Tips to improve your coloured pencil art

If you are looking for ways to improve your coloured pencil art, then the following tips will help you achieve this.

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TIP 1/ Good quality pencils

I have used so many different types of coloured pencils over the years and I really do believe that if you want to get professional results then the professional quality pencils are a must. They may be a lot dearer but that is the price we have to pay for the results we want to achieve.

my top 3 pencil brands are:







TIP 2/ Patience

Using coloured pencils is time consuming. You have to work in light layers, building up colour until there is no paper tooth showing through those colours. Depending on the paper you are using, you can be adding many many layers. Don’t rush the layering process or blend too soon as this will determine how the end result will look.

TIP 3/ layering

As I said in tip 2, layering takes time and patience. When layering in the early stages, hold your pencil sideways when shading and use small circular motions. Hold the pencil further up the barrel to ensure lighter pressure. Don’t rush this process.

TIP 4/ Practise

Practise drawing different pencil strokes on scraps of your good quality paper. Doing this will give you an idea of what the strokes will look like and also help you to master the strokes.

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TIP 5 / Pressure

Vary the amount of pressure on the pencil. In the early stages you don’t need that much pressure at all. But as you progress through your layering and their is not much paper showing through the colours, then you can add more pressure.

TIP 6/ Sharpener

Always keep your pencils super sharp. Some sharpeners may break the lead in your coloured pencil and it has happened to me on many occasion. However, after many tests and ups and downs, I have finally found the pencil sharpeners that work the best.

1/ Derwent Superpoint


2/ Derwent Pastel


Grab your free downloadable resource here: coloured pencil artists kit

TIP 7/ Colour swatch

When I buy a new set of colours and before I use them, I always swatch them out on my good quality paper (the paper I normally use when creating a coloured pencil art project). By doing this, I know what the colour looks like on the paper, making it easier to choose the right colours for my art.

TIP 8/ Paper

Use the right paper at all times. Preferable you want a paper with a bit of tooth. One that has texture to it so that the pigment from your coloured pencils can grab onto. Practise on samples or single sheets before committing to a full pad as they can get expensive. You will find the right paper for you eventually. Remember though. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa. Keep that in mind when watching reviews or reading recommendations like this one.

What works for me are:

1/ Strathmore coloured pencil paper


2/ Canson heavyweight paper


3/ Bockingford watercolour paper cold pressed


TIP 9/ Blending fluid

Practise blending your colours on good quality scrap paper. Using a solution can help with wrist ache when using extra pressure to blend colours out. It can also reduce graininess and give your art a painterly effect. The solution I use is Zest It Blending Solution as seen below.


I hope you found my tips useful and I hope you are now able to use them to improve your art work. For more tips come and join us in my free Facebook group:

Coloured pencil help and community

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