'Using black paper as the base for a drawing can be extremely rewarding and very dramatic,' says Fiona Peart.

'Coloured pencils need to be soft with a high pigment content to sit cleanly on the black surface. They are a clean medium to work with, so if you lean on the paper you won’t smudge your artwork and for those of you who don’t like to get messy, soft pencils are wonderful'.

Demonstration: Curious Betty

Step 1
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Drawing a sheep on black paper








Using the cream pencil, draw a simple outline of the sheep.

Avoid any details at this stage; just position the head on the paper.

Using a brush, mix the gouache with a little water so that it resembles the consistency of milk, and paint the bright highlights onto the sheep. Don’t worry if it looks a bit streaky, this just adds texture later.

Top tip - Practise first!

If you use the gouache too thick, the pencil will just glide over the top of it later – so practise on a spare sheet of paper first. Paint the gouache on the paper. Let the paint dry then, using a dark colour, make sure you can colour on the top of the dry paint.

Step 2

How to draw a sheep on black paper








Using yellow green and iced blue and a scribble technique, block in the dark tones. Sections of the paper should remain untouched. This is not a ‘colouring in’ or blending technique.

Any initial guidelines will begin to disappear as you work over them. Use more pressure and more lines where a lighter tone is needed and fewer where you want a darker tone.

Top tip

Remember, you are working in reverse; so apply less pigment to keep the darks. Usually we need to apply more pigment to create the darks.

Step 3

Draw a sheep on black paper

Using the cream pencil again, begin to adjust the tones, lightening the areas close to the gouache to create a softer merging of the tones.

Go over some of the areas previously done with iced blue and yellow green; this will keep the general colour, but also lighten it.

The only areas not touched on the head are the very dark sections. Continue to apply iced blue into the background, working right up to the gouache painted areas.

Step 4

Coloured pencils to draw a sheep on black paper








Now introduce some warmth into the drawing. Apply deep fuchsia into sections of the blue and the green. The colours will merge and create mauve within the blue sections and a warm earth colour within the green areas.

Add some deep fuchsia into the background using a loose scribble technique.

Use royal purple to adjust the colour balance, especially in the darker areas, as this is a darker tone than the pink pencil.

Stage 5

Sheep on black paper using coloured pencils

Curious Betty, coloured pencil, (20X30cm)

Now add the eyes; this gives real character to the sheep. Begin by applying orange quite firmly to the iris, then add bright orange around the lower edge.

Put a small amount of royal purple into the pupil of the eye

Continue to build up the colours on both the sheep and the background, adding a little orange to the edge of the background to give a light source to the drawing.

Colour notes

Using complementary colours very close together will make the eyes appear brighter and more piercing.

The purple is a lovely dark tone, which makes the orange in the eyes appear more yellow.

The blue is too light a tone to put in the centre of the eye.