There’s a lot to like about drawing with color pencils. They’re utterly convenient—a handful of color pencils and a pad of paper are all you really need to start creating. Prep time and clean up are practically non-issues, the materials are light and portable, and you don’t need messy or toxic solvents. At the same time, color pencil drawing lends itself to highly refined and exquisite works of color pencil art that rival those created with any other medium.
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Color pencils are relatively inexpensive, and the palette is extensive. The color is pure, clean and bright. The medium is permanent, and color pencil drawings do not require elaborate care or storage. Along with hard and soft color pencils, watercolor pencils and oil-based color pencils offer more options for beginning artists.
Aside from their convenience and versatility, much of the appeal of color pencils is the control they offer. You can do loose work, tight work or anything in between. You can use color pencil to tint a drawing with light strokes that let the color of the paper show through, or you can use color pencil to create a solid deposit of many layers of color. Because color pencil is primarily a dry medium, there’s no drying time to worry about. You can walk away from the work and come back and pick up right where you left off. You can start and stop at any time.
Color pencil offers the pleasures and rewards of both drawing and painting. Whatever other medium you enjoy, you’ll find color pencil a worthwhile addition to your repertoire.
Any good drawing paper is acceptable for color pencil, but a fine-toothed, firm, durable paper or illustration board is best for extensive layering and burnishing. Not all papers can stand up to the pressure of the pencil, especially if you’re layering multiple colors, burnishing and blending. Paper with a rough surface can produce interesting textures, but rough surfaces aren’t conducive to the application of even deposits of color. Experiment with different papers until you find the ones best for your work.
Color pencils are stable and permanent. Their cores are made of very finely ground pigment bound with hard wax. Watercolor pencils are made with water-soluble cores; oil-based color pencils have soft cores that are soluble in solvents such as mineral spirits. Some color pencils are made without wood casing.
Color pencils are probably the safest professional art materials available. There’s almost no risk of ingestion of pigments. If you do use solvents in your color pencil paintings, ensure that your workspace has proper ventilation. Observe normal safe studio practices, and take care to dispose of pencil shavings neatly.
Enjoy these color pencil techniques & tips, perfect for beginners or artists new to color pencil drawing and painting. Learn how to draw with color pencils and start working with color pencils.
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