Carrie L. Lewis, Artist & Teacher

Helping You Create Art You Can be Proud Of

2 Colored Pencil Questions and 1 Tech Question

Q&A Month continues with 2 colored pencil questions and 1 tech question. Let’s get straight to the questions.

2 Colored Pencil Questions and 1 Tech Question

Making the Transition from Graphite to Colored Pencils

I am a beginner to sketching and creating art. So far I have been practicing sketching with pencils and some charcoal. I can see improvement in my sketches however, I really want to try coloured pencils and thus far, it has been frustrating with little success. Somehow what I have learned in graphite does not transfer to the coloured pencil medium. Any suggestions?

Although both come in pencil form, there aren’t many similarities between drawing with graphite or charcoal and colored pencils. The biggest reason is that they use different types of binders.

Graphite pencils are made by mixing dry graphite with a clay binder that makes it possible to form the graphite into a lead core, then draw or write with it. The clay binder is easily erased and blended.

Colored pencils also contain clay in the binder, but the clay is mixed with wax and, in some cases, oil. The binder allows the pigment to be molded into pencil form, and allows it to be transferred to paper and blended during drawing, just like the binder in graphite pencils.

But graphite doesn’t work well under pencil because the wax binder picks the graphite up and smears it into the color. Remember I said the clay binder can be easily blended or erased? That means it can also be easily picked up by colored pencil.

Graphite cannot be layered over colored pencil because it will not stick to the waxy surface that colored pencils leave on the paper.

So most of the methods you use with graphite are not very helpful with colored pencil.

One Thing That Does Transition from Graphite to Colored Pencil

But one thing that does transfer is knowing how to use values in drawing. A good graphite artist knows all about using value to create from in their drawings, so once you’ve mastered that, you know the most important thing you need to know about making good colored pencil drawings.

Start learning colored pencil by working with just one or two colors. Get a feel for how they layer and blend, and see what you can draw. Once you get comfortable with that, trying drawing an under drawing, then practice glazing color over that. I explain how I use an umber under drawing in this tutorial.

Gradually add more colors to your palette and you’ll become as good with colored pencils as you were with graphite.

How To Get a Shine on Colored Pencil Drawings

Could you please help … me to get a shine to my coloured pencil drawings? I still have a lot to learn so would appreciate your advice. Many thanks

The best way to get a shine on your drawings is by using wax-based pencils and heavy pressure in the final layers. No matter what method of drawing you use, using heavy pressure with a wax-based pencil will create a shine, as well as blending colors together, and filling in paper holes.

The reason is that the heavier pressure you put on your pencil, the more wax binder you also put on the paper. Wax creates a smooth surface that gets very slick, and that will make your drawing look shiny.

You will want to protect the drawing from wax bloom, though, because the more wax on the paper, the more wax bloom you’ll have. Use a good final finish to spray the drawing when it’s finished to help prevent wax bloom.

Can I Get Lessons on Portable Devices?

I love this site, however, I am an older woman and only have the use of the library computers once a week. Is there anyway to copy the lessons to a portable source such as a jump drive so I can view them at home on my computer (I cannot afford internet, that’s why I have to go to the library) Thank you.

An excellent question, and one I hadn’t considered before you asked!

There are several ways to deliver content that do not involve the internet. Lessons and ebooks can easily be made available on CD, flash or jump drives.

Is anyone else interested in being able to get lessons or tutorials on either CD or flash drives? Let me know. The more CDs and flash drives I buy in bulk, and the less expensive they are.

If this is something you want, now’s the time to tell me. Leave a comment below or using the contact form at the bottom of the page to send me an email.

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who asked a question for Q&A Month. The questions have all been good questions. I promise I’ll get to every question, but if you don’t see your question answered this month, let me know. It may have gotten lost in the shuffle.

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4 Frequently Asked Questions About Colored Pencil Methods

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How to Layer Color and Get Soft Colors

1 Comment

  1. Mariepier

    How To Get a Shine on Colored Pencil Drawings:
    I use the back of a stainless steel spoon, when done I apply a lot of pressure in the round without moving the colors. I read that somewhere. Up to date I never had wax bloom but my work is not professional. Only for cards or paintings for friends and family

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