The Art Gear Guide  

The Art Gear Guide is your one stop shop for the most recent, up to date, honest reviews on all your favourite art supply products. 


Getting Started With Colored Pencils

Getting Started With Colored Pencils

Coloured Pencils Getting Started 

So this is the beginning of my new blog, my new blog were I talk about and review primarily coloured pencils but also many other tools and mixed media such as Pastels, Watercolour, the various papers, erasers, sharpeners etc.

I think it is pretty safe to say that, ten years ago or even less, if you were heading to a fine art gallery, you would probably not expect to see an amazing work of art done in coloured pencil. I think for most people when they think of paintings and fine art we think of oil painting and watercolour, at least this is certainly how I viewed art. However, now in 2015, there has been a massive rise in coloured pencil works of art and of course the quality of the materials themselves. So many people, myself included, associated coloured pencils with art classes at primary school, but that perception is changing rapidly. Coloured Pencil artist create some of the most amazing works of art, photorealism, landscape, abstract, etc, you name it and the coloured pencil artist can accomplish it.

Throughout this blog, I want to help new coloured pencil artists with the amazingly wide range of coloured pencils and the equally wide range of quality pencils. As far as the actual art work, I am going to say right of the bat, I am no artist. This is new to me, and so I thought as I learn, you can learn with me and perhaps you can save some money along the way, avoiding pencils that may not be right for you and purchasing exactly what you need for your techniques.

Although I have loved drawing since I was a young kid, I only really became interested in using coloured pencils about six months ago. Before then I mainly drew in graphite or used marker pens, so in this first post I guess the best thing to talk about would be getting started in coloured pencil. However, before I do, I would like to apologise to my friends across the pond for the spelling difference of coloured as opposed to colored.

So you have taken look at the amazing art work belong to coloured pencil artists such as Lisa Clough of Lachri Fine Art, Matt of the Virtual Instructor, Marty of Owings Art and many more amazing coloured pencil artists and decided you want to try the same. How do you get started in terms of purchasing the materials and what you need to look for and consider.

Open Stock Coloured Pencils

One of the first things to think about before purchasing coloured pencils is weather or not the particular set you are going to buy, also is available in open stock. The vast majority of coloured pencil manufactures make sets of 6, 12, 24, 36, 72, 120 and 150, however, if you decide to purchase one of the larger sets and run out of a particular colour more often than certain others, the last thing in the world you are going to want to do, is purchase another set just to get the colour you have run out of, especially if you have purchased one of the more expensive brands. Open stock means that you can purchase your pencils individually, which really is so important when choosing between pencil brands.

Wax, Oil Or Water Soluble

Quite an important choice in deciding coloured pencils, however with this one, you can only make your own individual choice after using either of the three. Wax based pencils are a smooth creamy consistency and although they lay down pigment beautifully, they are not without their problems. Due to the smooth creamy consistency, the core of the pencil is quite soft, which can cause the core to break quite often and prohibits the artist from very detailed work on account of not keeping a sharp point. 

Oil based pencils are much tougher, hold their point very well and although they do lay down coloured very well, some would argue that nowhere near as well as their wax based counterparts. 

Watercolour pencils or water soluble pencils as they are also known are really quite a magical media. Somewhere in-between a wax and oil based pencil, water soluble pencils lay down colour beautifully in their dry format, however, when you add a little bit of water to the pigment with a paint brush, the colour of the paper changes completely. 

As I mentioned, you will have to experience all of these pencils for yourself before deciding which is best suited to you, however, a lot of excellent coloured pencil artist have found a use for all three types in their work. I am sure though, if you happen to ask the artists if they have a favourite, I am sure they would have one. 


Not perhaps as important as the others, but I am sure as you make your way through you coloured pencil experience, you will develop a favourite brand. Once again however, coloured pencil artists may have a preferred brand when it comes to watercolour pencils, and a different brand altogether when it comes to wax or oil based pencils. I will be taking a look at the most popular coloured pencil brands in much more detail through this blog, so keep watching for more information. 

12 Coloured Pencil Techniques By Cindy Wider

12 Coloured Pencil Techniques By Cindy Wider