Using Coloured Pencils - Pencils4Artists

Permanent Colour Pencils
Permanent Colour Pencils
Manufacturing Permanent Colour Pencils?
The technology that goes into making coloured pencils has come a long way since their introduction around 150 years ago. The range of colours available is enormous and lightfastness has improved beyond measure. The variation from brand to brand can be bigger than you think! Some can be soft and smudgy (Derwent Coloursoft and Derwent Drawing range for example) while others can be harder or waxier (Faber Castell Polychromos, Lyra Polycolor, Derwent Studio ranges).
The leads themselves can vary from a standard, fairly fine core of around 3-4mm while some ranges can go up to a 5-6mm core giving broader strokes (eg the Lyra Color Giant and Ferby pencils).
Which type of pencil you prefer is usually down to personal taste but most artists, although they have a favourite, will use different brands for different effects. Whichever type you favour coloured pencils offer accuracy and flexibility at the same time.
  • The most basic technique with coloured pencils is building up colour. Experiment with layers of the same colour to achieve different tones and hues – although do not try to add too many layers as this will create a waxy, unworkable base for the rest of your sketching.
  • Use a paper stump to blend colours together or a blender pencil is also very useful for softening lines and seamlessly mixing two colours together.
  • Hatching (criss crossing) techniques can be applied with pencils of different colours to give interesting textural effects or to create an illusion of other colours.
  • Choose your paper well, the right background colour can be left to add highlights or a toothed, textured paper can lend translucency to the finished effect.
  • Use a burnishing pencil to add highlights and sheen to you pictures or to create a 'wax resist' technique - this is where you use a layer of wax to mark out a design then colour over it, the wax will resist the pigment thus leaving the white showing through.
  • Fine erasers or putty erasers can be used to lift out small areas of colour and lighten them to add depth to a picture.
  • Use a white or light coloured pencil to glaze over darker colours towards the end of a drawing which will burnish the surface and enhance the feeling of light.