Paul Rance Banner

Art & Photography Websites Links

Coloured Pencil Techniques
By Paul Rance


Coloured pencils really come into their own for an artist when used for certain drawing techniques. Graphite pencils and coloured pencils also shouldn't mix. A drawing made with coloured pencils should be a standalone new drawing. When drawing with coloured pencils, the tips should be used and not the side of the pencil, as is the case with some graphite pencil techniques.


Begin shading in your drawing with the lightest colours, and gradually build up your drawing with increasingly darker colours. Achieving variations in the shade of a colour is also possible using the same coloured pencil. To get darker shades of a colour, press down harder on the particular coloured pencil that you are using. It is best to add darker shades in the final stages of your drawing, as the darker the shade the more difficult it will be to erase.

Hatching and Cross-Hatching

Hatching is a technique that involves the use of groups of parallel lines that are placed at different angles on the paper. The groups of lines can be vertical, horizontal, slanted, or a combination of all three. The type of hatching used will be down to individual preference, or be dictated by the object or subject that is being drawn. Cross-hatching is similar to hatching, consisting also of groups of parallel lines, but the lines should cross each other at right angles.


A way of creating a drawing with lots of intricate shading, stippling builds up shading and detail through a series of dots. Achieving different shading will be achieved by varying the size of the dots and even applying different pressure on your pencil. When applying the same colour and size of dots, the pressure on a pencil point will still bring about a variation in shading. Practice drawing the foliage of a tree using just one coloured pencil using the stippling effect.


Similarly to hatching and cross-hatching, feathering involves the use of groups of pencil strokes. In feathering these pencil strokes should be small and curved and they can connect. As the name implies, feathering is a more subtle option than hatching, and the pencil strokes should be applied with a light touch. Overlapping these pencil strokes will help to give greater variation in the shading. Because of this be careful as to how many coloured pencils you do use for the feathering technique.

Copyright © 2019 Paul Rance