Colour Pencil Illustrations

Late last year I got very in to colour pencil illustrations again.  Working with pencils, be they colour or graphite, is just so much more comfortable for me than using paints.  Unlike with graphite pencils (Tombows only), I am quite the colour pencil slut and use a range of brands.  In all of the below works I used a combination of Faber-Castell Polychromos, Prismacolor Premier, and Caran D’Ache Luminance pencils.

I really do love the Caran D’Ache Luminance pencils, but at $4.50 a pop I am using them somewhat sparingly.

Anyway enjoy and feel free to ask me any questions!

Colour Pencil illustration of Anok Yai
Model Anok Yai
Colour Pencil illustration of John Legend
Musician John Legend
Colour Pencil illustration of looks from
Looks from “The Iconic” Swim Show 2018
Colour Pencil illustration of Suzie Bubble
Fashion blogger Suzie Bubble

9 thoughts on “Colour Pencil Illustrations

  1. Glad to see this, I have questions

    Q1 – have you seen or do you use a blender pencil at all?

    I’ve seen them in the art shop alongside the coloured pencils and it seems to be a kind of pencil with no colour. I wondered if it picked up the colours you’re blending with and then needed constant sharpening to rub those off.

    Q2 Aside from cost, what do you think is your favourite make of those three and would you make the choice for picking a different make because of aiming for a different texture or other reason?

    Q3 – how can you be so damn good at this? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Questions! 😱
      1. No I didn’t use a blender for any of these. I have in the past but they tend to flatten the surface at make it look a bit dull and smooth. Maybe it’s just because I am a bit heavy handed with them. I prefer a bit of texture, a bit of the grain if the pencil or tooth of the paper to come through. It’s just a personal preference.
      2. This is a hard one. I think Caran de Ache would be my favourite primarily because the colour selections they have for skin tones are sensational and they do them in 10, 50 and 100 percent. I’ve seen a lot of artist bang on about how easy they are to blend and get smooth. Since that’s not really my style I can’t comment. But for getting realistic skin colours in portraits I think they are brilliant.
      3. 🤔🤔🤔

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Alison, great answers, especially number 3 which would be lovely if there was an easy three step plan. I’m following the “try / fail / learn / try / fail / learn”, rinse and repeat method.

        I tried before with one of those paper stumps for blending and it was more a case of “fail / fail / fail / fail” plan. I think I’m also heavy-handed, often disappointed with how little colour seems to be going on the page so do the logical thing of pressing hard. I’ve snapped a cheap pencil before doing this, not just snapped off the lead which is par for the course.

        I seem to have problems with blending in any two colours generally, once there’s a coating of one colour then the other won’t lay on top, even if on a light coating. Doesn’t seem to matter if it’s dark on light or vice-versa. Just had a look at the Caran D’Ache Luminance, looks like it’s a fiver here as well (in £’s)

        It seems I’m definitely in novice territory with the colour pencils, I hadn’t heard of the “percent” rating. I’m going to be heading back to one of your earlier posts shortly with regards to the complementary colour shading for another go at that. Thanks for the tips, look forward to your posts.


      • I’m definitely going to use your ‘how come your so good at it’ response. You’ve nailed it! I don’t think people appreciate or see how much ‘fail’ goes in to being good!

        Some brands of pencil are harder to blend than others. It’s worth trying a few to see what you like. Good luck

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I found out the reason why I’ve been having such difficulty with coloured pencils as mentioned before.

    The pencils I got are watercolour ones, the man in the shop said that they blend really well and that they can also be used with a wet brush. Well, just last week I saw someone say watercolour pencils don’t really blend so I googled around for that and it seems to be the case indeed. So I’m a numpty for listening to the shop selling them but not quite as numpty as I thought at not being able do any layering or blending whatsoever. Phew!! 😶

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well, probably partially me but I was beginning to wonder how I was so crap with the coloured pencils.

        I’ll save up for some prismacolors 😁

        At least what I have are useful for marking up the lines of watercolour paintings as they dissolve away. Different (not better/worse) than erasing pencil lines before painting.

        Liked by 1 person

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