There are lots of reasons to try colored pencils for fine art or fun art. I started using them mainly because they’re easier to travel with than oil paints (and cleaner, too!)
But the longer I’ve used them, the more reasons I’ve found to recommend them to others.
Today, I want to share six of the best reasons (in my opinion) you should try colored pencils if you haven’t already.
(Or to give them another try if you tried them before and weren’t sure they were for you.)
6 Reasons to Try Colored Pencils
#1: They’re Relatively Inexpensive
You can spend $4 a pencil if you want to, but you don’t have to. And if you’re just getting started, you probably shouldn’t.
For most people who want to try colored pencils, the basic Prismacolor pencils you find at Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart are an excellent place to begin.
You don’t need the full set, either. A set of 12 gives you enough colors to try. You’ll be able to see how they feel to draw with, how they go onto the paper, and how they look when you layer various colors one over another.
And even if the colored pencils you’re looking at seem expensive, take a look at the get-started supplies for oil painting, watercolor, or acrylics!
#2: You Can Get Them Almost Anywhere
Most Wal-Mart type stores carry colored pencils in some form.
So do most office supply stores and even some print shops.
And of course colored pencils are a staple at most hobby shops, art stores, and crafting supply stores.
You can even buy them from eBay and Amazon if you don’t mind paying for shipping.
#3: You Don’t Need a Bunch of Special Equipment
No fancy easels, canvases, or dozens of brushes. No paint thinners or drying retardants, and no varnishes or fixatives.
Just pencils, paper, and a sharpener.
What could possibly be easier?
#4: You Don’t Need Solvents or Other Toxic Materials
You can use a wide range of drawing techniques with colored pencils without using smelly or toxic solvents. Many artists, even advanced artists, don’t use any of those tools and they produce vibrant, real-to-life works of art.
You can use those things if you wish. They can be time saving tools if you decide colored pencil is your medium.
But if you’re just getting started, leave those things on the shelf.
Get an extra sheet or pad of paper instead!
#5: They’re Clean
Colored pencils are a dry medium. They go on the paper dry and they stay dry. You don’t need to worry about cleaning up afterward, unless you spill shavings out of your sharpener.
I mentioned above that you don’t need toxic solvents or other materials to use colored pencils.
The even better news is that most colored pencils are also non-toxic to use. Just don’t eat them, chew on them, or suck them.
(Yeah, I know. You’d think that warning shouldn’t be necessary, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself with a pen or pencil in my mouth while pondering something or studying a drawing. NOT a good idea!)
#6: They’re Portable
This is the primary reason I took up colored pencils years ago. They’re portable. Because they’re clean and dry, you can travel with them and use them almost anywhere without worrying about leaving or making a mess.
I took them to horse shows and other venues, and was able to work on a piece while on site. They were a lot easier to travel with than the oil paints I’d been using for years.
That’s why I now use them almost exclusively. Even in the studio, they’re mess-free.
Bonus Tip: They’re Great for the Kids, Too
If you have kids and are looking for an art-related activity you can do together, there is no better medium than colored pencils.
You and your budding artist can use the same pencils without worries about messes, unsafe materials, or the other cautions required with many other mediums.
And if you find colored pencils aren’t for you, turn them over to the youngsters in your household.
I’ve put together a list of Basic Drawing Lesson Materials & Supplies that you can download for free, then print it and take it shopping. It includes not only the items you need, but my recommendations on brands and size (when applicable.)
I hope you find it useful.
And I hope you also enjoy your adventure with colored pencils, no matter where on the journey you may be!
I just read why you are leaving social media…I am one of the very few that has never done any social media! I love this newsletter and have used many of your tutorials as a “private ” lesson during these different times. Thank you for you inspiring thoughts.
I’m the one that contacted you about the Rooster on Black Paper and drew the “Goofy Bird”
Thank you, Lynda!
And I’m glad you’re finding those tutorials helpful.
Chickens are beautiful birds, but I’ve never drawn one. Can you believe it? Peggy’s tutorial made me stop and think about drawing that, but time is always an issue. Maybe someday.