Colored pencils are a wonderful medium to get into because the results can be very beautiful and realistic. However, it is not the easiest medium to practice because there are certain difficulties and challenges in using colored pencils. These challenges can be very tedious especially when you are just starting out. Understanding that you’ll need patience and effort to master colored pencil techniques is the first step that will help you prepare yourself and minimize negative mindsets.
While there are certain challenges in using colored pencils, huge fans of this medium view these as part of their charm. These colored pencils challenge more than just your patience but also your ability to solve problems and develop your discipline.
I personally think each art tool and medium has its own challenges, but in this particular post, we will be diving into the beauty of colored pencils.
Also Read: 10 Of The Best Colored Pencils for Artists
The Challenges in Using Colored Pencils
Blending is no small feat. It may look easy on videos and tutorials, but in actual practice, it’s difficult. Blending is the best feature of colored pencils because this technique breathes life into an artwork.
Colored pencils can be layered over one another to blend them beautifully. Because of their translucence, you can see through the various layers no matter how many you add to your paper. When you combine colors, these will make new colors and the effect can be amazing. The thing is, this technique is very time-consuming. That’s why artists who don’t have the patience look for better and faster ways to blend, like using mineral spirits and other blenders.
This is related to blending. With layering, you do this technique when you desire deeper colors. Some pencils won’t achieve that deep shade you want on the first pass, so you will need to add multiple layers to achieve the effect you want. Just remember not to put too much pressure on your pencils to avoid broken tips and frustration. Build up your layers slowly but surely.
With colored pencils, you can never speed up things. It just doesn’t work like that. One of the challenges in using colored pencils is understanding that this is a slow medium and there’s no other way around it. You put down color one stroke at a time and this is a pencil we are talking about, which gives thin lines. These colored pencils are unlike paints that you can lay down on canvas with a brush size of your choice. So yes, if you are set in practicing with colored pencils, be prepared to spend lots of time with them.
As artists, we always have an eye for colors and saturation. Creating pieces with a certain vibrance is what we aim and we would want that piece to retain its brightness in the next few years after they’re done. This is where the challenge comes. The permanence of colored pencils depends on the brand and the colors you use. Some colors naturally fade, like pinks and purples. Some brands are more reliable but there are still colors that have less permanence in them.
Finding ways to make the colors work and extend their permanence is a struggle and challenge for many.
Usually, colored pencils, especially oil-based ones, are not easily erasable. So when you make mistakes, you’ll need to think creatively about how to cover them up. To avoid making mistakes, the best approach is to start with a light hand, creating a good light layer of color and then building up the color from there.
Framing a colored pencil artwork is not really a challenge but it can become one because of its cost. If you want to protect a piece of art made from colored pencils, you’ll need a hard and rigid backboard, glass, and a spacer between the artwork and the glass aside from the frame. This can be expensive when you are planning to frame a couple of artworks.
This happens in wax-based colored pencils when the wax binder build-up on the top layer of an artwork which will create a cloudy haze over it. There are ways to avoid this, like applying fixatives to seal the artwork and prevent the underlying wax unable to come to the surface. You can also apply lighter layers to avoid wax bloom. It’s also helpful to know that some pencils have more wax bloom than others, so do your research on the brands you are eyeing to purchase.
To Wrap Up
These are the few challenges in using colored pencils and if you are planning to practice this medium, these are good tips to know. All of them can be overcome, of course, you just have to learn how to adapt and work with them, and have patience.
If you want to learn more about colored pencils, we have more articles about them on the blog. Go check them out!