Elevate Your Artistry: Mastering Colored Pencil Techniques and Comparisons

Coloring with pencils is often perceived as a straightforward process. However, there's a depth to colored pencils that many don't realize. Many techniques can achieve different effects, textures, and vibrancy.

In this blog, we not only explore five crucial techniques that reveal the true potential of colored pencils but also compare them with other art mediums. We will guide you through choosing the perfect colored pencil based on several key factors and share insights on the best brands to consider for your artistic journey.

Exploring Colored Pencil Techniques: Exceeding Simple Coloring

1. Stippling

This technique involves creating numerous small dots with the pencil's tip. Packing these dots close together gives a dense, concentrated effect while spreading them out results in a lighter, airier look.

2. Hatching

Hatching involves drawing several parallel lines close to one another. Adjusting the distance between lines can create various shading effects.

3. Cross-Hatching

An extension of hatching, cross-hatching involves drawing another set of parallel lines over the first, but in the opposite direction, creating a cross-hatch pattern.

4. Back-and-Forth Stroke

This instinctual coloring technique involves moving the pencil tip back and forth across the paper, applying pressure to create vibrant, solid color.

5. Scumbling

For this technique, use a gentle touch to make light circular motions on the paper, filling in the desired space. Angle the pencil so that its side touches the paper for the best results.

pencil drawing art

Colored Pencils: How Do They Compare to Other Drawing Supplies?

watercolor pencils

Watercolor Pencils

Colored Pencils vs. Watercolor Pencils

Watercolor pencils have a similar structure to colored pencils. The key difference is that when water is added to a drawing made with watercolor pencils, it mimics the effect of watercolor paints.
Pastel Pencils

Pastel Pencils

Colored Pencils vs. Pastel Pencils

Pastel pencils share the same structure as colored pencils, but their core is made of pastel material. This softer, blendable material allows for more layering and smudging, similar to a traditional soft pastel painting. However, it's less forgiving and harder to erase than colored pencils.


Colored Pencils vs. Markers

Markers use felt tips and inks to produce consistent, bold, and vibrant markings. They're more permanent and less forgiving than colored pencils, which offer more control over color intensity and allow layering for different effects.


Colored Pencils vs. Crayons

Crayons are a wax-based medium most commonly used amongst younger children experimenting with writing and drawing at early stages. It is an easy medium that allows for a quick transfer of color to paper with minimal effort.

A rich pigment is mixed with wax and molded to create these artistic drawing tools. When drawing or coloring on paper, crayons provide more coverage than colored pencils but less coverage than markers.

Choosing the Best Colored Pencils: Factors to Consider

Vibrancy of Pigments

The intensity of a pencil's color comes from the concentration of its pigments. The higher the concentration, the richer and more intense the color.

For a stunning, saturated color effect, consider the Caran d’Ache Luminance (oil-based) or the Blick Studio Artists’ Colored Pencils (wax-based).


The best colored pencils blend smoothly with other colors, creating a seamless transition between hues. This factor depends on the fluidity of the color application.

For a pencil that blends like a dream, try the Derwent Colored Pencils ColourSoft Pencils (wax-based).


This term refers to a color's resistance to fading when exposed to light over time. Choose pencils with high lightfastness, like the Derwent Lightfast Pencils (oil-based), for artwork that needs to stand the test of time.

Colored Pencils

Picking the Perfect Colored Pencil: A Quick Guide

The right colored pencil depends on your skill level, budget, and the type of work you want to create. Beginners may find student-grade pencils a good starting point, while more experienced artists prefer artist-grade options.

Prismacolor Color Pencils

Source: prismacolor.com


Known for its soft, wax-based leads and excellent color range. Suitable for both beginners and professionals.

Faber-Castell Color Pencil

Source: faber-castell.com


Offers both student-grade and artist-grade colored pencils. They are noted for their durability, excellent color range, and lightfastness.

Derwent Color Pencil

Source: derwentart.com


Provides a variety of colored pencil lines catering to different techniques and styles, including their Artist, Studio, and Coloursoft ranges.

Crayola Colored Pencils

Source: crayola.com


A great choice for beginners, especially children. Affordable, durable, and available in a wide array of colors.

Frequently Asked Questions About Colored Pencils

1. Are colored pencils erasable?

While standard colored pencils are not typically erasable, specialized erasable colored pencils are available. These pencils utilize a unique binder (a type of "glue" for the color) that makes the applied color erasable.

2. Do colored pencils expire?

Colored pencils don't have an expiration date. If properly stored and maintained, they can last for years. The only potential issue is the wooden casing cracking over time, which could cause the colored lead inside to break.

3. How is the quality of colored pencils determined?

The quality of colored pencils is gauged based on the core quality, the lightfastness of the pigments, and the type of wood used for the casing.
Colored Pencil Arts


Colored pencils empower artists of all levels to unleash their creativity and achieve remarkable results.

By mastering techniques like stippling, hatching, cross-hatching, back-and-forth stroke, and scumbling, you can bring your artwork to life with depth, texture, and vibrancy.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist, there's a colored pencil waiting to inspire your imagination and elevate your artistry.

Su - Interwell Founder
Hi, I'm Su, the author of this post. I founded Interwell Stationery and have served over 1000+ clients since 2003. Feel free to contact us for custom stationery supplies, manufacturing support, and the latest trends in the industry.

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