Colored Pencils

When you are ready to purchase colored pencils, look for a professional grade. Check out reviews and buy good quality pencils.

Better quality pencils are easier to blend and mix. The colors are more vibrant and there are more color choices.

Quality pencils will cost more initially, but once you try quality pencils, you’ll never go back to the cheaper ones.

I prefer Prismacolor Premier. These are soft pencils, with rich vibrant colors that are great for mixing colors and blending. I also use Verathin. A harder pencil, the color is not as waxy or intense and they are great for coloring small details.

If you’re just beginning to use colored pencils for coloring pages or artwork, start with buying the smallest available set and see if you like working with the pencils. Then you can buy more colors individually or in sets.

Sort the colors. I like to group my pencils by color groups -browns, greens, blues, red-orange, yellows, neutrals. Having them in groups will make your color selection easier and you can easily see which color is warm or cold.

Use a piece of scrap paper to test colors and color combinations, blending techniques, etc. Sharpen the pencils before working. Continue sharpening them as you work. Practice shading with small strokes. Your wrist should rest on the table, don’t move it as you shade – move only the pencil with your fingers – this way your strokes are tight and they are small. Reposition your wrist, then apply a new set of strokes – they can overlap, can be placed at different angles, or you can rotate the worksheet itself – whatever is more comfortable for you. Don’t try to lay down a saturated color all at once. Use several layers to build the color. Keep a clean sheet of common typing paper under your drawing hand to keep the working surface clean of oils from your hand or smudges.

Blending: A colorless blending pencil has wax but no pigment. It can be used to burnish the surface of the paper, filling in all the little white flecks from divots in the paper, without changing the underlaying color. If you choose to blend your work, it should be the last step in your drawing. Once the paper is burnished, it will be difficult to add more layers. Other methods of smoothing the pencil strokes are petroleum jelly, baby oil, mineral spirits and a Verithin pencil. More details about how to use these will be in an upcoming post.