It's important to take excellent care of your pencils!
Don't you hate it when your pencil tip breaks off?
It happens when you break the color INSIDE the pencil: by dropping the pencil, playing drums on your desk, being clumsy, or not taking good care of your pencils.
Treat your pencil like it is made of glass and your tip will not break off, giving you many uses of beautiful color!
Always use a hand-held pencil sharpener for your colored pencils. Hold the sharpener in your dominant hand and your pencil in the other.
Turn the sharpener not the pencil, as you hold your pencil straight, in a fixed position.
This reduces stress on the pencil’s soft core. If your sharpener has more than one hole, use the larger one, which will give you a wider angle and a stronger point.
Make sure your blade is sharp! A dull blade will “catch” on the soft core as it passes over it, causing the core to break.
To tell if your blade is sharp, look at the shavings. If they’re long, continuous pieces, you have a sharp blade. If your shavings are in lots of short, choppy pieces, your blade is dull and can damage your pencils.
You can "lay down" color with your colored pencils by hatching, cross-hatching, or other shading techniques like a back and forth stroke.
Hatching involves drawing a series of parallel lines. These lines all go in the same direction. The lines can be close together, far apart, or any variation in between. The pencil is lifted from the paper after each line and then placed down again to create a new line.
Cross-hatching involves drawing a series of parallel lines (hatching) and then drawing another series of parallel lines going in another direction on top of the first set of lines. This is a great way to create shading in a drawing. You can create some interesting textures through cross-hatching.
The back and forth stroke is the most common of all the coloring techniques. You put your pencil on the paper and draw in a continuous back and forth motion, without lifting your pencil off of the paper. This is a good way to fill different areas of your drawing with a lot of solid color, but can look messy with lines.
The best way to lay down color without lines is making smooth, small ovals that overlap. Use a pencil that is NOT super sharp.
Consider the Drawing Surface for the texture (tooth) and the tone (color).
The texture (tooth) of the paper plays a vital role in how your marks will behave on the surface. Smoother surfaces, like Bristol paper, produce smoother applications. While a smoother surface will give you a bit more control over the detail in the image, it also may limit the number of layers of color that can be accepted.
Rougher textures, like watercolor paper or Mi-Teintes pastel paper, may limit the details that you are able to produce initially. But, these papers are more adapt to accepting multiple applications of color. After multiple layers have been added, and burnished, details are much easier to achieve.
The pressure placed on the pencil can affect the value and the intensity of the color. When layering colors, this plays an important role.
Do not apply everything with the same pressure.
Adjusting the pressure when mixing affects the intensity and the resulting color. Experiment as you work to find the right combinations of pressure to produce the colors and values that you need for your particular application.
Burnishing is the process of working the material into the tooth of the paper to produce smooth and solid applications of color. This is what transforms a colored pencil drawing into a colored pencil painting. Burnishing naturally happens in a colored pencil drawing when multiple applications are added and a waxy build up occurs.
This process can be expedited using a few techniques. A light pencil can be applied over the area with heavy pressure. White and Cream work best for this approach. Although the application is burnished effectively, this approach does affect the value of the resulting color, making it a bit lighter.
A colorless blender can also be used to produce a burnished application. Colorless blenders are available as a pencil or marker.
Solvents can also be used to burnish applications. Many artists use alcohol or an alternative solvent such as Turpenoid which can be applied over the colored pencil application with a soft brush.
Applying just one color is not enough.
Multiple layers of color are required.
Layering colors produces more depth in the color and leads to a more realistic depiction of the scene.
Layering colors of a different value or hue naturally mixes on the surface and mixed colors are always more natural in their appearance.
It's hard to find an example of a true black or white.
Not only does mixing a dark blue and a dark brown produce a natural black, but it also allows the artist to control the temperature of the color that is produced.
Want a warmer black? Add more dark brown. Need a cooler black? Add more of the dark blue.