Sunday, July 30, 2017

Six Tips to Improve Your Colored Pencil Skills -- and a Contest

by Joanna Campbell Slan

Although it seems like a fad, coloring was first prescribed by Carl Jung as part of his therapeutic regime for adults  For years now, therapists have suggested using coloring books as a way for adults to self-sooth. One theory is that the smell of the crayons reminds us of happier times and our childhood.

 It’s also likely that the repetitive motion of our hands as we fill in spaces is soothing. Or maybe it’s simply that creativity is a basic human need.

Whatever. 

Today coloring books for grown-ups are hot, hot, hot. I love to color; I always have loved coloring, even since I was a kid. My preference is using color pencils.


Here are six tips to improve your colored pencil skills.

1.     Choose the right surface. I like glass under my paper. Self-healing craft mats tend to be too lumpy. The smoother the surface, the better your final product.

2.      Buy the best crayons or pencils that you can afford. Cheaper pencils have less pigment, making it harder to “lay down” the colors. 

3.      Use a craft knife or a sharpener and an emery board to sharpen the point of your pencil. Sharpen your pencils as soon as the point goes dull. If you get in this habit, your pencil will always be ready for you and you’ll waste less of the pencil when you sharpen it.

4.      Erase your mistakes with kneaded rubber erasers. Yes, they really are different from ordinary erasers, and worth the price. 

5.      Blending colors is an art. You can blend them by overlapping or changing the strokes, by using a white pencil over your strokes, by using a tortillion (a paper stub) or a blending pencil, and/or by using nail polish remover. To do the latter, dip a cotton swab into the remover and lightly touch it to the pencil marks. The results are amazing!

6.      Take the time to learn a little about colored pencil techniques. A little education will help you get the best final product.

Do you like to color? Which do you prefer: crayons or pencils? Comment and I’ll choose one lucky commenter who’ll win a set of colored pencils.


97 comments:

Ellen said...

I beg to differ, Joanna - I prefer watercolors. I deal in larger areas, and you can get better shading with them. If I tried something intricate, pencils might be more appropriate. For a moderate example of my watercolors, try http://washuu.net/Spark.htm

Joanna Slan said...

Each to her own! Have you tried watercolor pencils?

Monique Broz said...

I love the colored pencils. And I do have a set of watercolor Prismacolor. They are amazing. I'm not an artist but these make me feel like I am. :)

Vicki Highley said...

I have never used pencils. I always used crayons, when I was younger. I haven't tried coloring with pencils, have wanted to but never seem to go and get the pencils. I have download quite a few pages to color and coloring books, just need to remember to buy the pencils.

Lindalee774 said...

I love to Bible journal and these are beautiful pencils.

Darlene said...

I prefer colored pencils over crayons now. Especially with some of the adult coloring pages now they are a sharper point to get into those intricate areas.

Barbara Coe said...

From killer books to killer hobbies and now killer give a ways! Thanks so much for the chance to win. I'm just starting to learn to bible journal and these color pencils would be great to add to my stash.

Fish Mom said...

Love coloring. I have even put my finished work in notebooks to keep. I use colored pencils mostly. It is relaxing to me in our crazy life it helps me relax and have alone time.

Barb Dalton said...

I love to color...some materials I find it harder to get good results. So I try to practice. I look forward to trying your tip of using fingernail polish remover...

Amy Lampert said...

On the adult coloring books I prefer colored pencils because the areas are often very small. In a kid's coloring book, give me Crayola brand crayons. They're the best ones out there.

Asylumgirl said...

I enjoy coloring as well. It's proven to ward away anxiety and generally calm the nerves. Plus, it makes us feel young again, which is always a good thing. ;-)

gena said...

I love prisma colored pencils....they blend and shmear easily, even for a non artist like me. I'm a crocheter and needlework but love coloring to relax������

Jess said...

Love my Prisma colored pencils! I also enjoy watercolor pencils! I have a Alice in Wonderland coloring book that is my absolute favorite to sit down and relax with!

Patricia Ramos said...

Wow! So very pretty, I do enjoy coloring and love pencils best. Thanks for all the great tips, very helpful.

Victoria H said...

I love using colored pencils! They are my favorite, then crayons. :)

Sharon said...

When I color with my grandchildren it's crayons. Love new crayons. However, in adult coloring books, it's colored pencils all the way.

Beth said...

I prefer colored pencils. I use them in my card making because I have more control. These are better than what I have though. They look like beautiful colors and there are so many!!! ☺

Anonymous said...

I was given a book last year but don't have any pencils, so I have not used it. This would be great to win.

Nancy B
nlb1050(at)yahoo(dot)com

cupcake58 said...

I have a couple of books to color in but have only used my kid's old crayons from when they were little. My youngest is 29. I'd love to win some really nice pencils.
Scarletbegonia5858@gmail.com

Joanna Slan said...

Gosh, it looks to me like we should start a coloring club on Pinterest. What do you think?

Jeannie D. said...

I love using colored pencils. I use them with a lot of crafts too, along with my coloring books.

7daysofdoodles said...

Coloring is very relaxing for me. Coloring club....great idea !

cathie veres said...

I had no idea there were so many ways to blend! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I love colored pencils best!
Trisha Hamilton

charlene said...

I love colored pencils

Pamela Hargraves said...

I love colored pencils and the more the better.

Jenni's Whimsies said...

My 16 year old daughter is obsessed with colored pencils. Santa brought her the 150 Prismacolor set last year. I would love to have some pencils of my own to color with. Maybe it would help me relax :) Thanks for the chance.

Laura said...

I like colouring but don't have a preference between media used. Pencils, crayons, markers, it's been all the same to me so far.

Denise Wells said...

Wow, this is great and I would love to win!
Thank you for doing this.
Denise

Robin Clayton said...

I enjoy all the crafts that I read about in your books but coloring is about the only thing that is my speed. I love all your minitatures that you post pics of.

Joanna Slan said...

Robin, thank you!

Joanna Slan said...

Monique, an artist is a person who does art. You are an artist, kiddo.

Joanna Slan said...

Vicki, you are well on your way. I was amazed at all the pages on Google that you can color for free.

Joanna Slan said...

Lindalee, what a lovely way to combine Bible studies and art.

Joanna Slan said...

Darlene, that's why I like an emery board to sharpen the point to a tiny dot.

Joanna Slan said...

Barbara, killer give-aways. Love it!

Joanna Slan said...

Fish Mom, I love that you are saving your work.

Cindy Erle said...

I like colored pencils...thanks for the tips!

Joanna Slan said...

Barb Dalton, let me know what you think about the nail polish remover trick.

Joanna Slan said...

Amy Lampert, you are so right about Crayola. The others are too waxy.

Tracy Barcus said...

Never stopped coloring, so I didn't have to give myself permission to restart, heehee. I like artist pencils best, but I float between those, watercolor pencils, and markers. If I love a page a photo copy it just to keep a hard copy, plus my paper is sometimes better than the book.

Joanna Slan said...

Asylumgirl, if you feel young, you look young, right?

Joanna Slan said...

Gena, I like having a variety of crafts that sooth me.

Joanna Slan said...

Jess, Alice in Wonderful sounds divine.

Joanna Slan said...

Patricia, I hope they work for you.

Joanna Slan said...

Victoria, you've got both faves going.

Joanna Slan said...

Sharon, aren't new crayons the best? Love a new box.

Joanna Slan said...

Beth, I want to try Copic pens when I have the money to spend. They're great on cards.

Joanna Slan said...

Anonymous-Nancy, good luck! I hope you get your pencils.

Joanna Slan said...

Cupcake, good luck to you, too.

Joanna Slan said...

Jeannie D., it's always cool to find new ways to use your stash or tools.

Joanna Slan said...

7daysofDoodles, hmmm. I'm thinking about how this would work. Maybe I would pick a page for us to color and we would all put up our work on a Pinterest board. What do you think?

Liza Willis said...

Colored pencils are my favorite. I also use markers occasionally. My favorite markers are glitter and metallic. I find markers add a little pop to the drawings.

Sherry Priddy said...

Love colored pencils!! My favorite are Kol I noor! They have 3 colors to a pencil and looks amazing!!

Cindy Jones said...

Pencils, markers, crayons and watercolor pencils...I use them all. Coloring is meditative and soothing to me, especially if I do it on my patio in cooler weather.

M L Mayfield said...

Must share all your tips with my 19 yo granddaughter. Coloring is very soothing therapy for her and her work is amazing!

Barbara Tobey said...

Colored pencils can have that wonderful just sharpened aroma, too. Love them!

BJM said...

I prefer pencils to crayons.

Dawn S. said...

I prefer pencils. I find I can colour intricate areas and blend more easily.

Cheryl Corbitt said...

Love my watercolor pencils!! Thank you for the emery board tip for sharpening and for the blending tip using nail polish remover. Who knew?!!

Erin said...

Love all the tips on this site, thanks

Scrappin'Nana said...

I love coloring with pencils~ I have both regular and water color pencils and love them both. I use a paper stump and gamsol with regular pencils. I love the soft colors you get. I also have a new set of metallic colored pencils to color on dark paper. They are neat! My granddaughter and I color together.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy working with pencils. You can control the strokes and depth
of the colors.

Anne

mysandycat@aol.com

Britton said...

I've been an avid colourer since I was 3 or 4. I have coloured pencils, watercolour pencils, crayons, markers... I even have 2 colouring apps for my phone! And I do a colour calendar in my journal, too! Let's hear it for colouring!!

Elizabeth B Jensen said...

I love coloring. It's something we do as a whole family. I'm going to try the glass thing, i always colored on a magazine or phone book pages!

Judy Weaver said...

I do love to color. I do a lot when I'm stamping and making cards. I usually use colored pencils. Every now and then I'll get the chalk out, but pencils are my go to for coloring. I usually have paper under the cardstock piece I'm coloring. Much smoother. jawdance@yahoo.com

Jo Ann Hunter said...

I prefer pencils

Not really said...

This is great! It has been awhile since I did art work. Love working with color pencils. I pretty much limited myself to doing landscapes and old time sailing ships. Schooner. Occasional dogs and horses. Do watercolors and acrylics. I do have some coloring books. Mostly animals. But pretty much prefer doing freehand. Like to use regular crayolas and do 'mosaics'as well. Thanks loads for this post. Until I read this hadn't realized how long it had been. And how I had missed doing regular art work. Thank you for the reminder.
Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

Lillian Crouse said...

My husband would love the color pencil set. But He would have to share. With me.

Dianna Vosburgh said...

I love colored pencils, I have used those and water color pencils. Both are nice but different results. I don't have an expensive set but still have fun. I now have my young granddaughter using pencils. Most times she uses those instead of crayons. I want to get the artist in her started at an early age. I did not start doing anything crafty until I was in my late 30's. Art is such an important part of growing up and when you are at any age really. The picture on face book reminds me of a beautiful garden with the little fairy door. Open the door and wonderpur things can happen. I would love to win.

Pam Calvey said...

I appreciate the tips about sharpening frequently, and that I can use nail polish remover for blending!

Yifat Cestare said...

These would be great fun to use in my co!oring books or when I want to co!lot in my zentangles. They look beautiful.

g woo said...

Color pencils and watercolor pencils!

Beverly Taff said...

I absolute love colored pencils. I could do so many different things with a set like this. Thanks so much for showing this. Beverly Taff.

OmaSam said...

I'm just a beginner - I'll be traveling extensively, and I'll need something to occupy my time ....

Kay Bennett said...

I am a beginner, but have a dear friend that is a pro at coloring. I would love to win so I can learn more and do better with quality pencils

Victoria Bray said...

When I color I really prefer watercolor pencils. I get the vibrancy I desire when I use a blending medium. I don't color as often as I like but I still color.

candace knight said...

I prefer colored pencils. I also color with markers and sometimes gel pens. I never color with crayons.

Diana said...

I love colored pencils best. I'm new at this for adults, but loved it as a child. what is old is new again!

Brenda S. said...

I love using colored pencils!

Kayla Walsh said...

I have always loved colored pencils when I color in my artwork I find them much easier to use. After i took an art class they told me to use the kneaded eraser so I totally agree with what you said.

keli galvin said...

I Love to color but I have some cheap pencils and you can't sharpen them as for the tip just falls right out. I am not sure if I am doing something wrong but would love to win these to see if I correct about better pencils better pictures.
Keli Galvin

Anonymous said...

Enter me please buy they don't make things better. jrs0350 @ yahoo dot com

Susan Faatz said...

I love to color and it depends on what I am coloring what I use. I love colored pencils or gel pens for the adult coloring pages. But if I find a coloring book for kids that I really like I will use crayons

Valerie said...

I absolutely love to color. I always have, even be for it was the "in" thing for adults. I actually don't really like some of the "adult" coloring books because they're TOO intricate. I feel more stressed trying to color in those tiny spaces than I do not coloring at all! I prefer ones that have a little extra detail but not too much. Dover's Creative Heaven are my favorites. I mostly use colored pencils, unless I'm coloring in a "kid's" coloring book, in which case I use crayons.

Robin Coxon said...

I find coloring is relaxing and use colored pencils quite often. I've tried using the watercolor pencils and they are wonderful to give a picture a dreamy effect. This set of pencils is a great giveaway and it would be delightful to claim as my own. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

Dixie Shoemaker said...

When I have a moment I like use an "adult" coloring book, I do love to use colored pencils when designing my quilts. This package looks like it would definitely expand my color options.

Linda Olsen said...

I love to color! Before I found adult coloring books, I used to beg the kids, "Let's color." My biggest problem is the pain in my hands from arthritis. Putting rubbery grips on the pencils. I think I'll try going back to crayons. (Though I recently did but some 'markers' to try. Maybe I won't have to press so hard.)

Linda Olsen said...

I'm llmamom1@gmail.com

Joanna Slan said...

Oh, my golly! I was trying to respond to all of you, but I kept getting booted out by our anti-spam program.

Instead, let me say a couple of things:

1. If your lead is falling out when you sharpen your pencils, the blade in your sharpener is probably dull. Try a new sharpener or a knife and emery board. (Although it could be the quality of the pencils.)

2. I love Linda Olsen's idea about rubbery grips on the pencils. You can also wrap them with masking tape. That helps soften the grip.

3. Valerie is right. Dover has been making marvelous adult coloring books for years. I own many of them. They aren't as intricate as some of what is currently being sold.

4. Elizabeth likes coloring on top of a magazine. That works well. Different surfaces and textures give different results, so try them. For example, a piece of burlap will yield a different look than a piece of glass.

5. Scrappin' Nana, I'd never heard of gamsol. Will have to look that up.

Joanna Slan said...

Here's the deal--you all have ME so excited I can barely sit still. I definitely think we need to start a coloring club!!!!

Let me ponder how to do this...

Joanna Slan said...

Here's a great article about coloring.

http://www.ebay.com/gds/How-to-Color-Like-a-Boss-/10000000205796605/g.html?roken2=ti.pU3RlcGhhbmllIFJvc2U=

Joanna Slan said...

Read about how group boards work here:

https://blog.pinterest.com/en/pin-friends-using-group-boards

Tricia said...

I like color pencils. I sometimes use Tim's Prismacolor set. I also like Stampin' Ups new pencils. Sometimes I use markers. It just depends on my mood!

Debra Fulton said...

I never realized that a better quality pencil made a difference. I've been coloring for a while now but never invested in "good" pencils. Thanks for the tip.
I sometimes like to use both pencil and marker for a little extra pop. Maybe I won't need the marker if I have a better pencil!

Joanna Slan said...

I found a smarter way for us to share. I've started a Coloring Club. Check it out--

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1913215222271455/?source=create_flow

Joanna Slan said...

THE WINNER IS "Diane said..."

So if that's you, please email me at jcslan@joannaslan.com

ALSO I still haven't heard from Colleen F., who won the stuffed polar bear. Colleen, please email me!