Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Colored Pencils and Shading.

Hello!  Sorry this is a little late getting posted:
my internet wasn't working right today.

Today I'm going to talk about colored pencils.

I enjoy using colored pencils to add color to my drawings,
and I hope to help you with a few tips.

I have a Prismacolor pencil set.
I bought these for a college class I took and really like the way they work.

I find the lead doesn't break as easily as cheaper pencils, and the colors are bold
and blend together easily.

When using color, it is common to use a color wheel to help shade.

Generally speaking, using the color opposite on the color wheel to shade
gives a more natural look.
For example, to shade yellow, one would use purple;
red would be shaded with a greenish yellow; etc,...

but sometimes I find that using similar colors in darker shades can give a nice look, too.

Here's an example:

Here we have Mouse in a light pink dress.

To add some realism to her dress, I took some different shades of pink/purple/and even a touch of red...

to make some areas in the "folds" of the material of her dress,
and along the bottom of it look darker,...


 and a few strokes of a brighter pink to give some boldness to it.

 When I was done adding colors, I took the original light pink
and colored over all the colors, which helped to blend it in and even it out.

For the daffodils, I did use the complementary color on the color wheel
(the one opposite it)
to shade the flowers.

I colored just a touch at the middle of the flowers
and onto the inside edge of the petals.

 This picture below shows how using the original yellow to blend the purplish/red in makes it look more natural.

 It is great fun and good exercise to mix colors and try different ways of shading.
Shading helps to make your picture look more realistic and makes the images pop off the paper.

 Below is a listing of some of the different colors I used in this picture to shade it.

For practice this week, draw a simple picture or find a fun coloring book,
pull out some colored pencils, and experiment with shading using complimentary colors on the color wheel,
and your own color choices to see what you achieve.

See how fun it is to mix colors and how it makes the picture come to life.

Have a great week, and thanks for stopping by!

This is part of my free art lesson series each week.
To see the full list of art lessons, click <HERE<.

Linking up to:


  1. So pretty! You are very talented! I have a new weekly link party which is live now and I would love if you stop by and link up this wonderful post! Hope to see you there! http://mariaelenasdecor.blogspot.com/ Hugs, Maria

    1. Thank you, Maria. I will try to get over to you link part asap. I love link parties. Thanks for commenting! :)

  2. Hi from HHH . . .
    My son just got a set of Prismacolor pencils for Easter. After a ton of research I decided this would be the right set for him. Yeah, looks like I made the right choice. He has a 12 starter set. Art is a big part of our homeschool day so he put them right to work. He loves them. :)

    Sharing my kiddos artwork this week at waddleeahchaa.com.


    1. Thanks for sharing! I'm sure your son will discover the wonderful world of colored pencils in his artwork! I'll have to check out that website.

  3. What wonderful tips. I had never learned about the color wheel. I'll have to share this with the grandkids. Thank you.

  4. We love prisma pencils! Great tutorial.

    1. Thank you! Another fan of the great colored pencils! :)

  5. I love using my colored pencils and will have to try the prisma brand. Your tutorial was very helpful -thanks!

  6. We love our prismacolors here too! I am going to show the technique to my girls (and my husband he loves to draw with them ). Thanks!

  7. Colored pencils are one of our favorites to use around here. Our Simply Create Link party is going on right now. I would love to have you link up, as I'm sure my followers would like to see your shading techniques too. Hope to see you soon!


    1. Thank you! Sorry I missed your party. I'll check into it this week.

  8. Nice post. I went to design school and spent hundreds of hours with my prismacolors. Have you ever used a blender pencil? It's a colorless pencil you use to blend colors. It pushes the pigment together so tightly that the colors get really intense and pretty.

    1. I have a colorless blender, but I think it is more like a marker. I will have to check into the pencil version. The marker seemed to make it harder to work with. Thank you so much for the comment. Sounds like you have lots of great experience with these pencils. :)

  9. Wow...love this! Thanks for sharing how you did the shading. Just beautiful!

  10. That's a lot of fun. I think that's a good exercise for people who are just learning to use complementary colors. As artists become more experienced, they tend to do this automatically with their drawings and illustrations because of the effect that these colors have in their work.

  11. Hi. i notice that this post is a couple years old. i was wondering if you still like Prismacolors so well? i've had them for like 30 years, and i notice that the newer pencils seem to break much more easily. They do seem to be the nicest, readily-available brand, and i still use them more than others. It seems that the grade makes more difference than the brand. What do you think?


Thanks for your thoughts! If you have a question, I'll try to answer it.