Once the prized jewel in the evil crown of the Wicked Witch of the East, a pair of magical Ruby Slippers now belong to humble Dorothy Gale. The Ruby Slippers give great power to whoever possesses them, and in this tutorial I am going to show you how you can create your own version of these striking shoes.
What You Will Need
In order to complete this tutorial, you'll need the following equipment and stock image:
- Stock photo of legs and feet
- Drawing paper or newsprint
- Drawing board (optional)
- Masking tape
- Pencils (Types, 6B to 2H)
- Mechanical pencils (Types 6B to 2H)
- Red colour pencils
- Red pastel pencils
- Black colour pencil
- White colour pencil
- Pencil sharpener
- Steel ruler
- Compressed charcoal sticks (Extra soft)
- Charcoal pencil
- Tissue/toilet paper
- Cotton buds
- Kneaded eraser
- Gum eraser
- Tombow Square and Circular detailed erasers
- Varied size blending nubs
- Tub of graphite powder
- Titanium White paint
- Soft paint brush
- Fine paint brush
- Artists fixative
1. Prepare Your Paper
For this tutorial we will be working on A3 size paper (11¾ x 8¼ inches). If you have a drawing board to hand, secure your paper onto it with tape so that it does not slide around as you are drawing. Personally I find a standard smooth Bristol board is best for this type of drawing.
2. Draw Your Image
Start by measuring out how big you want this drawing to be. You can either work to the exact size of the paper or, as I will be doing for this tutorial, you can work slightly smaller. With your steel ruler, measure out a box whose width is half a centimetre smaller than the size of the paper.
We shall be using a reference photo for our drawing, which is shown in the picture below. More experienced artists may not need to use this, and if you feel confident enough you do not have to either. But for less experienced artists you may find it very worth your while to use this reference as you work.
Using the reference if you prefer, we shall start by drawing a simple curved line. Use a moderate to light touch with your pencil when drawing, as you may need to erase some lines later on.
Next, draw two little circles at the top and the bottom of the curve; these will act as guidelines for the ankle and the ball of the foot.
Using simple triangles, draw one at the bottom of the foot pointing upward and another at the heel of the foot pointing downward, and you should now start to see a rough layout of a foot emerging. For the bottom of the legs, simple cylinders will work best to begin to make these up.
We now need to draw in the second foot behind the one we have been working on. To do this you need to follow the same process as for the foreground foot.
Now we have two basic sketched feet and legs. You can make up the smaller parts such as the toes and ankles by using simple circles.
Once you have all the basic shapes in place, we now begin to fill in the details. At this point, take care when drawing and be sure to go back to your reference regularly, as a poor drawing at this stage will reflect when we come to rendering. Clean up any loose lines with your putty eraser and make sure you have a clean image to work with for the next stage.
Now that we have a clean image of the feet and lower legs, we need to draw in the ruby slippers, which are fairly simple to construct. Firstly, we will draw another simple triangle with its base connected to the heel of our foot.
We then need to construct where the foot goes into the slipper, and this is made up with a simple downward line with a curve at the end going to the left.
For the slipper on the background foot, I am going to follow the same process I have used for the foreground one. To complete the heel of our slippers, draw in lines that curve to make up the “bridge” of the shoe and will eventually lead up to the back of the slipper too. Don't forget to draw in the little bows that go on the front of each slipper!
Now to give our slippers some real sense of power, I believe nothing will produce this effect better than some shocking lightning bolts coming off them. To create these, we are looking to draw some simple crooked lines that are coming off the slippers—these will act as a guideline.
To add more interest for our viewers, having the bolts overlapping both on the front and background slippers will make a big difference. For added impetus, you can add a “halo” effect to the slippers to show the build-up of electrical charge on them.
Once you are happy with your lightning bolts, take your putty eraser and remove any guidelines you have drawn. Remember the overlapping we did in the previous step and erase any unwanted lines that will get in the way.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can adjust the size of your bolt to give the impression that the bolt is coming towards the viewer. I would only suggest attempting this if you already have a grasp of basic perspective drawing. For erasing harder lines, you need to use your gum eraser and if any lines are accidentally erased, you can redraw these in.
3. Render Your Image
Now we have the outline of the image, we can begin to fill in the details and create our effects. If you are right-handed, work from left to right on the paper to avoid smudging your image. If you are left-handed you can do the opposite to this.
My best advice to you at this point is to only work a section at a time and avoid working on too much of the image. If you do work on too much of the image at one time, you will find smudging becomes more of a hazard as you fill in the details.
We will be using the following methods of applying graphite to the paper with pencils and graphite powder:
- Cross hatching
Circulism involves rotating your pencil with moderate pressure in a circular motion whilst moving the pencil across the page as shown below. Like hatching, this can be used to build up tone depending on pressure applied to the paper and how many times you repeat the motions. I use circulism for working with our pastel pencil, colour pencils and also when rendering dark tones. It is this method we shall be using most in this tutorial.
Cross hatching is applied by a series of strokes in a diagonal direction going one way, then repeating the motion in the opposite direction. Levels of tone can be built up in this method by bringing hatchings closer together or repeating the motions time and again. You can also choose to blend the area you have shaded afterwards with a cotton bud or tissue paper if you so wish.
Overlaying involves first putting down a layer of either graphite powder or pastel pencil on the paper and then blending it with either a cotton bud or piece of tissue paper. Then you take one of your red colour pencils (which tone of colour is up to you) and carefully draw in very small circles that will indicate the type of reflective surface that make up the ruby slippers. Drawing these circles over the top of each other creates a better effect than just drawing them side by side, which would look very plain. A word of caution, though! As in the example shown, only use measured amounts of this technique, as an overuse of it may end up leaving you with a bad image that no one will treasure. Be sure to take note of your shadows too, because odd lighting may confuse viewers.
We start by using a small amount of graphite powder on your soft paint brush to lay down a light base tone on the paper on the forward leg and top of the feet. Apply using the circulism method described earlier. Continue reloading your brush with powder and working into the paper. Remember to only cover a limited area of the drawing.
Once the first layer is put down on the paper, take a cotton bud and work over the top of
this layer using the circulism method, again using graphite powder to pick out darker tones. Be sure to follow your
reference at this stage to check where these are. Continue applying more graphite powder where needed to
build up tone.
At this point check your reference and, if your image is not
quite matching the reference, additional tone may need to be added. For this I
would use a soft lead (either a 4B
or a 5B) and use a light circulism
technique. Additional blending with your
tissue paper may be needed here.
To create pores on the skin, firstly take your putty eraser and using a light tapping carefully remove areas of tone where our light sources will fall and where pores might be most visible.
For more detailed work, take your circular tombow eraser and, using the same tapping method, create more fine pores. For darker spots, take your mechanical 2B pencil and carefully draw in little lines to indicate small shadows that will give the impression of pores on the skin as we build up.
For the leg in the background, follow the same process I used to render the foreground leg, but you may want to darken this leg a little more so as to focus the viewer’s eye more on the leg in the foreground. Also, keeping in mind where our light sources are, this could leave our background leg in shadow, so be mindful of that as you work.
4. Work in Colour
Now we have our grey tones rendered in our picture, we will now move on to working in colour. I have found it best to work with pastel pencils, as you can blend the colour to create effects, and if you do make a mistake with these pencils you can still erase them.
To find what colour might work best for you, it will be very useful for you to start by taking a blank sheet of A4 printer paper and testing out a few colours on this paper. If you are using a varied pencil set as I am, there are so many different colours and shades to choose from, and you can get a bit confused as to which pencil might be the right one to use. For this first round of tones we are looking for a standard red colour.
Once you have found a suitable colour, take your red pastel pencil and, using a light cross hatching method, carefully build up a section of coloured tone on a section of the slipper. As with the legs, only keep the tones light at this stage, and we shall work more into them as we proceed.
Take a piece of tissue paper or a cotton bud and, using the circulism method, carefully blend out the red colour you have laid down. Remember at this stage to only cover a measured section of the image.
Next, take a darker tone pastel pencil or a regular coloured pencil and go over our base colour layer, still using cross hatching.
At this stage you might want to pick out areas of highlight that we will work into later. If you mark them out early, they will help you in the long run.
With this step, you can now go in one of two ways. You can either choose to continue using a darker pastel pencil to build up your tones or, as I am going to do, you can take a sharp coloured pencil and begin working in more fine details that will define the slippers that bit more. To build these details up, you can use either the tight cross hatching or circulism methods.
For shaded areas of the slipper, you may find the colours turn to black as the colour ruby is a dark shade of red in its normal state, so for these shaded areas use either a black pastel pencil or a charcoal stick.
Because our slippers are surrounded by lightning, our shadows will not be too great. Remember to keep this in mind as you work, otherwise you will be left with a very unconvincing image at the end of the tutorial.
Eventually, after continued rendering, you should be left with a result like the sample below. Remember to work only in measured sections of the paper, and carefully work across canvas until you have filled the area required.
As we started on the slipper in the background, we shall now move on to the slipper in the foreground. As with the previous slipper, follow the same methods we have been using to create the effects we are after, but with this slipper we do not want it to be as dark as the slipper in the background due to there being a lot of focus on this part of the image.
5. Add Bright Highlights
Now that we have our colours laid down, we need to focus on bright highlights, which are a main feature of this image.
To make these we are going to use a little titanium white paint and our regular and fine paintbrushes. You will require a steady hand for this next set of steps so, as we did with our colours, it might be well worth your while practicing your painting on a separate piece of A4 paper before continuing.
Once you feel you are confident enough, take your regular paintbrush and with a measured amount of white paint carefully “dot in” our white specular highlights around the slippers.
Be sure to vary the size of these, as we want to keep viewers interested, and varying our specular highlights is a good way to do this. I find that it is better to have the larger highlights around the toes and ball of the foreground slipper and the lesser ones on the heel of the slipper and in the background.
Now that we have our larger highlights established, we shall now go and take our fine paintbrush and dot in smaller highlights. For additional glare in the highlights, again using your fine paintbrush carefully paint in fine lines like the ones shown in the image below to give the impression of the shiny, reflective surface of the slippers.
6. Make a Background and Fix Your Image
You should now have a semi-rendered image. One of the final stages is to fill in the pure blacks and put a base down for our background.
To do this step, take your compressed charcoal stick (remember to use an extra soft one as it gives better coverage and is easier to blend with) and simply begin drawing in your black areas, going from left to right and in measured sections. Left-handers may want to go right to left.
For the tight areas around the lightning bolts and the corners of the canvas, it is best to use a charcoal pencil to work on these sections. It will also require a steady hand.
Now that you have worked your first section, continue moving around the image, filling the black areas that need doing. You may find that in tight areas you need to break out your charcoal pencil to cover these sections. However, for really fine details and really tight corners, use one of your sharp black colour pencils to fill these little sections in.
Once you feel you have completed your background, take your artists fixative and spray this onto the image to prevent any smudging as we proceed to the next section.
7. Add Finishing Touches
Now we have an almost complete image. Take your fine paintbrush and titanium white paint and carefully paint in very fine lightning bolts that extend off the main bolts around the image.
If you have ever studied photographs of real lightning, you may have also seen that these bolts contain so much energy that thousands if not millions of very fine charges extend from the main bolts as this energy is expelled, and this is what we are trying to replicate here.
Once you have finished your painting, take your white colour pencil and continue drawing in a few more fine bolts. You will notice that the lines you draw will be very fine, but this is the effect we want, so don't think you are getting it wrong!
There's No Place Like Home
Finally, we have a complete work of art!
Working in colour is always difficult, especially if you are not familiar with the media and the processes involved, but I hope I have shown you don’t have to go straight for the paints. By using coloured pencils you can build up colours and textures in very much the same way you would work with charcoal and graphite.
With a lot of practice with these techniques, it will help you create stunning Ruby Slippers that Dorothy Gale would be proud to wear and the Wicked Witch would want to steal!
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