Using Colored Pencils

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 11866

There is a new fad floating around: coloring books for adults, with pencils included. That's not so new; great artists have used colored pencils for decades and now you can, too! Learn the techniques!


Visual Arts

Fine Arts
learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Colored pencils are not just kid's play! Artists use them to make serious art. Make a simple sketch and color it with your set of colored pencils. Then reflect: What techniques did you use to add color to the drawing? How did you hold the pencil in your hand? What kinds of movements did you make with the pencil? Did you think it was this involved?

Drawing lines and shapes is fun and rewarding, especially when your creations really start to look like something recognizable!

Drawing isn't just lines and shapes, though; a whole world of color awaits you. Using colored pencils seems like a no-brainer: just apply pencil to paper and you have color! Learning and practicing a few simple techniques can super-charge your art.

Before applying your coloring skills, review several techniques for shading that apply to coloring as well.

You will watch a video about different techniques you can use to color and shade with colored pencils. As you watch, write down information to answer the following questions:

  • What are the 12 techniques?
  • In what situations might you use some of those techniques?

Now, watch the video, 12 Simple Colored Pencil Techniques from Mr. Otter Studio, and answer the questions above.

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Now, draw twelve boxes like in the instructional video, and practice the same techniques. You can re-watch the video and pause it as needed. Share your results with your parent or teacher. Reflect on the following questions and discuss:

  • Which techniques were easiest?
  • Which were more challenging?
  • How do these techniques relate to the shading techniques you examined previously?

When creating black-and-white sketches with pencil or charcoal, you of course have to use black and grey tones for shading. When you create art with color, though, you can very often create more convincing shading using different grades of the same color, as you saw in the video, or different hues of the same color.

In the Got It? section, take a look at some examples to see how seasoned artists use colored pencils.

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