Monotone coloring.

Here’s a closeup of my rings. Again, I don’t use outlines but color them with short strokes that go in many directions.

Step 3 – Destroy

This step could be called “destruction” because now we color random shapes that don’t follow the previous layers at all. Bring in new bright colors. Color stripes, rectangles, random shapes, and lines freely.

Layering with colored pencils, work in progress.

You can go over the blank parts too but keep the focal point a little less untouched.

Step 3 of a fun colored pencil layering technique.

The idea is not to cover previous layers fully but to destroy their rhythm.

Detail of layers made with colored pencils.

Here’s a closeup of my work. The new shapes and lines have taken over, and the rings are not so well visible anymore.

Step 4 – Discover

Keep coloring, but now bring in darker tones too. Keep the layers light and shapes soft, but when you discover something that you like, highlight its edges with a darker color.

Step 4 of a fun colored pencil layering technique.

I didn’t use any green pencils in my spread, but it does have some green shades. Mixing black and yellow makes lovely olive green.

Now it’s also the time to bring some rings back to the foreground!

Layering with colored pencils. Creating natural and magical effects.

These rings remind me of perennial Bellis flowers!

Perennial Bellis flower

Here’s a closeup of digging out the rings – now flowers – with dark colors.

Highlighting with darker colors - a layering technique.

I don’t bring up all the rings, just some! This makes the layered look: some elements are covered and located further in the background, some come up to the foreground. The stiffness of the background pattern looks attractive when it’s combined with looser coloring.

Step 5 – Finish with Message

Your work will be finished when it delivers a message. The focal point, the heart in my case, is essential for achieving this. I like to work intuitively so that I don’t try to define the message right from the beginning but let the insight grow with the coloring. Here, I left the heart light and made it look icy and magical.

Step 5 of a fun colored pencil layering technique that brings a magical shine and depth.

First, I thought about this winter, how tough it has been to walk the dogs on icy roads, and how much I want spring to come. And then it hit me how ice must mourn when its life is coming to an ending. How between the first flowers, there’s a little block of ice, looking around, feeling isolated.

Frozen - a spread in a colored pencil art journal  by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

This little frozen heart is like a rare unicorn – reflecting the surroundings, introvertedly, like we all do when we are creating.

I find this kind of pondering an important part of art-making. That’s why I always try to end with a message even if viewers can freely find their explanations as well.

Fun Botanicum – Sign up Now!

From March 15 to May 15, 2022, I run an online class for us who are inspired by nature and fantasy and love plants. The class is called Fun Botanicum and we will draw fantasy plants by scribbling, doodling, and layering with colored pencils. Join us!

The early-bird sale ends soon! Early-bird price: 59 EUR, now 49 EUR. >> Sign Up Now!
The sale ends on Feb 20, 2022, at midnight PST.

Intuitive Coloring Explained + Extended Black Friday Sale!

This week, I have a new free video for you, inspiration from my drawing classes, and there’s also an extended Black Friday Sale going on! Exciting!

Extended Black Friday Sale – Shop Here!

Online art classes by Peony and Parakeet. Drawing classes and more.

All classes are 25% OFF!

Now is the time to get the classes you have been thinking about!
>> Shop Here!

The sale ends on Nov 29, midnight PST.

Intuitive Coloring Explained – Watch the Video!

This video is an excerpt of the live speech that I gave for my art community Bloom and Fly this month. It introduces a fresh way to think about drawing and coloring. Lots of art-making inspiration is packed into this 6-minute video!

The classes mentioned in the video – Intuitive Coloring, Inspirational Drawing, Animal Inkdom, and Magical Inkdom, as well as all my painting classes – are 25% OFF during the extended Black Friday Sale. >> Shop Here!

More Inspiration from My Drawing Classes

The longer I draw, the more things come together. Not only so that I find more inspiration from the individual previous pieces, but also so that they describe a world that’s lively and ever-expanding. I also feel that my classes are like doorways to building a world of your own.

In Intuitive Coloring, we travel from one meadow to another lesson by lesson and play on the way.

Colored pencil art by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. She creates this in the class called Intuitive Coloring.
Intuitive Coloring has lots of different easy and gentle techniques that your colored pencils will enjoy!

In Animal Inkdom, we start with little creatures and the animals get bigger lesson by lesson.

Insects from the class Animal Inkdom. See Peony and Parakeet's drawing classes.

Insects and butterflies are simple to draw, but decoration makes them look fantastic!

A hand-drawn butterfly by Peony and Parakeet. From the class Animal Inkdom.

Animal Inkdom is one of my most popular classes, maybe because it’s so playful! I had to edit out some of the laughs and smiles because I had so much fun drawing these that it would be a bit disturbing! And after Animal Inkdom, I couldn’t stop, but made an independent sequel – Magical Inkdom!

Horses, wings, and frames from Paivi Eerola's Magical Inkdom. It's a lot of fun to mix and match all the hand-drawn parts. More drawing classes at Peony and Parakeet.
Horses, wings, and frames from Magical Inkdom. It’s a lot of fun to mix and match all the hand-drawn parts.

Art is a journey, so combining previous work with the new one, has often made me see new possibilities.

Paivi Eerola's drawing classes. Here's a cat from Magical Inkdom and a journal spread made from older collage pieces, inspired by the class Collageland.
Here’s a cat from Magical Inkdom and a journal spread made from older collage pieces, inspired by the class Collageland.

Inspirational Drawing is based on doodling and creating meshes from lines, but also on picking inspiration from images. I still collect inspirational images and use them indirectly in this way.

Inspirational Drawing - one of Paivi Eerola's drawing classes where inspirational images guide how you doodle.

All Classes Are 25% OFF!

Now is the time to get the classes you have been thinking about!
>> Shop Here!

The sale ends on Nov 29, midnight PST.

Life in a Colored Pencil Diary

Recently, my life has not been a life of a middle-aged woman, but of a female tiger. With a new puppy, we have tried to find a balance in the family, and it has felt like a fight sometimes.

A tiger and a peacock. A spread for a colored pencil diary. Art journaling without words. A fantasy illustration.

At some point in every evening, I become exhausted and demand my herd to calm down. It’s usually 21:34 exactly, so it seems that we run an accurate schedule.

Beagle puppy.

But there’s not much else accurate in our life, because the puppy requires us – like my husband kindly puts it – to go with the flow. We are not talking about a flow state here, but a flow of random things that keep the puppy either awake or asleep.

Drawing an oval.

I feel that the puppy is like a peacock which my husband, I, and our older beagle Stella stare at – the central character of our zoo who makes us happy or miserable, and often both at the same time.

Making of a colored pencil diary. Drawing a face with colored pencils.

We have had stress. Stella got ill and my oldest budgie Bonneville died, both sudden events.

Coloring a page for a visual diary.

But when Stella got back from the hospital, I began to think that we will survive. That the peacock sometimes looks like a dove, and that the rest of us can just admire its flight through the youth.

Cute beagle puppy

But that would be another page for my colored pencil diary!

Colored pencil diary by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Archer & Olive's blank notebook as a visual diary.

P.S. For more colored pencil inspiration, remember to sign up for Intuitive Coloring!

Intuitive Expression – Mix of Fantasy and Real

This week, I share a couple of pieces that I made in colored pencils and talk about intuitive expression.

Mischief-Maker - colored pencil art by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Intuitive expression in drawing.

I try to keep the everyday events out of my art, but it has been hard recently. We have a little mischief-maker who dominates the family life.

Beagle puppy.

Intuitive Expression in Colored Pencils

I started the piece with the techniques that I had developed for Intuitive Coloring. I really enjoy coloring this way.

Coloring freely and intuitively. Getting most out of intuitive expression. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

The more I worked on the picture, the more clear it became that Saima, our puppy, is there in a form of a bird!

A detail of a colored pencil drawing by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Saima has very expressive eyes that reach my heart and soul. But she definitely has ideas of her own!

A beagle puppy.

Look at that little girl! No wonder that real life inspires my art currently.

Mixing Outer and Inner World

“Hey, Paivi,” I said to myself. You can’t just share puppy pics! Make another drawing that’s not about the puppy.”

So I started this one, deliberately not so freely as the first one. But as soon as I put all kinds of things hanging from the horse, I realized that it’s like Saima carrying all kinds of stuff!

Colored pencil drawing in progress.

But then, I thought about nomads, bonfires, dark nights, and a wilderness. Despite being a homebody in the outer world, I am a vagabond in the inner world!

Drawing horses in colored pencils. Combining intentional and intuitive expression.

I really like this idea of using geometric shapes to add tension and drama.

Fire - a colored pencil drawing by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. Colored pencil horse art.

The expression is very different from the fantasy horse that I made last week.

The Inspiration for Intuitive Expression

Creativity doesn’t make a difference between fantasy and real life. All inspiration is equal. I have been thinking about starting a dedicated journal for these kinds of pieces that begin from one end and reach another.

What do you think?

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for Intuitive Coloring!

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