Working on a ripe red serrano pepper

I love spicy things, and the look of this serrano pepper was perfect. The delicately curled pepper and a little bright spot of green stem were perfect.

Watch the time lapse or skip down for more.

Why a Pepper?

I love the pop of red and green together that makes up this little serrano pepper. I have an idea for a larger picture that will include a jalapeno pepper and felt it was worth working on this serrano pepper alone for a little practice. Plus this pepper has a nice cylindrical shape with little puckers in the skin for added interest. It demonstrates how to shade a cylinder nicely while being a little challenging. I have the line art, and reference are available for free up on patreon if you want to follow along. I also have a longer version of this video available on patreon for patrons to make it easier to follow along. You can learn more about patreon here.


I keep coming back to this, I like to block in my shadows with dark sepia before bringing in the greens for the stems and the reds for the pepper. Blocking in this underpainting helps define the shape and volume of the object I am working on and helps solidify it in my mind as well as helps me determine which lines are for what on the paper. For this pepper, I went brighter on the colors to make everything pop more and make it more visually appealing. I feel that brightening up the brights and darkening the darks helps with the overall picture giving it a richer appearance.


The cylindrical shape of this pepper combined with the curl make for an interesting shape and a slightly more complex shape to shade. It is really only a little more complicated because of the curl and little puckers in the skin. With the curl, the skin of the pepper puckers a little creating interesting little valleys and hills that catch the light. Focusing on the shape of the pepper and how it catches the light really helps to understand the form of the pepper and see the underlying cylindrical shape. Understanding how to shade a cylinder helps to form the shadows and soft transitions between curves on this pepper.

Serrano Pepper

I had a lot of fun with this little pepper. The way it curls and the little undulations in the skin made this an interesting pepper to work on. It is a great little project demonstrating a cylindrical shape, and a lovely bright red pepper. I hope you all have fun working on this too.

What is next?

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Patreon. I’m currently working on a surreal powder blender piece. Let me know in the comments if you followed along and how it turned out.

Equipment (affiliate links):

You can substitute almost any paint brush for the filbert, just make sure it doesn’t have stiff plastic bristles. Have at least one eraser of some type. Masking tape will work but stick it to your pants a couple times to reduce the tackiness so it doesn’t rip your paper. Paper is rather important, try to go with something of quality, Canson Mi Tientes will work and in a pinch, Cachet 101 mixed media paper. You can buy a large sheet and cut it down to size. If you work on a block or pad, you may be able to skip the easel and art board.

Colors used:

  • *Buff Titanium 801
  • Cadmium Yellow Lemon 205
  • Dark Cadmium Orange 115
  • Deep Red 223
  • Deep Scarlet Red 219
  • Dark Red 225
  • Red Violet 194
  • Dark Sepia 175
  • Light Green 171
  • Grass Green 166
  • May Green 170
  • Earth Green Yellowish 168
  • Earth Green 172
  • Chrome Oxide Green 278

An asterisk indicates a luminance color.


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