Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Here are a few tips and tricks about colored pencils that I picked up from here and there from various artists as well as some of my own and it totally made my life a lot easier. Thought I put them all together, but I'll be adding more as I come across new things. Hope it helps you as well.

* If you trying to sharpen a colored pencil (assuming you're using an electric sharpener, since the handheld ones are garbage and they'll break the points no matter what) and the point keeps breaking over and over again, most likely the pencil fell down (hard) and it's broken inside. Nuke it in the microwave for 10 seconds, wait a few minutes for the pencil to cool down completely, then try sharpening it again. The heat should soften the wax inside and fuse it back together thus stopping the breakage.

*Know how hard it is to get white cp to cover well over dark colors???? It's almost impossible. However, there's a specific brand of cps that makes the most opaque white of all, and it's totally possible to go over dark colors and still see it pure white. It's called Stabilo Aquarellable All 8052 - White - For paper, glass, plastic and metal. It's varnished white with a green stripe near the unsharpened end. Don't mistake it for Stabilo Pastel or Charcoal Pencil, these don't work. Blick sells it for $1.29 and it's worth every penny but also hard to find so if you do, grab a bunch! Oddly enough, you can only find it at the physical Blick store, they don't carry it online, go figure!

*Do you like Suede Mat Board or Velour Paper to use with your colored pencils? Then you know how hard it is to erase things on these surfaces without destroying the knapp. What does the trick beautifully is to dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover and gently scrub the offending area away. But get the original type, not the specialty ones.

*If you use OMS to blend you colors, you know there are many ways to apply it, such as cotton-swabs, brushes, tortillions, etc. But did you know that there is an easy, more controllable way to do it? Use a Yasutomo Niji Watercolor Brush filled with Gamsol instead of water. Works bee-you-tee-fully. Way better than the other methods. Here is where to buy it:

*Want to save a very small or thin line area of pure white of the paper and find it hard to. Use a crochet hook to draw a thin line with masking fluid or deposit a very small amount in a highlight area for example. Get a crochet needle with a small hook though, preferably the plain metal ones as opposed to the colored ones.

*Do you know the small make-up natural sea sponges you find in the cosmetics aisle (and alongside watercolor supplies in art stores)? They are perfect for blending large areas of colored pencil, like the background for example. They are also great to create smooth and seamless value transitions.

*To cover large areas fast and easy, dip the tip of the pencil in turps or OMS and lay down the color. It'll go smooth and cover the valleys of the paper a lot faster than a dry pencil. If you have Prismacolor Art Stix use the same technique and it's even better and faster. Apply light pressure if you planning on laying down many layers.

If you haven't seen my tutorials on how to blend cps with an embossing heat tool and solvent, take a look here:

Blending cps with a heat tool - Part one

Blending cps with a heat tool and solvent - Part two

I'm currently working on a tutorial on colored pencils over suede mat board and velour paper. As soon as it's done, I'll post. It's going to be a double whammy, written and video.

Well, can't think of anything else right now, but I'll keep posting as I keep experimenting with all things colored pencil. Don't you just love cps????? I do....

Have a colorful and creative Wednesday.



Holly Durr said...

the reason the handheld breaks the lead is because the blades get dull. I buy a pack of 20 sharpeners for a dollar from the dollar tree. I used to use electric, but after awhile I had the same problem. So for me disposable sharpeners is the way to go.

Rose said...

Jade, great tips! Love your website too... so colorful and makes me feel like Easter is today! I do love CP's, you make them even more fun! Have a blessed day! xoxox Rose


Hi Rose, I know what you mean, if feels so Eastery, just wanna have me some peeps... Have a blessed day as well, my sweet sister.

Holly, even though I could buy either disposable or expensive handheld sharpener with replaceable blades, I still don't like them. First of all, because of the twisting motion, it hurts my wrists after awhile and second, the process of hand sharpening the pencils kinda get me out of my zone and I hate that. With the electric, I just mindlessly insert them, get them out and carry on drawing. Hope that at least the other tips were helpful to you.


Holly Durr said...

yes the other tips helps, I ordered some of those Stabilo Aquarellable all pencils on ebay today, thanks for the tips. hugs, holly


Good for you, Holly!

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Dors said...

Thank you Jade for sharing your tips and ideas. I love what you do and your web is awesome.


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