Colored Pencil Jumpstart: Preclass

Welcome to class! I’m so glad you’re here. I worked on this class for so long…let’s get you prepped for the lessons to come with some basic information. Even if you’re an experienced colorist, I hope there’s some interesting information here for you that will make your journey in colored pencil coloring a little easier! Videos are at the top of this page, and text lists with links are below, and you can click on links to get more specific info about that item.

Colored Pencils and Papers

You can take this class with all kinds of colored pencils – but if you’re looking for a recommendation, this course is taught with three artist brands: Prismacolor, Polychromos, and Luminance (in order of least-to-most expensive). Lots of bristols and other papers will work – but I just love Stonehenge. 

NOTE: Purple Onions is not able to sell stamps to the UK due to the new VAT rules that are soo hard to navigate for a tiny company. Students living there can use other stamps in your collection though!

A note about pencil breakage that I forgot to include: Wax based pencils have a softer lead and are slightly (and I mean slightly) more susceptible to breakage when dropped than oil based (ie Polychromos) pencils. However in the years I’ve had Prismacolors, I’ve kept them in the cases shown below, and been careful not to drop them, and have had extremely little breakage. My Polychromos, in the months I’ve had them at the time of this writing (June 2018), they have broken at an increased rate vs my Prismacolor, which could mean they were dropped in shipping? So from my experience, the rumor that Prismacolors being made poorly don’t appear to add up. Wax based pencils, from what I read, can be heated slightly to re-melt the lead; do a Google search to find a site you trust and follow their instructions; I haven’t had to try it.

Other supplies

This video covers other supplies – some of which you may have, some you may be interested in trying out. See the notes in the supply list, too, for info on what’s recommended vs optional. (And of course you can take the class and see the technique before deciding if you need a dedicated fine-mesh tea strainer. LOL)

Pencil storage, making tags for pencil supplies

This video was on YouTube – and has info on pencil cases, and making tags for your cases if you desire. All the supplies are included in the big supply list, as well as downloads.

Hex Chart Info and tips

The three available Hex Charts (available HERE) are NOT required for class. They may certainly help, but you needn’t use them; there are free charts listed in the Downloadable Resources section below.

  • Charts can be printed on whatever paper you can send through your printer. Cardstock is recommended, but even regular printer paper would give you enough of an idea what the colors look like.
  • If your printer ink flakes off – take the printed black and white file to your local copy shop and have them copy it onto your desired cardstock. Throughout class you can do the same with handouts to color.
  • While you’ve got pencils out, color a chart on a variety of colors of paper that you might use. For this class, color swatches on black will be helpful – and you should be able to print on black and see a faint representation of the chart. But you’ll want to have an easier-t0-read copy for reference so you can find the correct numbers and hexagons to color in. FYI you can’t print with white ink. If you want white numbers on the chart, write them by hand or follow the next tip below.
  • Your local copy shop can photocopy the chart onto acetate for you – there’s a special kind, not everything will work. But lay that overtop of your chart that may have covered over the text, and the acetate makes it viewable.
  • If you can make drawing paper go through your printer, you may try it of course – but know that textured paper will cause the ink to flake off in some cases. Photocopying shouldn’t have that issue.
  • For those who also use watercolor and watercolor pencils: There are no printers I know of that use waterproof ink. Therefore hex charts for water-based mediums will not be made. Sorry.

Mounting Unmounted Rubber Stamps

This older video shows how to use unmounted red rubber stamps. Note if you’re an artist and don’t want to get into stamping, you’re most welcome to draw any images you want to try the techniques in class!

Downloadable Resources

Below are the hex charts for each of the 3 pencil sets, available on my blog. along with a few free charts found online. Please feel free to download these for your personal use, but no materials provided to you in this class may be posted as blank PDFs for others to use. (Feel free to link to this class, however, so your friends know how you got to be so smart!) Just please be considerate of my content and the owners of other charts below as well. Thanks!


The supply list below indicates mandatory items, “choose one” items, and optional. Most of the links are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission when you make a purchase, at no cost to you. Read more.

  • Colored Pencils: Choose one brand, or try the class with another you own. RYB are listed in case you wish to try out a brand.
    • If buying just a couple colors to try, get a Red Yellow Blue White
  • Papers: 
    • Neenah or any cardstock that runs through your printer
      • Classic Crest Solar White EHAMZ
      • Classic Crest Desert Storm  EH | AMZ – one will be done on this paper but you can also do the exercise on white.
    • Stonehenge DB | AMZ I HIGHLY recommend trying this paper.
    • Black paper without texture EH
    • Vellum EHAMZ
    • Watercolor (any textured cold press wc paper will be fine)
      • Arches Cold Press EH | DB | AMZ
      • any other brand of cotton watercolor paper is fine, needs to have some texture to it
  • Pencil Storage
  • Other supplies:
    • Kneaded eraser EH | DB | AMZ
    • Stick eraser  DB
    • Pencil Sharpener – recommend both:
      • Electric QuietSharp  DB | AMZ
      • Handheld  EH | DB | AMZ  many other brands work fine
    • Gamsol EH | DB | AMZ  or  other Odorless Mineral Spirits, or Baby Oil  AMZ
    • Solvent jars AMZ
    • Blending Stumps EH | DB | AMZ
    • Luminance blending pencil DB 
    • Stylus like Kemper Stylus Scoring tool • Blick – Amazon and/or bone folder EH | AMZ
    • Brushes
      • #8 round synthetic brush (can be a little smaller or larger, any brandEH | DB | AMZ
      • dusting brush like this one: AMZ or a large, super soft brush
  • Random supplies you likely already own:


Purple Onion Designs put together sets of stamps for you at a discount. (See the recommended/optional lists below to see what they are. No stamps are REQUIRED for this class. You can use other images that you can color in a similar way.

  • Full set of recommended AND optional, $49 (about 30% off) Set does not include both the Garden Bushes and Garden Trees.  You can choose which stamp you prefer by leaving a note in the comments section of the order.  If there is no stamp indicated then she will just send whatever she has more inventory of at the time. (One has 2 trees, one has more.)
  • Recommended 4 stamps $21 (about 25% off)
  • If you already own some of the stamps, just purchase stamps separately. Please don’t email for a discount in that case, it’s a huge thing for Purple Onion to even help out with these bundles of stamps. Thanks for understanding.
  • If you purchased your stamps prior to these getting set up, you’ll be hearing from Purple Onion about what to do next.

Recommended: These 4 stamps are strongly recommended for class; these are unmounted stamps, so either a mounting foam is required (like this one) or use them with a block and Tack’nPeel as shown in this video.  Lessons will use these stamps and are recommended; if cardmakers have something similar that will work, feel free to use other stamps. Artists who don’t wish to stamp can draw their own images to practice the techniques. There are no stamps that are “mandatory” to learn the content in the lessons; they are intended to show techniques that can be used in other artwork.

Optional: These stamps from Purple Onion Designs are optional for class; they are used, but techniques can be practiced with other stamped images or by drawing your own pictures to color in.


Please share your art! You can share homework and ask questions in our Student Facebook Group for all classes here at Art-Classes…please do join in and see the work of fellow students! Each month there’s a giveaway hosted in the group, so don’t miss out on your chance to win.

Linking back to this site or mentioning the class name so others can take the class is appreciated – if you enjoyed it, your friends probably will too!

I'm an artist, papercrafter, instructor, Youtuber - and all around creative geek! I love all the mediums and experimenting with styles. I especially love seeing others take a step on their own creative journey...whether for the first time, or leaping into new territory as a creative veteran!