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Rings & Circles design

drawing and coloring steps

by JuliannaKunstler.com

Lesson plan: Rings & Circles pattern design. Detailed tutorial with practice worksheets and instructional video.

Learning targets:

  • Repetition and patterns
  • 1-point perspective
  • Establishing a light source and applying value techniques
  • Colored pencils: shading and blending colors
  • Color schemes

We are going to start a free-form pattern design. It is quite simple to draw.
As any pattern, it will have a repeating element, which is going to be a ring or a circle.
I will show you the drawing and coloring steps and explain what approach I used for shading and coloring.
Let’s get started!

watch the video:



I am starting with drawing circles
Have them different sizes, they don't have to be aligned,,,

Draw bigger circles first.

Then just fill in the gaps with the smaller ones.
Something like this.

Once the initial circles are there, it’s time to add depth

Remember linear perspective?

So Have your stacks of circles go towards some imaginative vanishing point somewhere in the middle.

If you are not comfortable drawing with a marker right away, use a pencil first.

And as long as you are drawing with a pencil, lightly draw full circles, as if they are transparent.

This way you will get the curves right.

When done - outline all visible parts ONLY with a marker.

Just for fun, I’m adding a few more floating circles inside.
Because why not.

Complete the drawing in the same manner.

As you draw:

Vary the size of the circles

Bend the stacks to make them more organic

I decided to leave some empty space in the middle

After the ink is dry, erase all pencil marks.

And a small tip:

I use a dry-board eraser to remove the crumbs.

It works much better than cleaning with a hand.

Before I turn the circles into rings in my design.

Here is a quick sketch of a stack of circles.

Start with the top circle. Draw a round hole in it.

Then move on to the next circle,

Add the part that became visible. Add a hole to that circle... and.. continue doing that until you are done with all of them..

Now, I am going to use the same technique in my design.

Work with one circle at a time.

Keep close attention to where you draw the lines as it is very easy to get confused.

If there are any pencil marks left in your drawing - now is a good time to erase them
Before you start coloring.

Before I start coloring, I’m going to explain how to add shadows.

Always use logic.
Assuming the light source is above
Each overlapping shape casts a shadow onto the shape below.
That means that the area next to the edge of the top shape is going to be darker,
Then the shadow fades as it gets away from that edge.
That simple

There might be other areas that would not get direct light

I’ll shade them darker as well

First - get your colored pencils ready.
You will need a few for each circle:
Main color or a mix of colors as a base
Darker color or black for shadows
And lighter color or white for highlights.

Start with the top circle.
There should be no shadows here since it gets full light exposure.
But I like to mix colors.
Maybe a little highlight to emphasize the contrast.

Next circle - color it with a base color.
Lightly shade the area, exposed to light
Use a darker color for shadows.
Always start at the edge - where the value is the darkest,
then fade it into the main color.
Use a lighter color to blend the lit area.

Then use the same approach for the rest of the circles.

Similar coloring steps for the rings. Use the same logic.
I am coloring the top ring first.

Then the Next ring
- lightly shading with the base color
- Then darker color for shadows, carefully fading into main color.
Again, starting where it is the darkest.
- Then lighter color for highlights.

… and continue with the rest of the rings…

Before you start coloring - have an idea of how you are going to use color in this design.
What do you want to emphasize?
Or what effect do you want to achieve?

So when you are ready,
Start with the top circles and rings as I did
Or pick a ring stack and work one column at a time.
It does not matter how you start.

Then I focus on a stack of rings
And color them according to my initial idea.
That is
going from blues and purples
to reds and oranges
Then move onto the next stack
And the next

It may take some time to get through coloring the entire design, but it is a very relaxing and entertaining.
So take your time, get creative and have fun!