Colored pastel dessin is a versatile tool for artists who want to create rich, luminous depth. Depending on the artist, colored pencils can be used to produce work that ranges from figurative to abstract. For some, using colored pencils is a good way to learn how to draw. Others use them as a way to express a specific style, such as Rhonda Dicksion and Jan Fagan’s illustrative drawings.
One of the benefits of colored pencil is that it can be blended very easily. With a special colorless blender pencil, or Vaseline or baby oil, it’s possible to mix dozens of shades with the simple push of a pencil lead. Some artists like to use tri-tone pencils, which contain three colors mixed into the same pencil lead. These are often cheaper and can offer a greater variety of shades than standard colored pencils.
Soft and Subtle: A Beginner’s Guide to Pastel Drawing Techniques
Another option for artists who want to achieve a soft, painted effect is watercolor pencils. These look and work very similar to regular colored pencils, but they’re water soluble so the pigments can be thinned out with water. They also tend to have less intense colors, and the color can smear more easily than in standard pencils.
Other options for artists who want to lay down a large swatch of color but avoid detail are pastel pencils and woodless colored pencils. The former (like Prismacolor Art Stix or Koh-I-Noor Progresso) resemble crayons and are great for laying down lots of flat color, but they’re also suitable for lines and small details. The latter (like Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils) have the same core as regular pencils but aren’t wood encased, and they’re ideal for drawing with the side of the exposed pencil core.