Friday, January 13, 2012

tutorial: colored pencil layering

hi all!

so did y'all notice i finally got my blog xmas decor down?  sheesh!!!   so pezza is developing yet another bizarre quirk {psychosis???} she is becoming overly obbssessed with germs and handwashing.  which is going to make me nuts.  luckily she has not reached monk-stage but still.  to top it off i am a firm believer in the HARMFULNESS of all the antibacterial soaps and gels and i don't like them used.  {this article explains my thoughts for those interested}.  the "wash your hands" message is so over-abundant i don't know how i will ever drag her back to reality.  anyway, my child of extremes is at it again and it is causing some issues which result in mommy having a headache :P  anyone else out there with thoughts on this?
we are taking it VERY easy today and are still in jammies.  ok well i am still in my jammies - pezza the wonder tot has a terrible time staying dressed.....i can hear the wind outside so i figured we would be better off in doors and coloring instead!  i store my colored pencils by sets/manufacturer in a plastic drawer bin.  this way i can grab the one i want and take it upstairs with me and color in the sunroom while she plays rather than while she gets into all of my craft stuff.   so while i was sitting there coloring i thought i would take pics along the way and do a little quickie tutorial for you on how I color (there are more ways than one - this is just mine).  i am using the same adorable little lili of the valley stamp {my step mom and i just ordered a bunch more today - cannot WAIT to get them!!!!)  so here are my steps - i used polychromos brand on this one but it is the same no matter what brand you use.  but first a couple things:
  • i DO NOT use Gamsol/OMS - i do not find i like the look nor do i feel i am terribly good at it.
  • colored pencils are MADE for LAYERING - so layer layer layer.
  • in order to be able to layer you MUST color LIGHTLY - don't press down to hard on your initial layers so you can build up your colors.

i start from dark and go to light most of the time {exceptions are hair and skin}.  so here you can see i have taken a dark red color and begun marking in my darkest areas.  i do this gradually - very light at first and layering the darkest darks.  you can see the color in the pic above where it is pointing to layer 1.  i wanted to brighten the color up a bit so i got a brighter red and went over the same areas blending it out a slight bit more - you can see where i began using the second color where indicated above by the arrow.

 here is another look at the difference:

on each side are the 2 colors alone and in the middle is the first color on the top row and then the second color layered on top in the second row - doing this gives you additional depth and realism to your work.

now i have come in with a lighter pink.  again i did the first layer of it very lightly - where the highlight is the lightest there is barely any pink.  then i did a second layer of it to smooth the transition from dark to light.  i could easily leave it at this point as complete.  sometimes i do and sometimes i blend - it kinda depends on my mood.

when i DO blend i use the pencils.  i began blending in the lightest are by going over it with medium pressure using my white pencil.  then i blended further in to the dark with a derwent blending pencil.  in the pic above the shirt is blended but the skirt still is not.

after blending i add more of the dark color in the dark area to deepen it back up.

this is her all colored up - one thing i don't like about blending this way is that the black lines are dulled.

you can't tell the difference too much onscreen but the last step is to spray your piece with workable fixative - it takes some of the dulling wax buildup away.  i also added stickles to her :)

so what do y'all think?  was this helpful at all?  i sure hope so!  now back to my leisurely day of coloring!


  1. Thank you, I have signed up for your class colored pencil one just have not got very far with the hoildays. Love the extra with this tuturial.

  2. How darling, Marti, what a great job on both the tutorial and coloring!!! She's just adorable......

  3. awesome- i do use oms and this looks better. Thanks!

  4. I like the detail you go into-Thanks!

  5. Great detail! Love your tips. Question- Do you use sharp pencils?

  6. I love these tips! I have a question-what kind of marker/pen/pencil, etc. can i use on the black lines that get dulled? I am going to try your techniques, but, like you, I also hate how colored pencils make the black lines grey and dull.

  7. Just give the kiddo regular soap. Frequent handwashing is a GOOD thing - just not with antibacterial soaps. :) (We just use castille bar soap at my house.)

    Thank you for showing your coloring technique in such detail! It's helpful to SEE the differences.

  8. Thank you so much for this. It is just what I've been looking for since starting to colour in about a month ago.

  9. Could you tell me what gamsol/oms is/are please?

  10. Thank you sooo much for this tutorial! I've just stumbled on it through Pinterest and glad it was posted there. I've no experience with coloring classes, so when I find these things, I go over them, practice them, and keep practicing. Thanks for posting this!
    Joy M.