It’s the color in pencils that bring our rainbows to life.
Are colored pencils and watercolor pencils the same?
Colored pencils contain pigment held together by oil or wax binder, both waterproof; they can be blended dry or by applying various solutions to break down the oil or wax to create blends.
Watercolor pencils are held together by a water-soluble binder that “melts” when water is applied. These pencils have similar properties to their watercolor cousins like transparency, liftability, blooming, etc.
Some techniques for both kinds of pencils are doable, with slightly different results. Some will require adaptations, and some are just not possible. But it’s worth testing to see if a pencil can accomplish a technique seen used with a different kind of pencil.
*Note: Inktense pencils are ink, not watercolor; once dry, they’re mostly permanent.
Got some experience?
Jump in wherever you feel you can handle the content! Tap on the hexagon to find out some general guidelines to decide which of the 5 levels is best for you.
Classes are grouped below by mediums, then themes...first colored pencil, then watercolor pencil. Choose something that inspires you and get started today!
Get started with colored pencils
Brand new? The easiest medium is typically colored pencil – we’ve all used pencils in our lifetimes, pigments don’t move til we actively decide to make them do so, and there’s no water to manage.
Treat yourself to artist-grade pencils like Prismacolor, Polychromos, or Luminance, you won’t be disappointed. They make small sets that are great starters, as well as big sets for the ambitous!
Grab a hex chart for the brand you choose! These come with blank charts to color in yourself as well as a colored one to help you decide which colors to buy. Then use it to find colors near each other to use for easier blending!
Prismacolor Hex Chart
Polychromos Hex Chart
Luminance Hex Chart
Colored Pencil Jumpstart Class
Begin your journey on the right foot with a basic primer in the basics of color theory, layering, blending, shading, creating powdered pigment, and more.
Some lessons are perfect for those using rubberstamps or coloring books – other artists choose to draw images that they love and apply the same pencil techniques too.
Advanced students have found tricks and tips in Jumpstart classes that they hadn’t known before!
Where did the colored pencil go for vacation?… He went to pencil-vania.
Take a next step with colored pencils
Level 2 courses are a natural progression after the Jumpstart course to get you rolling with fun and creative skill-building!
Learn to shade five flowers in detail – in a class that includes the digital images, a $25 value!
Draw some adorable made up monsters and get ideas to create your own, too!
Sunrise Sunset: Epic Skies
Learn to create colorful skies from photographs – and silhouette scenes to finish them off!
Foundations: Eating our veggies – all mediums!
This group of courses are technique-heavy, and can really help with other classes. Any courses in drawing teach the foundations of art that increase and speed up progress in all mediums.
Taught in graphite pencil, this course is a great base to learn about highlights and shadows for any medium.
Drawing Jumpstart 101
Learning the foundations makes a big difference in whatever you create – give it a try and see how much it impacts your art!
30 Days to More Confident sketching
Spend 30 days with fun lessons, building up your confidence to sketch with just a pencil.
Dip a toe into a mini colored pencil course
Mini classes are just that – smaller intermediate courses, five lessons, and inexpensive. Give one a try!
Underwater Scenes in Colored Pencil
Create undersea scenes worthy of all the fish and mermaids and deep sea vehicles you’d ever want to draw!
Storybook Scenes in colored pencil
Drawn in an illustrative, simple style, these scenes are perfect for projects that need a clean, simple look.
Autumn Scenes in colored pencil
Take a stroll through a forest as the leaves are changing and learn to capture that in colored pencil techniques.
Winter Wonderland in Colored Pencil
Snowy scenes are a great way to pass a cold and blustery day – spend time in your studio creating!
Advanced colored pencil classes
Once you’re practiced with your colored pencil techniques, these exciting classe can help you keep growing!
One rose four ways
A single rose is taught in four different mediums – including colored pencil!
Learn techniques to use colored pencil on toned paper to create lovely leaves.
Discover wonderful techniques to create falling rain, dripping rain, bouncing rain and more.
Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.
– Gilbert K. Chesterton
Get started with watercolor pencils
Brand new? For many aspiring artists, watercolor pencils are one way to nudge toward watercolor; the application of color is with a pencil, allowing time to think about what is being created rather than panicking over the initial splash of traditional watercolor flowing onto paper!
Artist-grade brands will be more pigmented (stronger in color) than craft- or student-grade. Note that Inktense, which are listed here, are an ink pencil, so they perform a little differently: when dry they are mostly permanent, so lifting techniques do not work well, however layering is much easier with these.
Hex charts don’t exist for water-based mediums….many many printers don’t use waterproof ink, and it would just cause trouble.
Watercolor Pencil Jumpstart
Start out with a solid foundation in watercolor pencils that will stand the test of time. Creative projects will teach techniques that are fun and perfect for artists just starting out.
Watercolor Pencil courses
After the Jumpstart class, let one of these courses keep you growing with watercolor pencils!
Autumn Scenes in Watercolor Pencil
Find out some great techniques for sketching fall trees that’ll make you want a warm sweater!
Sunrise Sunset: Epic Skies
Learn to create colorful skies from photographs in watercolor pencil – and silhouette scenes to finish them off!
Watercolor Pencil Songbirds
Songbirds are taught in this class – create large drawings or reduce to small ones for cards.
Stay tuned for more pencil courses
Several courses are added in each medium each year – if you have particular suggestions, feel free to email them – and be sure to subscribe to our monthly-ish newsletter so you’re the first to hear when there’s an exciting new course to sign up for!