Using Colored Art Pencils is a wonderful way to create beautiful artwork.

colored art pencils

It's not hard to see the similarities between drawing with colored art pencils and drawing with graphite pencils.

Here is a partial list as to how they differ:

  • They come in a dizzying array of colors.

  • They are less messy.

  • Colored pencil techniques may require more practice.

  • Colored pencil marks do not erase as easily as graphite marks.

  • Blending the colors requires different skills than blending graphite.

  • Some basic understanding of color theory will be necessary.

Some of the topics that I will discuss here are...

  • types of pencils
  • types of drawing surfaces
  • additional materials you will need

Your First Box of Colored Art Pencils

Look through a few art supply stores and you soon see the massive range of colors that are available to colored pencil artists.

Colored pencil sets can have from 6 to 500 different colors.

additionally, they come in different types...

  • Oil-based- the pigment is held together with oil, these are harder than wax-based pencils

  • Wax-based- the pigment is bound together with wax

  • Watercolor- water-soluble and can be liquefied by using water, creating a kind of water-color effect

  • Erasable- can be "erased"

You can see how a person who is new to colored pencils might be overwhelmed.

Can I recommend a colored pencil?

Not really...

...there are just to many variables to consider.

Some people like the "feel" of an oil-based colored pencil, while others prefer wax-based pencils.

An artist may find that their favorite colored pencil technique is easier to perform with a specific type of pencil.

So to "recommend" a particular type of pencil would be silly...since it's completely a matter of preference.

Being that you may be new to the world of colored pencils, I would suggest that you go on-line and look at as many examples of colored pencil art as you can.

If the artists explain their colored pencil techniques, read how they used their pencils to produce certain effects.

Read some good books on the subject.

Then get one set each of the different types of pencils that you think you'd like to try-out and experiment with them.

Spend a lot of time with them. You will most likely find that you can use more than one type of colored pencil to complete a piece.

Additional Materials

Paper/drawing surface

Needing something to draw on is of course...obvious....,and I'm guessing that paper will be the most popular surface you'll draw on.

You can use any type of paper that you want. You will soon find that you prefer certain types, for certain techniques. Experiment until you find your favorites.

You don't have to limit yourself to just papers. any porous material can be drawn on, including...

  • wood
  • canvas cloth
  • mat-board


If you're new to colored pencils you will have to experiment with different materials to find the ones that you feel comfortable with.

Most of the tools you use for colored pencils are the same ones used for graphite pencils, however, the results are going to be different.

The standard tools are...

  • tortillions
  • stumps
  • artist's chamois
  • erasers
  • pencil sharpener

The tools unique to colored art pencils are...

  • colorless blending pencil- basically a colored pencil without the color. There are several brands that produce different results, you'll need to experiment to find the one you prefer.

  • blending marker- mainly used with art markers, but can be used with wax, and oil-based colored art pencils.

  • Turpenoid- a special turpentine-like solvent used by artists that has less odor.

Home> Drawing Supplies> Drawing Pencils> Colored Art Pencils

Let me know what you think of my site, or send me a question.

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Subscribe to my Newsletter

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.