Techniques of Painting With Colored Pencils

by Nicole Thomas
Colored pencils are a versatile medium to use in addition to watercolor and markers.

Colored pencils are a versatile medium to use in addition to watercolor and markers.

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Painting or coloring with colored pencils relies on an artist's ability to blend colors together through various drawing techniques. The colored pencil as a medium can be used dry on dry paper and then later painted over with water or light watercolor and marker. It's not uncommon for an artist to color with colored pencils first and then use other mediums to blend the colors even further, giving them a smooth, polished look. Some blending techniques you can use when coloring with colored pencils include cross hatching, circular scribbles, heavy application of color and pointillism.

Cross Hatching

Cross hatching is the process of drawing two lines, one horizontal and one vertical that intersect and repeating the process. This technique can not only be used to color in an image and give it a textural look, it can also be used for shading the work once a fair amount of color has been placed on the paper. Cross hatching is one of the more common techniques when it comes to shading with pencil or colored pencil.

Circular Scribbles

If you can remember when you were little and scribbling on paper, this is fairly similar to that. There are two ways you can color with scribbles: drawing large overlapping circles or coloring in a circular motion. On a scrap piece of paper, use two colored pencils and scribble circles over and over again. The longer you scribble, the darker the colors become. For the circular technique, you'll want a new piece of paper. Make sure your pencil has a sharp point and gently color your picture by drawing on the page in a circular motion. These circles or motions should be small and close together.

Heavy Application

The heavy application of color is essentially when you press down on the point of your pencil. One thing to keep in mind is that this will use up your supplies quickly so you might want to avoid using the more expensive pencils such as Prismacolor for this technique. Start with light colors and work your way up to darker ones. When your heavy application of color intersects with another, the two colors will blend together. This blending technique is known as burnishing.


Pointillism is the process of using dots to show color and motion. The closer together the dots, the darker the color will appear. If you use two different colored dots in a single area, they'll blend together when the piece is looked at from farm away. You can show motion with pointillism by drawing directional dots, or dots that have a small tail going in one direction at the end.

About the Author

Nicole Thomas started writing professionally in 2010. She writes for various websites, specializing in topics about marketing, branding and HTML coding. She studied early childhood education at Bucks County Community College.

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