How to use Coloured Pencil Part III


Welcome to part III of How to Use Coloured Pencil.  Part I of this on-line class was an introduction to areas that are shadowed.  I demonstrated how you can create shadow areas that add dimension to your image.  Part II was all about different ways to colour backgrounds.  Today we get to the fun part–the colouring.  You will learn how to use Odorless Mineral Spirits (OMS) and how to blend without the use of OMS.

The image I am using today is a sneak peak into the holiday stamps that will soon be released.  I would like to do another post using a more detailed image; so much can be learned by seeing more examples of colouring.


When you start to colour your image, it is best to start with the skin because these areas are very small and you will avoid bleeding of colour from other areas.  When I colour a light skinned image, I colour the entire area with skin tone, and then add pink areas for added dimension.  Typically I add pink to the cheek area, under the sleeve and skirt, and on the hand and calf area on the leg.  Once you have coloured the skin, it is time to blend with OMS.  Dip your tortillion into OMS and blend.


You may be surprised to see that you do not colour in the entire area.  Remember learning about shadowed areas?  I colour in the areas of shadow and blend outwards.  If this is too difficult for you to understand, colour the top areas.


When you blend, do so in a circular motion.  This will avoid seeing uneven areas and will look more natural.


Do not blend the colour right to the end of the area.  Leave the areas at the end free of colour.


This is the colour wheel–my best friend when I colour.  A colour wheel helps to select colours that work best with each other.  The main colour is at the top and shows that yellow, green and blue work well together.  To learn more about the colour wheel, you can read Ehance the Beauty of  Your Card with a Colour Wheel.


In this tutorial you will see me using green as my contrast.  I chose green for two reasons:  1) it is a Christmas colour that goes with red, 2) we see poinsettas with green tips.  With a clean-tipped tortillion, blend the green into the red area.  If you blend a darker colour in the direction of the light colour, you will get bleeding.


In the shadow areas I wanted to achieve a darker colour yet.  I picked a deep cherry red and coloured the area around the body.  With a teeny tiny tortillion, I blended.  Then I went back over the area with a light hand and coloured in the area without blending.


In this close-up, you can see how the inside edges of the poinsetta leaves are very dark red.  Did you notice that the veins of the leaves got darker too?  I took a sharp pencil crayon and drew over the vein lines and blended with OMS.  The leaves underneath are coloured in dark green because no light can shine down underneath.


The shoe tips are coloured red.


Just like the dress, green was used as a contrast.


The hat was coloured in the same manner as the dress and shoes.  Tip:  There is another step that I did here, which unfortunately wasn’t photographed.  I took the green and very lightly coloured over top starting in the middle of the green, right in to the red area.  I stopped colouring about half way into the red.  What a difference it made!  The final look really, really came together.


Next, I wanted to see what colour the presents should be.  With green at the top, the choice is purple, pink or orange.


My final image shows you how the image looks when it is finished.  The contrast colour on the left is yellow, and the contrast colour on the right is green.  Both are colours that were suggested on the colour wheel, as were the colours on the presents.


Colour your image and link me, or e-mail me at  I would love to see your work.

Do you have a favourite?  Can you describe why you like the image that you did.

Links About Colour

Colour wheel images

COLOURlovers blog

ColorSchemer – online color scheme generator

Crayola colour names

Colored Pencil Tutorials

Shading mini tutorial

Prismacolour and H2O by Artfully Ila

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Posted on : Nov 24 2009
Posted under Tutorials |

7 People have left comments on this post

Nov 24, 2009 - 05:11:04
K Hutchinson said:

WOWZERS this is awesome Beth! Now I need to find my color wheel again! YIKES! Your coloring is amazing!

Nov 24, 2009 - 11:11:29
Smita said:

You were so right! I love today’s class… 🙂


Nov 24, 2009 - 11:11:49
beth said:

Beautiful Beth and I love that new image coloring is perfect as always.

Nov 25, 2009 - 12:11:55
Jennifer E. said:

Awesome tutorial Beth! You make following the color wheel look so easy–yet I still have a lot of learning to do. I’d love to find a color wheel like yours!

Nov 25, 2009 - 10:11:41
jeanette said:

You make this all look so easy. I think I’m behind in my homework.


Nov 26, 2009 - 05:11:52
Ila said:

Your colored pencil tutorials are totally Wonderful!!…so in depth and easy to understand. Great tip on coloring the face first…I can’t tell ya how many times I goofed on that when I first started. The little fairy is Super Cute and your coloring is Fantastic!!!…Thanks so much for linking my tutorial…but your’s is truly Amazing!!….Hugs, Ila

Dec 10, 2009 - 02:12:45

Good tutorial.

image coloring

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