For my colored pencil classes this week, the lesson was to work colorful pansies on black paper. As we all know, if you put color directly on black paper it looks dull and if you put it under glass, frame it and hang it on the wall, it appears even darker. So our lesson was to begin with a reverse-grisaille drawing in white. Grisaille is a French word for a monochromatic value study, usually done in gray, which is a foundation in order to create form and value. When working on black paper and using white pencil, this would be done in reverse so that the lightest areas received the heaviest layer of white pencil and the darker areas receive the lightest amount of pencil in order to allow the dark colors to be applied. A good example is Cheryl's drawing (the last picture) in which she has laid in all of her underpainting and is beginning to add color to her composition. The top two photos are some of the other works, you will have to ignore the distractions of window light and my collection of shells, so you can see each person's choice of composition and layout.
The beginning grisaille drawing can be confusing and requires a lot of thinking and planning. It is a very good exercise to help with working on values which are so important in a drawing and sometimes get lost when we start thinking more about colors. Once a good value drawing is established, you will find it can be easier to apply color.