Making an Illustration in Colored Pencils

colored pencil art and illustration set up

This post is going to be informal because that’s how I do.

Normally I work with Copic markers (they have SO MANY colors available and are easy to blend, but are pricey like woah).

However, I’ve been itching to do some new illustrations in a technique I haven’t employed for a long while – colored pencils. It’s not that I don’t like colored pencils. It’s just I don’t get to use them everyday because my default when it comes to coloring anything is markers.

So I’m making what I call a “test illustration,” an illustration made just to practice with the tools. Kind of like my Native American woman, my last illustration I made with watercolors.

First thing I did was I drew – and shaded – the whole image with graphite pencils.

Now hear me out because this is important. The reason I do this is to not only draw the figure out, but to lay down my shadows and highlights. That way when I color, I know where they’re supposed to go.

Second thing, I take my white Prismacolor pencil and color over top my pencils.

Why? Well it’ll save my pencil lines (and my shadows and highlights), but it also makes blending the colors easier.

NOTE THIS: I’ve only used these techniques with Prismacolor colored pencils. I have tried this with other brands and it doesn’t work the same. Be warned. Besides, you probably shouldn’t be using those other brands of colored pencils, anyway, because in my experience Prismacolor blends the best and has the widest range of colors for your bucks.

Anyway, I color with the white pencil in sections – please don’t color across lines. It’ll make your lines and image look gross. So do it like this:

colored pencil fantasy illustration in progress

One section at a time, yo.

Do this until you cover all the areas you want to color with colored pencil, like so…

colored pencil fantasy illustration in progress

Then you can color away! Doing this will, as I said before, make blending your colors easier, plus it really makes the colors pop.

I’m still in the midst of coloring this particular illustration, so I’m going to keep working on it until it’s done and ready to share.

That’s all for now. I hope this proved helpful! Or at least inspirational.

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

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