Colored Pencil Techniques


Colored pencils have always been one of my favorite art tools to work with. This is because they mix the detail I can get with pen and ink, and the bold color of oil painting. When I was little, I swore I would only use colored pencils forever, and never paint. That's how much I loved those sticks of colored wood. Anyways, people have asked me a lot over the years how I get my colored pencil work to look the way it does, so here are the techniques I use. 

  1. The first technique I use is to use a tiny bit of paint thinner on a cotton ball, (or q tip if the area is detailed) to blend the pencil into a surface that looks like watercolor. When this area is still wet, color can be layered over the top to deepen it. When the area dries, small details can be layered over the top to add the texture back into the work.



2. Mix mediums. Some areas just need a touch of acrylic paint to lighten them up, or make the colors richer. In the drawing above, the figure has the texture of pencil, but the clouds are made from acrylic paint. This creates a spontaneously formed look that even the above technique could not accomplish.


3. Have no life. Colored pencils take hours and hours of dedication, when you start something with colored pencils, it's a long commitment. Try to work on multiple projects or take a break between sessions to stop yourself from resorting to tip #1 and 2 to finish the drawing quickly.
4. Keep pencils sharp at all times, and use Prismacolors if you can afford it. Even if you can't afford a large set, buy a basic set with the primary colors, and use other brands for the less common colors. A Prismacolor white is a must have for blending, so make sure your set has one, or you can purchase it separately. There are colorless blending sticks, but I personally like using a white pencil for this because it leaves less white space between the color. I know that sounds crazy, but trust me.




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Sonja Funnell Art: Colored Pencil Techniques

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Colored Pencil Techniques


Colored pencils have always been one of my favorite art tools to work with. This is because they mix the detail I can get with pen and ink, and the bold color of oil painting. When I was little, I swore I would only use colored pencils forever, and never paint. That's how much I loved those sticks of colored wood. Anyways, people have asked me a lot over the years how I get my colored pencil work to look the way it does, so here are the techniques I use. 

  1. The first technique I use is to use a tiny bit of paint thinner on a cotton ball, (or q tip if the area is detailed) to blend the pencil into a surface that looks like watercolor. When this area is still wet, color can be layered over the top to deepen it. When the area dries, small details can be layered over the top to add the texture back into the work.



2. Mix mediums. Some areas just need a touch of acrylic paint to lighten them up, or make the colors richer. In the drawing above, the figure has the texture of pencil, but the clouds are made from acrylic paint. This creates a spontaneously formed look that even the above technique could not accomplish.


3. Have no life. Colored pencils take hours and hours of dedication, when you start something with colored pencils, it's a long commitment. Try to work on multiple projects or take a break between sessions to stop yourself from resorting to tip #1 and 2 to finish the drawing quickly.
4. Keep pencils sharp at all times, and use Prismacolors if you can afford it. Even if you can't afford a large set, buy a basic set with the primary colors, and use other brands for the less common colors. A Prismacolor white is a must have for blending, so make sure your set has one, or you can purchase it separately. There are colorless blending sticks, but I personally like using a white pencil for this because it leaves less white space between the color. I know that sounds crazy, but trust me.




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