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How to Colour a Butterfly

There are lots of butterflies in Johanna Basford books and it is not always easy to know how to colour them. Sometimes I use photos as guides to make them look more realistic, but now I have learned a few techniques that I tend to use most of the time. I have picked a butterfly from Magical Jungle by Johanna Basford to demonstrate my technique.

I am going to use Arteza Premium pencils for colouring this butterfly, but any brand will work. I have decided to colour this one orange so have chosen two shades, a dark and a lighter shade as well as a black pencil and a white gel pen.

I start with the darkest orange which is the vermillion and use it near to the body of the butterfly. I use harder pressure and apply more layers near the body and fade it out towards the edge of the wings.

I then use the lighter shade which is called orange and start using it where I have faded the vermillion. I use the same technique as with the previous colour, by using more layers and a heavier pressure nearer to the body of the butterfly and less towards the tips of the wings.

Now we use black for the body. You could also use dark brown or dark grey if you prefer. I try to put a heavier layer around the edge and fade towards the middle to give the body a shine effect, but this can be tricky with a small butterfly like this one!

I also use black to add details to the butterfly. I use a hard solid layer for this and go over the dots as well as adding a black layer around the edge of the upper wings.

To finish I use a white gel pen to add dots. I try to make them different sizes. To get a tiny dot touch the pen really gently to the paper. If you leave it on longer you get a larger dot. You can also draw a bigger dot if you wish.

You can use the same method with other colours of butterflies such as turquoise, emerald green or red and these still give a fairly realistic look.

If you want to find out more or purchase the products I used then you can do so by clicking the links below.

Arteza Premium Pencils

Sakura Gellyroll Pen

Magical Jungle by Johanna Basford

I have a selection of video tutorials on my YouTube channel showing how to colour butterflies including one below just showcasing ones I have coloured and how I coloured them.

I also have tutorial demonstrations and I have put a few below in case you want to watch them: