Colored Pencil Drawings: Simple Guide for Beginners

Creating colored pencil drawings is simple art if practiced meticulously as well as at same time having fun with drawing. Color pencil drawings is rapid growing art which is loved and practiced by many people.

Kids enjoy this art as fun way to draw their imaginations. Color pencil drawings have also gained lot of respect with artists in present times and many artists have started to showcase their art in exhibitions and galleries.

Colored Pencil Art

When we talk about Color pencil art, basic and most important element for the art is color pencils.

Color pencils vary greatly in terms of quality, usability, concentration of pigments, softness and its durability.

The colors give a soft hue and magic to the image or picture they are used on. The color art when drawn properly adds life to the drawings.

Using the colored pencils is utterly convenient. Just like Black and white drawings these drawings lend itself to highly refined and exquisite works of art that can compete with those created with any other medium.

There are three different types of colored pencils manufactured for artistic and practical uses. These are:

Wax Based Pencils

These pencils are widely used and are most popular among both professionals and non- professionals. Wax is being used in these pencils to hold pigments together. They have softer cores and has got good tendency to break off. With softer touch these pencils can spread color easily compared to other.

Oil Based Pencils

These pencils are also used commonly and use oil as binder for holding pigments together. They have harder core compared to wax based pencils and hence do not break easily. They are good for layering.

Watercolor Pencils

These pencils have water soluble binder for holding pigments together. These pencils convert dry pencils into fluid paint when water is applied.



It is simple technique where even strokes of pencil side by side and then shad evenly in whole area. There are two basic types of shading:

Lighter Texture

Light Texture shading

Here we apply less pressure of pencils on to pages so that light texture is made.

Heavy Texture

Darker Texture shading

Here we apply heavy pressure on pages so that darker textures are produced.


Gradate Shading technique

In this technique we will be using mixture of light and heavy texture where we will start with heavy texture and will move slowly to lighter texture.


Hatching pencil color shading technique

As explained in shading techniques, this technique involves series of parallel lines shade together in one direction. When shaded lines are close, it gives darker texture and when apart it creates lighter texture.


Cross Hatching Color shading technique

It is similar to hatching technique where multiple set of lines cross each other to produce gradient image. Similar to hatching if lines cross each other closely then we get darker texture and if lines are not close enough then we get lighter texture.


Burnishing shading technique

It is the technique in which there is some pressure applied while using the colored pencils so that the colors blend together. Here we can use erasers, fingers or colorless blender to blend together lighter and darker texture to create smooth image. It kinds of smoothen the transitions.

In the image above blue shade has been blended with white pencil which giving gradient look.


Layering shading technique

In this technique we add layers of colors on each other. Just imagine that some part requires blue color and then we add another color say yellow to other part but as seen in image blow, the superimposed part will add layering effect. By layering multiple layers even with same color, we can get exciting final result.


Blending color pencil shading technique

This technique adds depth to our drawings. We can use colorless blender to smoothen the texture. It is similar to Burnishing and is used to blend the layers. When used correctly it create amazingly glossy look.


scumbling shading technique

It is simple smooth technique where we can fill an area by applying controlled circular strokes. We can add multiple layers to give good texture. It is one of easy techniques and should be used initially to draw easy pencil drawings.


Stippling color shading technique

In this technique we fill out the space with small spots. These spots or dots when put together it creates darker texture and when put apart creates lighter texture. Here we can experiment with sharper pencil and dull pencil to see which creates better texture in drawings.

Color pencil drawings tools

Some of the must Have’s for color pencil drawings are as follows:

Good quality colored pencils

As explained earlier in the section, both wax based and oil based pencils can be used for color pencil drawings. To create painting, water-based pencils will be better.

A good sharpener

Good quality sharpener is essential as it creates required tip and sharpening of pencils.


Good quality Eraser are must for drawings. Having good quality eraser will help you to erase undesired lines and layer and also leave less trace of it.

Cotton swabs

Cotton swabs can be used to get good texture in drawings especially in layering and blending. Using cotton swab, we rub the color so as to spread it in way that creates desired texture. They are also good for applying solvent and make good water-based drawings.

Colorless blender

These blenders are ideal for blending and softening of edges in color pencil drawings and are essential must have tool in the drawing kit.

Good quality paper

Some of the various quality papers for color pencil drawings are:

  • Simple Drawing sheets- Simple Drawing books available in market can be used to start with. Even A4 sheets can be used to learn basics. But one should get good papers to learn art and draw in better fashion as shown in next points.
  • Bristol Paper – These are one of the most common papers used for drawings. They are of two types – smooth and vellum. Although Vellum is preferred but smooth can also be used.
  • Toned Paper – Toned papers don’t have white background. With tones ranging from light to dark being present in pages, it can create many possibilities for artists to have wide range of drawing options.
  • Stonehenge Paper – These papers are usually preferred by advanced artists as it can produce impressive results when drawn by experienced professionals. Its also a bit expensive compared to rest.

Color pencil drawings is not just an art but a fun way to express creativity. This post is simple answer to those who wish to learn and scale in this art. Keep practicing with techniques and tools shared in the post and improve your potential in color pencil art.

Leaf Colored pencil Drawings

This drawing is simple example on how you can create simple image of  leaf with just two colors and one shading technique – Hatching. However, you can use your imagination and mix up different techniques to draw whatever you wish to draw.

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