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.
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!
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.
New in color studies
PlANETARY COLOR WHEEL FUNDRAISER
Support those undergoing recovery from natural disaster! 100% of funds will be donated to the currently-most-urgent situation each week. Please feel free to color yours and share with your friends online so they can join this effort to support communities who need us!
August 2023: Fundraising for Hawaii after fires
Dip a toe into a level 2 or 3 colored pencil course
These courses will continue your journey with great techniques and ideas to inspire!
Imaginary Creatures in Colored Pencil
Learn fun techniques and practice blending in this course with sketches to color in. Cutest little monsters ever!
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!
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!
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 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!
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!