Coloured pencil art basics

Your own coloured pencil art hub - this introduces you to all the basic skills pages on the site. 

Super useful for new coloured pencil artists, there is information here of value to anyone that uses the medium to produce stunning artwork. 

Follow the links under each heading for further information.

Sharpening pencils

Sharp pencils are essential for most coloured pencil art. They ensure a smooth, even coverage of the paper surface without white specks spoiling the finished work. 

We will look at the various ways to achieve a sharp, working point on the pencil. This can be by way of a craft knife with a sharp blade, a small cheap 'block' hand sharpener, or one of a wide variety of desktop sharpeners which may be manual or powered. 

We also look at how they work and why some are better than others at sharpening your pencil. The most expensive are not always the best!

Additional tools you may require

As well as pencil sharpeners we will find other tools useful in producing our coloured pencil art. These may or may not have been designed with artwork in mind. 

Mark making

The strokes you use to apply the coloured pencil to the surface are also important. We will introduce you to a variety of different marks that your sharp coloured pencil point can make. 

Coloured pencil techniques

Ways of treating the paper surface before or after the addition of coloured pencil are covered on this page. These can involve the pencils themselves or a number of other tools, to give the desired effect. 


We will cover five ways of underpainting to create depth in our coloured pencil art and ensure all the white specks of paper are covered without losing the tooth of the paper too soon. Pan Pastels can also be used for underpainting. 

Layering coloured pencils

The technique of layering is vital for coloured pencil art as it allows us to build colours by placing one layer on top of another. It is important to do this in the correct order to get the result we were expecting.  We will cover how to get light tones and whether we need black pencils for really dark darks. 


After layering you may like to smooth out your coloured pencil application by burnishing it. This involves pressure and either a lighter coloured pencil or a special burnishing tool. Which of these are worth investing in and how are they used?

Blending coloured pencil

A vast topic that covers multiple ways to blend your coloured pencils. We cover tools and equipment that can help with this process, in addition to techniques for using the pencils themselves to produce soft transitions from one colour to another. 


Using the tiny point of a pencil is not the easiest or quickest way to produce a smooth background to your coloured pencil art. There are several methods that we can use to do this in a more time efficient way that you may not have thought of before.

Working on black paper

Learn some tips and tricks for using coloured pencil on black paper, and how to get the best coverage so your work pops off the paper. 

You might like these

  • Coloured pencil backgrounds

    coloured pencil backgrounds that add to your artwork. Various methods of creating interesting backgrounds.

  • Photo References

    Using photo references for your art - should you or shouldn't you?

  • Pan pastels

    Pan pastels and their addition to your coloured pencil drawings