Essential Colored Pencil Techniques

Various techniques exist for coloring and drawing with colored pencils. The techniques can offer different results when it comes to the coverage of pigment on the surface. Some of the major coloring techniques include back and forth strokes, cross-hatching, and hatching. You can also make up your own techniques to use. To make more realistic portrayals when drawing, it is also a good idea to follow the texture and contours of the object.

1Hatching And Cross-Hatching

The approach called hatching can be used in all aspects of drawing. To create hatching, parallel lines should be made on the paper. They may be angled, horizontal, or vertical as long as they are not touching. You pick your pencil up to create every new line, unlike the back and forth technique.

A cousin of hatching is cross-hatching, but rather than drawing parallel lines, intersecting lines are formed instead (which is where the name cross-hatching comes from). This is an ideal technique for creating texture and shading. To ensure that your cross-hatches will have a precise and clean appearance, be sure your pencil has a sharp point.

2Back And Forth And Applying Color

The back and forth approach is a basic technique, so you have most likely done it before. All you need to do is move the pencil back and forth in a single continuous motion across the paper. Continue doing that until the entire area is covered.

When you are applying color, work from the light over to the dark hues, considering that light colors are not obvious on the dark colors. It is harder to fix dark colors than it is with light colors. When applying color, you also need to be aware of how much pressure you are applying. The stronger the pressure is, the more intense your colors will be. Due to that, you might want to start out using light pressure so that the dark colors are not applied too quickly.

3Highlighting And Shading

Also, outline any highlights that are on your artwork before coloring to avoid applying darker colors accidentally in the area. Depending on what type of paper you use, another thing you can do is make use of the color of your paper instead of applying colors to the highlights. For example, certain areas should be left open on white paper to emphasize specular highlights that are on a shiny object. Highlights can also be created by using a gouache, white acrylic paint, pastel, crayon, or pencil.

When shading, avoid using black and instead choose a darker hue of a different color. When black is used, it can provide a hue that is too strong and make your artwork's colors appear a bit off if you want a portrayal that is more realistic. When coloring, you should also finish smaller areas instead of working on the whole artwork at the same time. This will help to reduce the amount of smudging significantly.

4Burnishing And Scraping

The act of burnishing involves using pressure to fill in the paper tooth with color and combine the layers. The result is a very shiny and smooth appearance of color for your artwork. A sharp colored pencil should be used since that will help to saturate the paper with color more quickly.

Scraping can only occur from burnishing. After you have achieved a lustrous area, use a precision knife to scrape away the parts that you would like to remove. The technique will most likely leave a scratchy appearance, so make sure that it is used in places, like animal fur, that you would like to be highly textured.

5Using Solvents And Solvent Blending

The binding of your colored pencils will be disrupted by solvents to allow the colors to blend. That will help to decrease coloring strokes from appearing and enable a smoother appearance. A few different kinds of solvents are available that can be used with colored pencils.

No matter what type of solvent you use, be sure to first test it on your paper to make sure it can hold up on the paper. Also, be sure to allow the solvent to dry before color is applied again. To help with the drying process, be ready to wipe excess solvents off with a cloth or paper towel.

6Erasing Colored Pencils

Compared to graphite artwork, colored pencils may be a lot harder to erase, but it is still possible. Instead of erasing, blotting needs to be used instead, and the color should be lifted off of the paper to get rid of mistakes. The heavier the layer is, the harder it is to lift the color off from the paper. That is why you need to start by applying color lightly until you gain more experience in using this medium of art.

Scotch tape and white vinyl erasers work best for lifting the color off of the paper. Although kneaded areas won't completely erase, they can help to lighten your artwork's colors. No matter what kind of eraser you use, make sure to first test it on a separate sheet of paper so that you know the effect it may have on your work of art.

7Keeping Debris Off The Paper

Colored pencils may leave residue on an artwork. Wax-based pencils leave more residue compared to oil-based ones. This debris may interfere with your piece of art by getting lodged inside the tooth of your paper, which will result in the color being contaminated.

To avoid this issue, make sure to keep your artwork clean during the whole creation process. To prevent debris, you can either use a small duster or can of compressed air. Cosmetic brushes can also be used periodically to keep eraser or wax debris off of your paper.

The techniques that we have discussed in this article are fundamentals for colored pencil artwork. Either a single technique can be used, or different techniques can be combined to create depth. If the techniques are put to good use, you will be able to create amazing art in absolutely no time!

Jean Martin

Jean Martin, a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota, works in a pharmacy. After hearing about her roommate's struggles coping with stress, she sought a solution and decided to give coloring books a try. It was a success and gave birth to this website!