Tricks and Troubleshooting…

  1. Rubber shelf liners are perfect to lay under your work area.  The rubber like quality will keep your pencils from rolling in the floor and breaking.
  2. When your lead is broken in the shaft.  you can wrap the pencil in a paper towel and microwave for a few seconds at a time.  When your pencil is very warm to the touch, lay the pencil to the side until the wax/oil hardens.  (the broken pieces will melt and harden back in to one piece)
  3. Can’t find that perfect colored paper?  Simply paint your white paper with a watercolor wash for custom colors.  You may need to do a test on scrap to make sure your paper doesn’t buckle.
  4. Always wear a max when working with solvents and in a well ventilated area.  Even if the solvent is odorless the chemicals are still in the air.
  5. Dust off your pencil after every sharpening to avoid smearing the color dust on your work.
  6. Workable fixative will add more tooth to your paper.
  7. Unless the drawing aspect of your painting is off, keep going no matter how bad you think it looks.  The painting will have  ugly stages. It is during the ugly stages when most  gives up. DON’T ! Keep going until you are either satisfied or have no more tooth left to work with.  I have to remind myself of this constantly, with any medium.
  8. If you lose you whites, you can go over that area with a little gouache or a white Stabilo pencil. Be aware!  If you use these methods, your piece becomes a mixed media for contests in most cases.
  9. If your pencil is too short, super glue your pencil stump  to a longer colored pencil of the same color.
  10. I learned this lesson the hard way!  If have to trim a brand new pencil, make sure the color the number and color is on the opposite end of where you are sharpening.


I hope you have enjoyed this little mini series. I certainly enjoyed sharing.   If you want to learn anything that I glazed over, it can be found easily on the internet.    Best of Luck in Colored Pencil endeavors!

Other Lessons:

Color Wheel and Color Theory

Techniques 1

Techniques 2

Mixing Colors

Mapping Color

More on Colored Pencils

Be Well and Happy!

More on Colored Pencils.



Lightfastness is how fast the colors lose their vibrancy and fade due to chemical breakdown in direct sunlight.  Most if not all colored pencil manufacturer’s have some pencils colors that are more robust and handle the sunlight better others.  Some artists will choose pencils that are more lightfast.  All mediums stand the risk of fading as well as anything exposed to UV rays.  My opinion is, anything with any pigment or dyes exposed to the direct sunlight will fade over time, so I don’t concern myself too much.

To aid in preventing your art from fading, Don’t hang your art near windows and doors. OR Make a print of your art and store the original in dark, dry place at room temperature.

Wax Bloom

Wax Bloom is the oxidation of the wax creating a white cast of film over your completed art.  To combat this:  First wipe your art down with a dry soft cloth and spray with a fixative.

Next week will be the last post in this series. Below, you see prompts for you to color map and paint.  It is not necessary to use my prompts.  Walk around your home.  Choose simple items in color and design, paint the items in your purse, tool bag, or junk drawer.  Choose anything, everything.

  1. leaf
  2. light bulb
  3. tree bark
  4. your favorite beverage
  5. all or part of a remote
  6. your front door
  7. a tube of lipstick / chap stick
  8. a tool
  9. a kitchen utensil
  10. a cookie
  11. sunglasses
  12. gloves
  13. jewelry
  14. a child’s toy
  15. a coaster
  16. a candle
  17. purse / wallet
  18. comb
  19. a colored pencil
  20. breakfast food
  21. favorite keepsake
  22. snack
  23. hairbrush
  24. a book
  25. nail file

I can’t stress enough how important it is to be proficient in mapping color.  It may be a pain, but it is so easy and helps you stay quite a few steps ahead of the game.

Other Lessons:

Color Wheel and Color Theory

Techniques 1

Techniques 2

Mixing Colors

Mapping Color


Until Next Week….

Be Well and Happy!

Color Theory and the Color Wheel

DSC_0480Maybe, you should stop right here and make yourself a cup of strong coffee before you read any further.  I want you to stay awake until the end because it is going to be a long and very dry post.

This information may seem a little redundant as most if not all of this information is available inside every (how to) art book published. But here it is anyway:

Color Vocabulary

  1. Primary Colors:  Colors that can not be mixed from any other color.  On the color wheel the colors are Red, Blue, and Yellow.  In the Prismacolor range the colors are as follows:  Process Red, True Blue, and Canary Yellow.
  2. Secondary Colors:  Two primary colors mixed together.  On the color wheel the colors are Orange, Green and Violet.  In the Prismacolor range the colors are as follows: Orange, Grass Green, and Violet.
  3. Tertiary Colors: One primary color and one secondary color mixed together.  These colors are commonly referred to as hues.  On the color wheel the colors are Blue-Green, Yellowed-Green, Yellowed-Orange, Red-Orange, Red-Violet, and Blue-Violet.  In the Prismacolor range the colors are as follows:  Parrot Green, Limepeel, Spanish Orange, Poppy Red, Mulberry, and Violet Blue.
  4. Warm Colors – Are aggressive colors that make object appear to move toward the viewer. The warm colors are Yellows, Reds, and Oranges.  If these colors are used to the maximum, it will inspire the viewer to feel anxious.  Ex: A painting of fire.
  5. Cool Colors –  Are receding colors that make objects move further away from the viewer.  the cool colors are Greens, Blues, and Violets.  If these colors are used to the maximum, it will inspire the viewer to feel calm. Ex: Ocean scene.
  6. Hue –   Another name for color.
  7. Tint –  Color with added white.  There are so many colors available in this medium today.  It is better to simply choose another lighter color than to layer a white over a darker color.  If you aren’t careful, applying this technique will flatten the vibrancy of the color that you are trying to achieve. (Unless you are burnishing)
  8. Shade –  Color with added black. I have the same feeling with this method as I do with Tint.
  9. Neutral Gray-  White and Black mix. It works but it’s a bit boring.  Using the color’s complementary makes the perfect washes for grays, shadows and browns.
  10. Intensity or Chroma – Brightness or dullness of a color.
  11. Value –  The lightness and darkness of a color.

Color Relationships

Colors create mood and different color combinations,  if applied properly,  will make your work convey the message that you want conveyed.  Whether it be calm, soothing, happy, intense, angry, and sad.  Color is that powerful!

  1. Monochromatic – Using any one color as tone, tint and shade.  The only way that I can explain this is that it like a graphite drawing but using one colored pencil.  Most popular colors to use are Sepia, Umbers and Indigo blue.
  2. Analogue – Are colors that lie adjacent to each other.  On the color wheel one combination could be Blue, Blue-Violet, Violet, and Red-Violet.  In the Prismacolor range the colors are as follows: True Blue, Violet Blue, Violet, and Mulberry.
  3. Achromatic – Colorless scheme using Blacks, Whites, and Grays.
  4. Color and Light – Colors used to create a mood.  Intensifying some and receding other colors.  Ex: Painting of a dark street with one lone street light.  Intensifying the colors of the light and dulling out the surrounding street makes the light brighter dulling and receding the surrounding area.
  5. Complementary – Combining a tint or tone of one color and the color opposite of the color wheel.  Choosing a color’s complementary creates  neutral shades, shadows and a mix of beautiful grays and browns. Ex:  Yellow’s complement is Violet. In the Prismacolor range the colors are as follows:  Canary yellow, and Violet.
  6. Split Complement – Choosing a color and using colors on each side. Ex: Violet, Yellowed-Orange, and Yellowed-Green.  In the Prismacolor range the colors are as follows: Violet, Spanish Orange, and Limepeel.
  7. Diad – Using two colors that are two colors apart on the color wheel. Ex: Red and Orange.  In the Prismacolor range the colors are as follows:  Process Red and Orange.
  8. Traid – A color scheme in which three colors are equally spaced from each other on the colored wheel.  Ex: Red, Blue, and Yellow.  In the Prismacolor range the colors are as follows:  Process Red, True Blue, and Canary Yellow.
  9. Tetrad – A contrast of four or more colors on the color wheel. ex: green, violet, red and yellow.  In the Prismacolor range the colors are as follows: Grass Green, Violet, Process Red and Canary yellow.
  10. Double Complementary – Color scheme that is two colors next to each other on the color wheel. Ex: green, yellowed-green, red, and red-violet.  In the Prismacolor range the colors are as follows: Grass Green, Limepeel, Process Red, and Mulberry.

This information barely scratches the surface.  If you are interested in a more in-depth study in color theory there is plenty of information available from the web as well as books dedicated to this subject.  If you draw from imagination you really need a intense working knowledge of color theory.  When drawing fantasy, your art still has to flow and the colors have to visually make sense, even if your skies are green and your trees are blue.

But if you are like me and you draw what you see,  simply separating your colors into their color family and knowing it’s complement will take care of most of the issues an artist would have in choosing suitable colors to make your art flow as it should.

Which leads us to this week’s lesson.

1 – Separate your pencils in to their Color Families. Below is the list of each family and a sample pencil color from each group.

Color                                         Prismacolor Color

Yellows                                       Canary Yellow

Yellowed-Oranges                    Spanish Orange

Oranges                                     Orange

Red-Oranges                            Poppy Red

Reds                                           Process Red

Red-Violets                               Mulberry

Violets                                       Violet

Blue-Violets                             Violet Blue

Blues                                        True Blue

Blue-Greens                           Parrot Green

Greens                                     Grass Green

Yellowed-Greens                    Limepeel


Warm Grays

Cool Grays

French Grays



***If you are having trouble choosing where a color should be classified, scribble your pencil on the edge of white sheet of paper.  You should be able to match it to the appropriate color family from one of the hue samples on the back of the color wheel.

2 – After you finish  grouping your colored pencils, you will need to make a chart.   There are many ways to this:

Chart A book – using card stock

Chip    A color chip using card stock

A Color Wheel Chart (click link)


This is what I find to be the most useful.  This was printed out on printer paper.

Whatever method you use, Be sure to list and include:

~The Brand of pencil

~ Number of pencil

~Color of pencil

~ Make each swatch 3/4 in. square and saturate each  with color (be heavy handed)

~Punch hole center of swatch area (that is lacking in two of the above examples).

This may seem boring, but it will give you a chance to get acquainted with your pencils as well as a working knowledge of how they perform.

Until next week….

Be Well and Happy!

New Series!

I’m starting a new series Monday!

Getting started in Colored Pencil

So, if you would like to follow along you will need:

1.)  Colored pencils –  Most popular -Sanford’s Prismacolor

Or just use what ever you have…. If it’s student grade: The lead is much harder  and the color won’t be as vibrant as Prismacolor,  but all summer I painted in  my Zentangle and card making pencils,  which is a mix of 50 count Crayola, Michael’s Artist Loft, and Joann’s Fabric’s Simply Art.  Just get as many different colors as you can get your hands on!

Don’t think you can’t make beautiful art with student grade supplies…Because you can!

2.)  Kneaded Eraser or Poster Putty

3.)  Color Wheel

4.)  Pen and Pencil

5.)  Click Eraser

6.)  Drawing Paper or Vellum 90 lb. or above

7.)  Sharpener

8.)  Hole Punch

9.) Printer paper

10.) Rubber bands

11.) Scotch Removable Tape

12.) Blending stumps and/or Q-tips


13.) Battery operated eraser – I LOVE LOVE LOVE MINE!  It’s only about $6.00 at Michael’s and with their weekly 40% coupon?  Buy one if you can!

14.) A circular template of some kind.

15.)  Small black card and a small white card with a hole punched in the center

Hope to see you there!

Be Well and Happy!