Coloring Techniques For Colored Pencils

There are several techniques that artists use when coloring or drawing with colored pencils. Each method helps bring out a specific result different from the other. The result is achieved based on the level of pigment coverage on the piece or surface being worked on. Some of the popular coloring techniques used today include cross-hatching, hatching, and highlighting, among others. You, too, can come up with your unique coloring methods to use when drawing; all you need to do is follow the texture and contours of the object to create realistic portrayals.

1Applying The Colors

If working with colors, you need to start with light hues, then proceed to darker ones. This way, the light colors will be easily portrayed. Fixing darker colors is more challenging as compared to brighter ones, a reason you need to start with the brighter ones first. The amount of pressure used when creating the hues is another factor you ought to put into consideration. If looking to create a more intense color, you then need to use more pressure on the same and vice versa on lighter colors; that said, lighter pressure should be used when starting, then increase the pressure to achieve the desired effect or hue.

2Erasing Colored Pencils

While erasing graphite artwork is easy, the same cannot be said with colored pencils. A different approach is, however, required when trying to erase colored work. To do this, you need to use a method commonly known as blotting, where you only lift the color off the surface. This helps eliminate mistakes related to erasing. Lifting a heavier layer of color presents a much harder challenge, which is why experts recommend starting with lighter strokes until you're confident of what you are doing.

Scotch tape and white vinyl erasers come in handy when trying to lift color off a surface or paper. You can also use the kneaded eraser for the job; though, it will not provide a clean/complete erase. This eraser can be used to help lighten colors on the piece being worked on. Whatever eraser you choose, test it first on a separate piece to see how effective it is.

3Burnishing Or Blending With Pencils

Burnishing is another technique that relies on pressure to combine several layers and help provide a complete fill on the paper. The result is a smooth feel and shiny appearance (of the color) on the artwork. Sharp colored pencils are recommended when using this technique as it saturates the paper quickly with the intended tone.

4Technique In Color Shading

Use black sparingly when shading or avoid it altogether. You can, however, use a darker hue of the desired color instead to make the artwork more lifelike. This is because black can be too overwhelming for the other colors and especially if looking to produce a realistic effect. For the best results, consider working on smaller areas of the artwork bit by bit instead of working on the entire artwork at once. This helps reduce the risk of smudging the artwork.

5The Hatching Technique

Hatching is a technique that makes use of all known facets of drawing. To create your artwork, you first need to make parallel lines on the paper. These parallel lines can be horizontal, vertical, or angled, provided they don’t intersect at any point. You'll need to use your pencil to create each new line, which is unlike the back and forth method.

6The Cross-Hatching Technique

Cross-hatching is derived from hatching. It, however, makes use of intersecting lines rather than parallel lines used in hatching. This technique is mostly employed when shading or creating texture. The lines created need to be clean and precise, a reason the pencil needs to be sharp-pointed - hence, sharpen it well.

7Solvent Blending Technique

Solvents disrupt binding in colored pencil, hence making the blending of colors possible. The blending of colors allows for a smoother experience as they reduce the effect of coloring strokes and how they appear on the artwork. There's a wide variety of solvents that you can use with colored pencils to create this effect.

Be sure to test out the solvent on a separate paper before using it on the actual piece. This will help you see how well it holds against the paper. You might also want to wait until the solvent is completely dry before continuing with the piece. You can also use a cloth or paper towel to wipe off any excess solvent for a more refined look and for the same to dry quickly.

8Applying The Highlights

To avoid applying darker colors on highlights (unintentionally), you can outline the artwork first before coloring. This, however, depends on the type of color in use. You could avoid using the highlights and use the paper's color as a guide instead – this can be used to highlight a shiny object. You could alternatively use a white-colored crayon, pencil, pastel, gouache, or acrylic paint to create the same effect as well.

Learning these techniques should help you create more realistic pieces of art over time. It is also with regular practice that you get to perfect some of these techniques and even come up with your own. Be sure to practice one or two of these techniques to become a master in the same.

Grace Jackson

Grace Jackson is a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina and is a high school teacher. She owns many coloring books and loaned her friend Vicki a few after convincing her to give them a try. Now, the only problem is getting her to grab her own!