Sketching with Colored Pencils

With the adult coloring book craze, it’s clear to see that colored pencils are not just for children anymore. We’ve already had a close look at the best coloring books for Copic Markers. Here, we are focusing on the fact that sketching with colored pencils are capable than so much more than coloring someone else’s work.

Quality pencils to use when sketching with colored pencils

The versatility of colored pencils is why artists use them in their drawings so regularly. Many professional sets include a wide array of beautiful colors, which can be layered to add even more depth to your work.

It can be difficult to decide which colored pencils to use. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preferences, but we can give you some pointers to consider. You might also want to consider our list of art supplies to consider when you are starting out.

Firstly, since you can purchase these brands online, you can try out a few different pencils without spending a lot of money. If you take the time to pick the tools which work for you, the process of creating artwork will become more enjoyable, and practice will feel fun. 

What People Like About Sketching with Colored Pencils

Colored pencils provide a lot of benefits. For starters, you only need a few colored pencils and some paper to get started. That makes them a great art material for kids. Prep time and cleanup are virtually non-issues, the materials are portable and light, and there are no toxic or messy solvents required. Likewise, colored pencil drawing allows for highly refined and exquisite works of art that are on par with those created with other media.

The medium is inexpensive, and the color palette is large. The colors are vibrant and pure (or less pure, depending on your personal choice). A colored pencil drawing does not require elaborate maintenance or storage since the medium is permanent. Beginning artists also have the option of using watercolor pencils and oil-based colored pencils along with hard and soft colored pencils, you can also pair pencil lines with Copic Markers or other alcohol markers.

Sketching with colored pencils is appealing not only because of their versatility and convenience but also because of their control over color. It is possible to work loosely or tightly with them. With colored pencils, you can tint a drawing with light strokes that let the paper’s color show through, or you can build up many layers of color for a solid deposit. There is no drying time for colored pencils because they are primarily dry mediums. Work can be left for a while and picked up when you return (unlike those Copic markers, where you are working against the clock most of the time). You can begin and stop whenever you want.

Drawing and painting with colored pencils are both enjoyable and rewarding. Colored pencils go well with just about any other medium, so adding them to your arsenal won’t take you long.

Factors that Determine Quality?

The color is, of course, a key factor. Materials labeled as Student are generally inferior to those labeled as Professional or Artist. If you put colored pencils on paper, you will see richer hues that are more vibrant. If your lead is dull or pale, this is a sign of low-quality lead.

A pencil’s glide over paper is another important characteristic. Colored pencils of the highest quality will glide across surfaces with ease. This is due to their ingredients. Choose oil-based pencils over wax-based ones if you want the best quality. Color blending is more difficult with hard wax, especially because it is brittle.

Tips for Sketching With Colored Pencils

  • The tip of the pencil should be in contact with the largest area of the paper when held sideways

You can begin by laying down a very light base of color and then layer on top of that until the desired tone is achieved. It also minimizes unsightly lines and allows for smoother coloring.

  • Shade two colors that contrast with each other

Take the red and the green pencils, for example. Then, shade from dark to light, in the left to the right direction, using the red pencil. Using your green pencil, shade from dark to light from right to left. Where they meet in the middle, try to blend them as seamlessly as possible.

  • Practice burnishing

For smoothing out colors and minimizing pencil strokes, use a colorless blender or a paper stump tool. As well as giving you more control, this will also work better than your thumb.

  • Don’t use black and white when you create highlights and shadows

Shadows and highlights in black and white can leave a picture looking flat. Shadows are created with dark blues, purples, and indigo, while highlights are created with pale golds and yellows.

  • Using your eraser, just sweep, do not rub

When rubbing colored pencils, you grind the colors into the page rather than removing them. Kneeded erasers are good for this. Think of it as convincing the marks to leave, rather than forcing them to.

Techniques for Sketching with Colored Pencils

You’ll have everything you need to start drawing with colored pencils once you learn these basic techniques and tips. Find out how to shade and blend colored pencils. 

  • Shading: The pencil is used to produce a smooth, even layer of color, using an even side-to-side stroke; a light touch deposits a faint amount of color when shading with a colored pencil.
  • Hatching: Creating hatches with colored pencil adds texture to your compositions by arranging parallel lines evenly spaced so that they leave a little of the surface color or white visible.
  • Cross-hatching: Build up layers of color or value using hatching at an angle; keep pencil tips sharp for fine, even lines.
  • Burnishing: The paper is covered with a smooth solid color when layers of colored pencil have been applied with strong, even pressure; rubbing a stump or a smooth metal tool with even, heavy pressure in a circular motion against a deposit of color will also burnish the color.
  • Blending: Color is blended with heavy, even pressure using a pigmentless blending pencil or a white or light-colored pencil; a stiff bristle brush can also be used. 
  • Scumbling: The top layer of one color is broken or irregular, allowing the underlying color to appear.
  • Solvents: Mineral spirits, when applied with a cotton swab or brush, soften colored pencil deposits and create a variety of interesting colored pencil effects.

The final word

Colored pencils appear to be an everyday art supply. Creating beautiful, vibrantly colored, highly textured, and professional-looking drawings are easy with these tools. 

Color large areas with simple shading techniques, or learn advanced techniques such as crosshatching, color blending, and other methods to create realistic, three-dimensional images. If you want your creations to last, make sure you use quality soft-lead pencils.