Tips for Drawing With Colored Pencils

Apr 3, 2021 | 0 comments

In this post, we will be talking about some tips and hacks on drawing with colored pencils. If you are interested to learn more, then read on!

Colored pencils are an art medium that is similar to graphite and charcoal pencils except that they have a wide array of colored pigments.

tips for drawing with colored pencils

There are several brands available in the market that offers different types of colored pencils. With a wide selection to choose from, you can surely find the colored pencils that will suit your project, art style, and budget.

Colored pencils are light and portable, and you don’t need messy or toxic solvents. They are relatively inexpensive while having an extensive palette. Aside from their versatility and convenience, many prefer them because of the control they offer.

There’s a lot to learn about drawing with colored pencils. At first, I thought it was going to be carefree, but there are a lot of technicalities that you can learn throughout your art journey to improve your artworks when you choose colored pencils as your preferred medium. This does not mean that it’s going to be difficult. Colored pencils are easy to use and are beginner-friendly. 

Here are some tips for beginners and first-time users of colored pencils. As usual, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the process of your art journey!

Tips for Drawing with Colored Pencils

A bamboo organizer – Source

Storing your colored pencils

Throw out the original box. You’ll be using your pencils often and slipping them in and out of the box increases the risk of damaging the tip of the pencil which will lead to breakage. Separate and group your pencils by color and fasten them with a rubber band. We recommend storing them in a container that will keep them upright to minimize the breaking of their tips. And avoid dropping them!

Sharpening your pencils

Sharpen your colored pencils as soon as you get them out of their box, and throughout their lifespan, keep them sharpened. Sharpened colored pencils penetrate color into your paper more than the dull ones. A blunt colored pencil won’t deliver color effectively and will require more pressure for you to see the pigment on the paper. This will result in the excessive color on the paper sooner and you won’t be able to layer more colors over it. Sharpen your pencils so that you can maximize their use.

Applying Colors to your Artwork

Work from light to dark hues. Light colors are not as apparent as the darker colors and it would be too difficult to fix the darker colors than the lighter ones when you mess up. Always mind your pressure when applying color, the more pressure you put on your pencil, the more intense the color will be. Start off with light pressure to avoid applying darker colors too quickly.

Avoid messy shading

Don’t use a lot of pressure and messy shadings when you’re building up your first layers. Use light strokes and circular motions to get even shading.

Also, avoid using black and select a darker hue of the color you’re using instead. Black can deliver a very strong color and can make your art look off if you are aiming to make a realistic drawing.

To avoid messy shading, hold your pencil further back, it will help take off the pressure from the pencil.

Avoid harsh transitions

Make sure that your transitions are nice and soft, and that you’re easing from one color into the other by changing your pressure. Start with a bit more pressure and then ease off the pressure where you want to transition the colors. Make sure that it’s a slow and gradual change.

Avoid harsh outlines

Adding harsh outlines and harsh changes between colors will make your drawing flatter and a lot more cartoony. If you are aiming to make a realistic drawing preserve highlights instead of outlining. This will make your drawing stand out. Leave certain areas clear of any colored pencil because these are the areas that are the brightest on the reference. Don’t shade everywhere and preserve the highlights so that you’ll have good contrast in your drawing.

Frottage for Colored Pencils

To get an assortment of textures on your artwork, rub your pencil on paper on top of a textured surface. You’ll add depth and you’ll level up your artwork. This is an easy hack that will make a huge difference to the overall feel of your creation.

Heating your lead

A high temperature will soften the binder of the pencil and will make them yield more color. This technique is great when you want to get a thick layer of color over a large area of your artwork without having to make layers endlessly. Use a hot surface, like a light-table, under your paper to easily use this hack. 

Preventing Wax Bloom

Wax bloom comes from a heavy deposit of wax-based colored pencil that buildup over time. You can remove wax bloom by wiping the surface of the paper with soft tissues. To prevent wax bloom, lightly spray your finished drawing with two to four layers of fixative.

Drawing with colored pencils is fun and easy, and this medium is just really great for everyone. With practice, you can create simple to a heavily-detailed artwork with colored pencils. 

For more art tips, guides, and tutorials, check out our blog.

Renee Alexis

20-something Filipina, an introvert who loves young adult fiction, brush pens, Taylor Swift, and Mobile Legends. Coffee runs in my bloodstream.
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