Tips for colouring with pencils
Learn more about:
Interesting Colour Combinations
Monochrome or Brightly Coloured?
What is the best pencil for colouring in?
There are various types of hatching that you can use with coloured pencils. Parallel or cross-hatching: it’s important to use rapid, even strokes for this. It’s also possible to use circular hatching, which is when you fill an area with evenly-drawn curved lines.
With shading you lie the pencil flat on the paper to achieve a very even distribution of colour. You can achieve lovely soft transitions between light and dark areas by varying the pressure you use.
Colour gradients make your artwork more interesting and vibrant. Colours that are adjacent to each other in the rainbow are good to use for gradients. They merge into each other almost automatically – for instance red – orange – yellow or indigo – blue – green.
Of course you can also play with gradients that transition within a single colour, from light to dark. This creates an extra three-dimensional light and shadow effect.
It can be exciting to combine colours from different colour families or that are a long way apart in the spectrum, for instance dark green – pink and orange - brown – green. Grey tends to be used least often in colouring, because it has no pigment and hence doesn’t seem particularly interesting.
But if you combine it with a strong colour such as red, it produces an absolutely beautiful result. You can combine yellow with pretty much every other colour, because it makes them all brighter.
The term “monochrome” comes from the Greek monos = “single” and chroma = “colour”. Monochrome drawings often use lighter and darker shades of a single colour. The extremely bright opposite of this would be a drawing in contrasting complementary colours like red and green or blue and orange, for instance.
When you’re colouring, it’s obviously not quite as much fun only to move between gradations of a single colour. But used selectively as a stylistic technique, smaller monochrome sections can create definition, and really bring the coloured areas of a drawing into their own.
If you do a lot of drawing or colouring you will of course know that not all coloured pencils are the same. The results you get depend on the pencils you choose. With some pencils you get a lush application of colour that lets the colour shine, e.g. the STAEDTLER ergosoft. Others have a more pastel effect, e.g. the STAEDTLER Noris colour.
It’s helpful to study the design closely and think in advance about what look you want to achieve. If you’re using new pencils it can also be useful to experiment with the colours on a separate sheet in order to avoid unwelcome surprises.