A well defined, well- presented art not only provides a captivating view for eyes but also provides a feeling of satisfaction and happiness. Different types of arts can be depicted by using a variety of artistic materials and tools. Among different materials used to draw with pencil colors are widely spread and commonly used.

In this post, emphasis will be laid on “How to draw with pencil colors”. Pencil colors provide a simple and approachable means for drawing. So before venturing more into “ how to draw with pencil colors” let’s have a look at the basics of pencil colors.

Basics to draw with pencil colors

Pet Pencil-color Drawing ( Draw with Pencil colors)

Pet Pencil-color Drawing

For getting a clear picture of “ how to draw with pencil colors “, let’s get a basic picture of a pencil color.

What defines a pencil color?

In simple terms, a pencil color is an art medium constructed of a narrow pigmented core and encased in a wooden cylindrical case. The cores of pencil colors are wax or oil-based and contain varying amounts and proportions of pigments and that’s the thing which differentiates it from the other drawing medium

History of Pencil Colors

The history and origin of pencil colors are not very well documented. The very first pencil colors appeared in the 19th century and were used for ‘checking and marking’. Production of colored pencils for art purposes started in the early 20th century. 1st art color pencils were invented and produced in 1924 by Faber Castle and Caran d’Ache.

Types of Pencil Colors

For getting a clear picture of using pencil colors and “how to draw with pencil colors “, we must be aware of the different types of color pencils available in the market.

The colors pencils for drawing are usually of the following types:-

  • Artistic grade:-
  • They contain a higher concentration of high-quality pigments.
  • They come with a lightfastness rating, which means the pigments resistance to UV rays that can cause the fading of pigment.
  • The core is more durable.
  • The consistency of the manufacture of these pencils is higher.
  • Scholastic grade:-
  • They have more binders and less pigment in their core.
  • The lightfastness rating is rarely included.
  • They have a more limited range of colors.
  • Apart from these, there are various variety of color pencils. For example, wax-based oil-based and watercolor pencils.
  • Special characteristics of pencil colors:-
  • Lightfastness (resistance to UV rays in sunlight.)
  • Core durability.
  • Break resistance
  • Water resistance
  • Easier to sharp
  • lightweight
  • Convenient
  • Easily portable

Techniques to draw with pencil colors

Techniques to draw with pencil colors

Techniques to draw with pencil colors

Different techniques are available which provide an easy understanding of “how to draw with pencil colors.”

Various techniques are:-

  • Scumbling- It involves making continuous circular marks on your paper without lifting your pencil. This s a good way to fill in different areas with lots of colors.
  • Layering- it is usually used in the beginning stages of a colored pencil drawing but can also be used for entire pieces. In layering, tones are gradually built up using several layers of primary colors.
  • Burnishing- burnishing is a blending technique in which light-colored pencil is applied firmly to an already layered drawing. This produces a shiny surface of blended colors that gets deep into the grain of the paper. This technique aids a lot in understanding “ How to draw with pencil colors “
  • Roughening-It is a technique that creates a rendering of textured surfaces by placing a rough piece of paper underneath the drawing paper. Next, rub the drawing paper with a very smooth object to lead intentions on the paper. Finally, draw over it using pencil colors and the design will stand out.
  • Hatching- It involves drawing a series of parallel lines. These lines all go in the same direction. The lines can be close together, far apart, or any variation in between.
  • cross-hatching- It involves drawing a series of parallel lines and then drawing another series of parallel lines going in another direction on top of the first set of lines.
  • Back and forth stroke- In this technique, you have to just put a pencil on the paper and draw in a continuous back and forth motion without lifting your pencil off of the paper.
  • Stippling-It involves placing lots of tiny dots on your paper the dots can we close together far apart or anywhere in between.

These techniques ranging from very simple to complex process gives a clear vision of “How to draw with pencil colors “.

After knowing these techniques, the next step comes the implementation of these techniques in drawing. So with these techniques let’s focus on “how to draw with pencil colors “ using the various techniques.

Drawing a portrait with Pencil Colors

Pencil Color Portrait from Photo

Pencil Color Portrait from Photo

Creating realistic human portraits is one of the favorite works of artists.

If our interests lie in “How to draw with pencil colors “, then we must definitely get some knowledge about drawing a portrait.

  1. The steps for creating a portrait with pencil colors are as follows:-
  2. Take a reference photo and draw the sketch
  3. Draw the basic lines with the medium flesh colored pencils.
  4. Drawing with a colored pencil will allow you to blend lines into the rest of the colors.
  5. When the basic outline of the face is drawn, start inking down the first layers of colors and these should be very light and faint.
  6. After the first paint layer of color we have to pile on layers of color to increase the intensity of the colors.
  7. Paint the top and bottom lashes with black and brown shades.
  8. Now paint the skin; slowly start branching out away from the eyes painting the area under the eye and some of the Dark Shadows around the nose.
  9. Stick to the colors used above and start incorporating some red color for the cheek and little cream color for the skin.
  10. Add cream throughout the lightest areas and blend it with the light flash and medium flash colors
  11. Apply some of the sky blues in the areas of light Shadow like under the lower lip and on the right side of the nose.
  12. Now build up the layers in the darkest area and finish off by pressing down harder with some of the lighter flash colors to blend every layer of color
  13. Use a light color yellow pencil for the eyebrow hair and some of the darker hairs and shadows to add depth.
  14. Use a brown color lay down the color brown color in soft strokes and don’t press it with a pencil.
  15. Go over the whole area with the lightest color and blend out all the layers by painting in circular motions and pressing down harder.
  16. Now paint the hairs – for the hair, we start by drawing over the flesh colored outline with the darker color use the same color for the shadows you can mix the colors to paint blonde hair.
  17. Instead of painting in circular motion paint with straight and curved lines following the natural direction of the hairs as it gives realism.
  18. Keep painting the hair and building up color through layers

How to draw eyes with pencil colors 

Couple Pencil Color Portrait from Photo

Couple Pencil Color Portrait from Photo

here is how to draw eyes with pencil colors.

  1. With a help of a reference image, draw the outlines of an eye.
  2. Start by coloring the pupil with a very dark brown and dark blue as these two colors make it look very dark.
  3. avoid using black color as it will make it look unrealistic
  4. Then start coloring the iris – first begin with lighter colors and then come on dark shades.
  5. The colors you use will depend on the type of eye color you want to make it. Shades of orange, blue, green, yellow can be used and for the darker shades, you may use dark brown and dark blue.
  6. The eyeball is never white, so you may use a shade of light grey color
  7. Blend all the colors with a white pencil and then use a pencil eraser to create some depth.
  8. Color the skin tones.
  9. After defining the top eyelashes, add a darker skin tone.
  10. Then go to under eyelashes add some dark blue to darken them.

How to draw lips with pencil colors 

  1. Find a reference photo- it could be of yourself or anyone else and notice everything the lips especially- the shape of the lips.
  2. identify the areas of volume as the lips are of a different shape. Some are fullest in the middle of the top lip.
  3. Next, start with lighter shading and softly color in both the lips. Try to make the pencil lines follow the lines on the reference photos.
  4. Start adding additional colors to the lips, especially to build up darker areas where the lips meet and there is a shadow
  5. Work gently and softly from your lightest colors to the darkest because you can always add more colors; however, it is hard to go lighter.
  6. Finally use the darkest color to provide some stronger contrast between the light and shade areas on the lips.

Some tips for beginners:

Some tips for beginners

Some tips for beginners

As a beginner, young artists often find it difficult to understand the secret behind good artwork…So here are few tips for beginners on “How to draw with pencil colors “


  • Explore different types of pencils colors before using them.
  • Be careful of lead breakage and avoid dropping your colored pencils
  • Select a paper that has a bit of tooth to it to help the pigment grip the surface
  • Keep your colored pencil sharpened.
  • Use handheld sharpness to control the force and speed to minimize the risk of breakage.
  • Work from light to dark hues to avoid the mistake of laying too much color.
  • Outline highlights before coloring to avoid accidentally applying the dark colors to this area.
  • Avoid shading with black and use darker hues of the same color instead.
  • Complete smaller areas instead of the entire piece at once to reduce the risk of smudging
  • Create a color mixing chart if you have limited colors.
  • Blend artwork by burnishing or utilizing a solvent.
  • Erase the pigment by lifting color off of the surface of the paper using tape or an eraser.
  • Some do’s and don’ts for “How to draw with pencil colors “

While using pencil colors, we often tend to make few common mistakes, which make our artwork too messy and unattractive While focusing on “How to draw with pencil colors “, there is a need to know about some do’s and don’ts of drawing with pencil colors.


  • Don’t put too much pressure on the pencil.
  • Don’t ’t do a dark sketch.
  • Don’t shade everywhere
  • Don’t limit your colors.
  • Never shade with black, use brow nor one color darker than your base color.
  • Don’t let the debris of color pencils remain on the paper. Clean them as soon as possible.
  • Do’s::-
  • Preserve the light spots.
  • Avoid dark out lights.
  • Use a softer transition.
  • Us e a grand scheme of colors.
  • Think of the contrast on your transition.
  • Sharp your pencils regularly
  • Use a reference image and compare it to it.
  • Use a blending technique wherever it suits.


Drawing with color pencils results in a very fine and rich piece of artwork. The smoothness of this art material provides a finishing touch to the drawing. The different techniques discussed above can be used to make a perfect piece of drawing. Using the right combination of colors and shades and the correct way of using blending techniques provides an easy way of creating a wonderful art with the use of pencil colors. This post on “ how to draw with color pencils “ has covered the different topics on how to use color pencils for drawing.

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