Jun 2, 2012

Working with Prismacolor Pencils

Soooo.... It's been awhile since I have truly used my Prismacolor pencils in a way that does them justice. Sad BUT exciting!!! Being a little rusty, reminded me, through my process, of important tips and tricks that are pretty basic but necessary. I wanted to share these with you!! I'm also dying to show you what brilliant results you can achieve in color and vibrancy with Prismacolors. Without a doubt they have always been my second favorite medium. First being a plain old #2 pencil. Old fashioned I know, but I believe offers a most personal touch and depth to a picture that is only mimicked through a computer program.

Okay, first you will need:
1)  Good quality drawing paper. I purchased Strathmore Drawing Paper, medium surface and acid free. You don't want the paper too thin or slick. You will be heavily blending pencils and want the paper to hold the waxy pencil you are applying. Acid free so your creation doesn't deteriorate over time.BUT, if you are just learning or don't have this type available, it's all good... Use what you've got!!! It'll be fine
2) A #2 pencil, good eraser, and a pencil sharpener.
3) Prismacolor Color Pencils - the more the better!

Optional but helpful:
3) Good lighting
4) Soft flat brush to brush away eraser and pencil remnants. (Way more important than you would think!)

Let's get started!!
I chose this picture through another picture I pinned from Pinterest. I went to the linked page and found this to be so colorful and bold. I loved it for a color pencil drawing.

I then, sketched the photo out. Not using too much pressure to indent the paper. It will potentially show through your coloring with the pencils. Sketch as softly as possible. (You will later erase most of the pencil lines to be very faint anyways). The pencil will show through light colors and likely smear. Careful. This is very important!!

My early sketch 

Next, as I mentioned before, I erased all the dark lines, and as much as the pencil I could so that I could still clearly see the lines I needed to follow.  I was sure to have always have the reference picture easily visible.
Always, always, always begin with the lighter colors FIRST!!! Dark colors nearby will smear into the lighter colors even with the slightest contact. In this case I began with the skin as if it were the background of a landscape. To prepare for the exact color you are looking for, blend on a separate piece of paper as if it were a paint palette. Use VERY soft even strokes, careful not to overlap as much as possible. Try to follow the same direction when possible. You will blend darkest to lightest, ALWAYS. I used 3-4 different skin-tone colors, including white. White being last!

While coloring and drawing, continually wash hands and dust off pencil remnants because they WILL smear across already finished work and cause unsightly spots in you colors!! One little tiny black speck will destroy a smooth porcelain skin finish. Erasers can usually fix this but not always!!

It doesn't look great now, but it is just the background.. Always test colors on a separate piece of paper before using on your drawing. They can be very deceiving. Move on to the next lightest colors in your palette so to finish with the darkest. you can always go back and darken and blend over what you have already done. The miracle of Prismacolors!!!

Once you have blended and solidified the parts of your pictures, u can use firm pressure to darken as if it were paint. It's what you want to finally achieve. Everyone has a different look. I press hard and love the velvety solid saturation of the Prismacolors when blended with complete coverage You will find your own favorite or comfortable way through practice and objective. Dark solid colors cannot be undone so light handed is best for beginners. Erasers can still be effective with light pencil coverage. Sometimes!!

Filling in all of the darkest spaces and darkest detail last...

I really wish my camera was better because this drawing is so much more vibrant and crisp in person! For now these photos will have to do. Like you, possibly, this is just practice for me as well since I am a little rusty. Practice makes perfect!

I hope you enjoy this tutorial in my style of coloring with Prismacolors. They are the very best!! Worth every penny. You can practice and achieve your own sens of technique and effect. No different for anything else really.I was just really excited to share this with you and  a few of the tips I remembered along the way.

P.S. The photo of the pic makes her eyes blue, but they are VERY auqa/green, Note to self- get a decent camera again. Better photos to come!! And SOON!!


  1. Beautiful drawing, I love my prismacolors...have to hide them from the kids(too expensive to share)! You should do a side by side pic of the photo and your drawing....your an amazing artist! :D

    1. THANKS!!! Yeah that's a really good idea!! I'm working with just my phone camera right now. I would somehow have to edit the two pics together. I will do it next time. :))) Love Ya!


tell us how you really feel. . .