Moores Art Gallery & Design

Bringing Visions to Life Through Art & Design

Colored Pencil Tips & Techniques:

Colored Pencil Tips

It's All About Colored Pencils!

Colored Pencil Tips

These are some tips I have learned over the years through books, magazines, articles and from other colored pencil artists. More tips will be added to this list as I learn and explore more.

• To help your drawings stay crisp and clear, keep your pencil points sharp.

• To add some interest, spark and life to your drawings, try layering several different colors together.

• Beware of over saturating your paper's surface with too many layers of color. The color will start to no longer adhere to the paper's surface because the tooth of the paper has completely filled. As a result, the surface of the paper will start to wear down and possibly tear.

•  Always keep the surface of your paper clean by brushing debris away with a drafting brush, make-up brush or tissue. Be careful when applying heavy pressure, such as when you burnish, sometimes pencils tend to flake debris upon your paper.

• To prevent wax bloom (a white film that builds up on the surface of the paper), wipe the surface of the paper with a soft tissue and then lightly spray the drawing with 1 to 3 layers of Fixatif Aerosol Spray. The workable fixatif will protect your artwork while you continue to work on your artwork. Once you are done with your artwork you can spray 1-3 layers of a final fixative on your artwork to protect it and to prevent wax-bloom. In order to make sure there is no displeasing color changes to your artwork, make sure to test before you spray any fixatives.

• To create vivid intense colors, try applying a solvent to the layers of color such as Turpenoid Natural, liquin, colorless blender markers, bestine, mineral spirits or baby wipes.

• It is important to add a good range of values throughout your drawing. Remember the more layers of color and the heavier the pressure, the darker the colored area on your drawing will become.

• To add life to your colored pencil artwork, try varying the color intensity, saturation and or hue in your artwork.

• Try creating different moods by drawing on different colored papers, such as Canson Mi Tientes or Art Spectrum Colourfix.

• When working on a tonal drawing, work from dark to light.

• Keep your pencil strokes even, consistent in pressure and in the same direction, so the lines of your strokes will be less visible and will blend into the layers of color.

• When adding layers of color, start off with light pressure and gradually increase your pressure.

• To create, a rich dark black, try layering Prismacolors indigo blue, crimson, sepia and black grape.

• To keep areas on the surface of your paper white, try using frisket film, liquid frisket or a frisket masque pen.

• Keep a color key of your drawing for future reference in case you decide you need to take a break from your artwork.

• For fine or small detail, try using Prismacolor Verithins. Rex Art has an open stock of them available.

• Practice using only a single color to help improve your blending, layering, and graduating skills.

• Practice using different pressures (light, medium and heavy), to achieve different depths of color and tones of color.

• Try using a light colored pencil to draw out your sketch and then blend the sketch into the layers of colors you apply.

• When your pencils become too small to sharpen, try using a pencil extender for your pencil stubs, or try gluing pencil ends together with superglue.

Derwent Pencil Extender Derwent Pencil Extender

• To prevent smearing, smudging of debris and dark spots, wipe off the tips of pencils with a tissue or cloth before applying color.

• To create an illusion of depth, try using complementary colors in dark valued areas of your artwork.

• Try making your own colored pencil wheel using specific brands of colored pencils to use as a reference tool while creating your works of art. Two great tutorials on creating a colored pencil wheels are located at the Empty Easel and at Wetcanvas.

Keep on Creating!

Colored Pencil Artist Carol Moore