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Making Art

Making Art with Colored Pencils

"Colored pencil are transparent by nature, so instead of 'mixing colors' as you would for painting, you layer colors on top of each other to create blends." -from The Art of Colored Pencils

To be honest, colored pencils have always been one of my least favorite art mediums. Hear me out! They seemed so limited to me. I'm a big fan of color mixing, and I assumed colored pencils existed in only one color, with shades only differing depending on pressure applied.

colored pencils

Image via

My mind was happily changed by The Art of Colored Pencil Drawing. Colored pencils are truly versatile. The introduction section explains the various types of strokes—stippling, scumbling, hatching. Color blending is also much easier than I thought possible, and tape or white pencils can remove unwanted colors or marks.

Moreover, I can't believe how realistic colored pencil drawings can look. The colors are so multidimensional. I have such a renewed respect for artists using colored pencils.

Look at this giraffe. It's stunning. The artist's evolution from a simple pencil sketch outline to finished product is truly remarkable. So much of the finished product relies on shading and highlighting, tasks colored pencils apparently do remarkably well.

draw giraffe in colored pencil

Image excerpted from The Art of Colored Pencil Drawing

Here's another one of my favorite examples, the bowl of cherries. The artist used black to create depth and striking shadows, as well as white blending to make the cherries look shiny. I'm so impressed at the ability to accurately convey the textures of bowl and the fruit.

draw cherries in colored pencil

Image excerpted from The Art of Colored Pencil Drawing

Have you ever been surprised by an art technique or medium?

Heather Linder

Heather is a journalist and writer living in Chicago with her composer husband and art-loving puppy, Lancelot. She's on an endless quest for the city's best coffee and is endlessly inspired by Chicago's magnificent skyline. Heather is a bookworm, aspiring chef, and NPR fanatic. She's in the process of teaching her beagle to use a French press and overcoming her fear of DIY.

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Art is not a profession, it is a life journey.

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