Do Artists Use Colour Pencils?

Some materials are treated with a bit of a question mark when it comes to art. Colouring pencils are one such media, many love them but are they considered a serious tool for the artist?

Although many don’t consider them a ‘real’ medium for artists, I think I would have to disagree because I have seem some very impressive work done with them.  I will give some general tips for using coloured pencils and how to use them:

Find a range you like

I haven’t used colouring pencils for a long time so I don’t feel qualified to advise on the best brands.  I do remember trying a few out in the past though, my best by far were always Karisma. They are lovely and soft, come in rich, bright colours and are fun to use. I heard recently that Karisma colour pencils are no longer produced and they sell on ebay for high prices! I am not sure if this is true but if you can do get yourself some.  All is not lost as I heard they are replaced by Prismas which many speak highly of.

Karisma Coloured Pencils
Karisma Coloured Pencils – The best colour pencils
Prisma Colour Pencils
Prisma Colour Pencils – Ideal for Beginners

Ask in the store if can try out a few pencils before you purchase a set.

What Paper is Needed for Colouring Pencils? 

You can use colouring pencils with cartridge paper (drawing paper) although I’d recommend using good quality paper of the thicker variety (at least 100gsm) for the best results.

If you use a paper with a bit of a tooth (groove) in it, the pencils take on a grainy look, which some like and others don’t.  If you like this rough texture look, try out a pastel paper or a grained paper.

You don’t have to stick to white, colouring pencils can look great on coloured paper, try a mushroom coloured pastel paper or even black.  Using white and bright pencils on black looks great.

Colour pencils on a dark coloured paper can be very effective
Colour pencils on a dark coloured paper can be very effective

How Do I Use Them?

There are a whole host of ways, which is another post so for now I am just going to list some of the techniques and briefly explain them:

Layering – Try layering colour to create rich colours and textures

Blending – Like layering but the idea is to blend, so you might take two colours that are very close to one another and blend them for example for a graduated sky

Strokes – Try out different strokes but don’t blend only use line

Line – I have seem some lively yet simple line drawings in colour pencils, just using a few colours is very effective

Mixed Media – This is how I like to use colouring pencil, with other media.  They are great with pastels, you can use them with watercolour and pencil very well too – try it for yourself!

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