use of coloured pencils

Pro tips for improving your use of coloured pencils

Paper and coloured pencils are one of the most simple and accessible ways to create art. Art starts at a young age. As children, it’s one of the first artistic tools you are gifted to be creative. Although getting started is super easy, developing pro skills with your pencil use takes time. Shading can especially present a challenge because of their waxy consistency. There are some tips we can share that can enhance your coloured pencil use taking your skills to the next level. After reading our guide, you’ll be shading like a pro.

TIP #1

Holding the pencil sideways means a bigger area of the tip is in contact with the paper. This allows light shading and smooth colouring, rather than thin and uneven lines. You can layer shading to achieve the desired hue.

TIP #2

Practice shading two contrasting colours into one another. Similar to mixing paint, but you achieve this with coloured pencils by shading two on top of one another. A good way to start is shading one colour from left to right, dark to light. Then shading your second colour from right to left, dark to light. You should aim to achieve a seamless blend where they meet in the middle. Yellow and red, for example, should give you an orange mid-section.

TIP #3

Master the art of burnishing. Burnishing is using a light or colourless blender to smooth out colours and remove the appearance of pencil strokes. This will work better than blending with your thumb by giving you more control.

TIP #4

Create highlights and shadows with colour, rather than black and white. Whilst the temptation is always there, black and white can leave your art looking flat. Using colour can instead add warmth and a richness. Colours like pale golds and yellows are warm, whereas dark blues and purples are rich.

TIP #5

Blotting with an eraser is better than rubbing. Rubbing coloured pencil does more harm than good by grinding colours into the paper rather than lifting them off. To remove colour it is best to press a kneaded eraser onto the coloured area and then slowly peel it off, similar to how you use a lump of Blu Tack to remove smaller pieces of Blu Tack from a wall.

Now you’re armed with these artistic tools, grab your paper and pencils and get creative!