Moores Art Gallery & Design

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Colored Pencil Tips & Techniques:

Colored Pencil Glossary

It's All About Colored Pencils!

Colored Pencil Glossary

Acid-Free Paper - a paper that has been buffered with an alkaline reserve, and the acid compounds have been neutralized.

Adjacent Hue - a hue that is next to another hue on a color wheel.

Archival Paper - a paper that has been manufactured to resist against natural aging.

Blender - a tool that helps blend or merge the layers of colors together.

Blending - a technique of applying one layer of color over another layer of color and the combining of the two or more colors together creates a new color. A tortillon, solvents, erasers, colorless blender pencils, or colorless blender markers can be used to blend and smooth out the colored pencil layers which can make the colors very bright and vivid.

Burnishing - is a blending technique in which you use a light colored pencil, colorless blender pencil, or metal object with heavy pressure over a layered or drawn surface. Burnishing blends and melds the colors while evenly filling and smoothing the surface of the paper. It makes the colors look brighter, sometimes lighter and can give an image a polished or reflective look.

Chiaroscuro - a Renaissance system for describing an emergence of form, relying on value changes from dark to light.

Chroma - a color's strength or intensity.

Circulism stroke - is a colored pencil technique created by colored pencil artist, Maggie Toole, consisting of drawing, overlapping, and intertwining circles in various colors and sizes.

Color - an element of art that has three properties: hue or tint, intensity, and value.

Color Key - a key or legend displaying what colors you used in your artwork.

Colored Pencil - a pencil containing a wax, oil or water-based bound pigment as its "lead". They are semi-opaque accept for white, cream and gray. Popular professional name brands are Prismacolor, Lyra Rembrandt, Derwent, and Faber Castell.

Color Temperature - warm and cool hues.

Complementary Colors - hues that are opposite of each other on a color wheel.

Crosshatching - lay one layer of color horizontal and then a different layer of color vertically. Continue with this layering process until the desired results are achieved.

Dry Brushing - a blending technique, in which you blend the layers of color with a dry stiff paintbrush.

Fixative - a protective spray you can apply to colored pencil artwork. It also helps prevent wax bloom and can also be used when color won't adhere to the surface of the paper.

Frottage - a technique of creating a colored pencil rubbing of a textured object or surface.

Grisaille - a method of establishing values using a neutral or single hue of low-intensity color, such as sepia, grays or a complementary color, before applying color.

Hue - a single color of the color spectrum.

Impressed Line - a technique in which one impresses lines onto the paper, before adding color, by using a blunt tool. Great for achieving white lines, whiskers, or whispy hairs.

Intensity - a color's strength or brightness.

Layering - a technique in which you apply one pencil color stroke after another, building consistent numerous strokes upon each other using one or more colors.

Lightfastness - a test in which a color is exposed to light to determine how well a color is able to retain its pigment.

Linear Stroke - a technique in which strokes are placed close together, to create an even consistent tone.

Monochromatic - is applying only one color or hue and varying the pressure to achieve dark and light areas.

Pigment - is the pencil color to be applied, either wax or oiled based.

Point - the sharpness of the pencil tip which can be from very sharp to very dull.

Pressure - is a term used when applying color from applying a force of light pressure to a force of heavy pressure to the surface of the paper.

Scrumbling - a technique in which you apply light overlapping layers of color, in a small circular motion.

Saturation - the purity or intensity of a color.

Sgraffito - a technique in which you scrape or scratch away the very top surface of layers of color to create whispy hairs, lines etc.

Solvents - liquid substances that are used to dissolve the color pigment on the surface of the paper..

Smooth Surface - a paper with a very smooth hard finish with zero to little tooth.

Strokes - the direction in which one applies the color pencil.

Stroking - applying horizontal, diagonal, vertical, circular or crosshatch lines side by side and overlaying the lines consistently upon one another.

Stump - a single size art tool consisting of tightly rolled paper, used for blending layers of colored pencil together.

Tortillion - a tool that comes in three sizes, consisting of tightly rolled paper, used for blending layers of colored pencil together.

Value - the lightness and darkness of a color.

Vellum Surface - a paper with a minimum to a moderate tooth.

Vertical Line Technique - a technique created by colored pencil artist, Ann Kullberg, in which one applies vertical lines or strokes consistently next to one another.

Wash - is an even tonal application of one color with the same steady pressure.

Watercolor Pencil - are pencils that have a water-soluble pigment that can be applied either wet or dry.

Wax Bloom - is a build up of wax from wax based pencils which creates a whitish haze or film on the surface of the paper.

WIP - is an acronym for work in progress of a colored pencil art project.

Keep on Creating!

Colored Pencil Artist Carol Moore