Techniques and Tips

Burnishing on Black: Free Colored Pencil Demo with Gary Greene

Burnishing on Black: Free Colored Pencil Demo with Gary Greene

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Gloxinia on Black
The technique of burnishing layers a sequence of colors, mixing them together with white or other light colors, repeating the sequence until the surface is covered with pigment. For optimum results, use soft, wax-based pencils and, as always, add color gradually. For this demonstration, the gloxinia’s color was intentionally changed from the reference photo’s pink-red hues to violet.

Sanford Prismacolor
Apple Green, Cool Grey 10%, 20%, 30%, 90%, Dark Green, Greyed Lavender, Kelp Green, Lavender, Limepeel, Olive Green, Parma Violet, Violet, White
Paper Surface
Black 4-ply museum board

Reference photo

Step 1 The Layout
Although graphite layout lines are nearly invisible on a black or dark surface, they will not be when color is added if they are not sufficiently erased. Color outlines should also be drawn as lightly as possible, and then erased before adding color because they will be permanently conspicuous. That being said, special care must be taken when erasing dark surfaces because erasures can show in bare areas.

Step 2 Layer the Petals
Using linear strokes, layer Lavender, Parma Violet, White and Violet. Adjust values with Greyed Lavender, Cool Grey 10%, 20%, 30% and 90%.

Step 3 Burnish the Petals
Using more pressure, re-apply Lavender, Parma Violet, White, Greyed Lavender, Cool Grey 10%, 20%, 30%, Violet and Cool Grey 90%. Repeat as necessary.

Step 4 Go for the Green
Layer the sepals and stem with Dark Green, Olive Green, Limepeel, Apple Green and Cool Grey 90%. Layer the leaves with Dark Green, Kelp Green, Olive Green, Limepeel, Cool Grey 90% and Cool Grey 30%.

Step 5 Finish the Leaves, Sepals and Stem
Using more pressure, re-apply Cool Grey 90%, Kelp Green, Olive Green, Limepeel and Apple Green to the sepals and stem. Lightly layer the veins with Cool Grey 50% and the depressions adjacent to the veins with Cool Grey 90%. Using more pressure, re-apply Cool Grey 90%, Kelp Green, Olive Green and Limepeel to the leaves. Adjust the dark values with Cool Grey 90%. When the surface is adequately covered, lightly draw the leaf edges with Cool Grey 30%. Lightly layer the leaves’ velvet sheen areas with Cool Grey 50%.

Gary Greene has been working as a professional artist continuously since 1967. Gary works in numerous mediums, both digital and traditional, but colored pencil has been his artistic passion since 1983. The Ultimate Guide to Colored Pencil is his tenth book for North Light Books, the fifth on colored pencil. His colored pencil books are available at


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Watch the video: BURNISHING VS SOLVENT! Which Is Better? Coloured Pencil Blending Tutorial (June 2022).


  1. Azeem

    Unfortunately! Unfortunately!

  2. Kihn

    Congratulations, great thought

  3. Coilleach

    I think this is an excellent idea. I agree with you.

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