Drawing and Coloring with Colored Pencils

First, let's explore the different type of colored pencils available:

  • Dry Color Pencils - These dry media pencils come in a wide range of colors. They can be used to create either lightly or boldly colored areas. What's wonderful about these pencils is that they are very easy to control.

  • Water soluble Color Pencils - you can use these pencils to add a watercolor like effect to your drawings. They act much like dry colored pencils unless you get them wet. Once you add water to any color you've laid down onto paper, they act like more like watercolor paint.


Prismacolor pencil is perhaps the most popular color pencil in the professional art market. They are known for their good coverage and bold colors. If you are looking for a quality pencil I highly recommend the Prismacolor Brand Pencils.

Prismacolor pencil can be used in a variety of ways. The quick method relies on scribbling for adding quick touches of color. While the slower method requires patient layering to create soft gradations for a realistic effect.

You can modernize the look by using it as an accent color within a black line gesture drawing. Here I've combined a black fine tip marker, regular color pencils and water-soluble color pencils to achieve a gestural effect.

color pencil figure

Note: When it comes to skin color, I prefer to use a warm color such as yellow for the highlights. A cool color such as light blue for the shadows. And a neutral tone such as beige for the over all mid-tone.

Here's a link to a great skin color tutorial by fantasy artist Katherine Rose Barber: Skin tones in Prismacolor pencils.

I enjoy the loose marks achieved by scribbling. However, some of you might prefer to create more defined, detailed drawings. The photo-realistic method, while being one of the most impressive, is also the most time-consuming!

I must emphasize that the only way to make this method work is to have patience and to slowly add layer upon layer of pencil lightly! If you don't believe me, just watch the preview video's posted below of Janie Gildow using colored pencil to create beautiful realistic drawings.

For those of you who are serious about learning this skill, you'll need more than a 5 minute video to really learn the ins and outs of the color pencil technique. Below are two DVD previews from our affiliate partners, Creative Catalyst Productions. Watch the preview videos to get a glimpse of how to get started. If you like what you see, you may purchase the full videos at:

The Art of Colored Pencil: The Light Touch with Janie Gildow


The Colored Pencil: Getting Started Right with Janie Gildow

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