Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

How to Color like Monet – Step by Step Instructions

This week, I share the newest spread in my colored pencil journal and show how to make pages in Claude Monet‘s style.

Color like Monet, a spread in a colored pencil journal by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

This project is just simple flowers in a vase, but the layering of colors in an impressionistic style makes it special.

Supplies – Colored Pencils and Paper

I used watercolor pencils but mostly dry, so you can have any colored pencils for this project. My selection has some fancy Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle pencils, but mostly old Staedler Karat watercolor pencils.

Watercolor pencils.

Karat pencils are getting so short that I need an extender for convenient coloring, but they look endearing and I want to give them a long life!

Step 1 – Color Circles Across the Page

Let’s begin with circles. Color a variety – full circles, half-circles, hollow and filled ones, big and small! Pick only a few colors first, and only fill a diagonal that goes across the paper.

Step 1 of Color Like Monet, step by step instructions for colored pencils.

Color lightly so that you can add more layers on the top later. If you have watercolor pencils, you can spread the colors with water.

Step 2 – Color Short Stripes on the Top

Color short stripes over the circles. Now you can use a wider variety of colors and enlarge the size of the colored area.

Step 2 of Color Like Monet, step by step instructions for colored pencils.

I arranged my pencils so that they are grouped by color families. It helped a lot in this project, especially for the color areas in the next step.

Step 3 – More is More!

Continue coloring circles and stripes in various sizes and colors so that they fill the paper.

Step 3 of Color Like Monet, step by step instructions for colored pencils.

You can have so short and tiny stripes that they are more like spots. Stripes can go in different directions. Change the orientation of the paper once in a while.

Archer and Olive blank notebook as an art journal. Using colored pencils outdoors.

Even if you color tiny elements, divide the page into big areas. The diagonal in Step 1 is one of them. Each area can have many layers and colors but decide which color will dominate. For example, I have a blue area on the left bottom corner.

Step 4 – Color a Dark Vase

Color dark stripes on either side of the centerline to form a vase. Leave some space between the stripes so that it looks like it’s dark glass.

Step 4 of Color Like Monet, step by step instructions for colored pencils.

You can also add some shadows below the vase to make it look more like Monet’s work. I used blue for them.

Step 5 – Highlight the Best Flowers

Add more bright colors and details to make a few flowers that catch the eye more than others.

Step 5 of Color Like Monet, step by step instructions for colored pencils.

I don’t draw any outlines, but continue to color freely in short strokes.

Step 6 – Make Sure That You Have Enough Variety

Color more so that you have a wider variety of colors and shapes. See how I have used both vertical and horizontal stripes on the left top corner. They look a bit like windows or trees. Monet often had abstract elements like these in his work.

Step 6 of Color Like Monet, step by step instructions for colored pencils.

When you color more, make sure that blank paper isn’t visible everywhere. Color lightly over the areas that are less important. When they don’t have any bright white, the overall impression is less busy.

Step 7 – Finishing Like Monet

Go through your colorings one more time. Color lightly over large areas to make them look more unified and add dark spots near the best details so that they become more noticeable.

Archer and Olive notebook as an art journal. A spread in a colored pencil journal.

Here’s a closeup of the finished work – lots of small dots, stripes, and layers!

Layering with colored pencils.

Colored pencils are very versatile. You can really color like Monet! I like this painterly look a lot.

A closeup of a colored pencil journal by Paivi Eerola.

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

P.P.S. Thank you all who have signed up already, we will have a lot of fun!

14 thoughts on “How to Color like Monet – Step by Step Instructions

  1. What about starting off with watercolor circles then proceeding with the colored pencils? I have arthritis in my right hand and the thought of all those minute stokes makes my hand ache 😬

  2. I love these step-by-step instructions! The way you break down the image makes them so instructive, not to mention inspirational. I used to draw and paint all the time as a child and I remember how happy it made me. I’ve started an art journal to try to reconnect with that feeling now as an adult. So stumbling onto your page felt like fate was giving me a nudge. This project feels like the perfect place to start drawing again. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  3. The light shining on the flowers is really beautiful! This piece looks like an impressionistic painting. Wow!

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