Colored Pencil Art

Colored pencil art is rapidly experiencing a whole new level of appreciation in the art world. Let’s take a look at how fresh and innovative colored pencil art can be!

Scroll through some of my colored pencil drawings below to get an idea of the amazing versatility of this fun art medium!

Colored Pencil as Professional Art Medium

Photorealistic drawing I created with colored pencils

Photorealistic drawing I created with colored pencils

While colored pencils were once considered to be primarily for kids, throughout the years they have been steadily gaining respect amongst artists, galleries, and collectors. Artists are exploring the creative potential of this art-making medium, while art collectors and enthusiasts are marveling at their output!

Chances are, you probably used colored pencils when you were a kid, so you already have some degree of familiarity with them. But there is a big difference between artist grade colored pencils and the colored pencils usually used by children. Professional artist-quality colored pencils contain a higher degree of wax and pigment than the colored pencils used by children. These pencils allow for a really rich, deep and luminescent color. Finished drawings can be so smooth and pigmented that they resemble paintings!

It took me about 8 hours to draw this realistic rose colored pencil art. To learn how I created this vibrant artwork, check out my page on Drawing Realism with Colored Pencils, where you can also watch a video of my process!

Colored Pencils for Fine Artists

Artist-quality colored pencils are typically light-resistant or lightfast, to a degree. They're not as lightfast as oil paints, for example, and lightfastness varies by brand. They can also be sharpened to a fine point to allow for exquisite detail. My favorite brand of colored pencils, which I used to create most of the drawings you see on this page, are Prismacolor Colored Pencils (this links to Blick Art Materials, and if you make a purchase I get a small commission that helps support this site).

Prismacolors come in a range of 150 colors... more than enough to draw just about anything! But this is where it gets even better - the colors can be easily blended together in endless combinations to create even more shades, tints and hues. You can basically draw anything with colored pencils that you would be able to depict with paint. Colored pencil art can easily rival paintings in luminosity and depth of color!

To learn more about colored pencils, such as the different types and my favorite brands, check out my Guide to Colored Pencils. I also have a guide to the Best Paper for Colored Pencils.

As you can see from my colored pencil art on this page, colored pencils can be used to create artwork in a variety of styles, such as photorealism, abstraction, whimsical, and composite (combination of styles).

Advantages of Working with Colored Pencils

Colored pencils have many advantages. For one thing, they are extremely lightweight and portable. They don't require any intensive set-up - you can just take them wherever you go, open your sketchbook or drawing pad, et voila! An artmaking session with colored pencils is just as quick and easy to clean up as it is to set up. This makes colored pencils very non-messy compared to other art mediums.

Colored Pencils Lessons and Examples

Frog Colored Pencil Tutorial

Learn how to use colored pencils to color in this whimsical nature scene! This detailed frog colored pencil tutorial shows you step-by-step the colors used to bring this illustration to life.

Bird Drawings

These colored pencil bird drawings depict a variety of birds in colorful scenarios, with the aim to expand our usual view of the creatures we meet in nature.

How to Draw a Marble

Learn how to draw a photorealistic marble using colored pencils in this step-by-step drawing lesson.

How to Sharpen a Colored Pencil

Discover how to sharpen a colored pencil to a nice, fine point! Learn how to prevent your Prismacolor colored pencils from breaking.

5 Colored Pencil Techniques

Need colored pencil instruction? Find out 5 important colored pencil techniques that form the basis for everything you will ever do with colored pencils!               

Realistic Drawings of Karen Hull

Get inspired by the realistic drawings of Karen Hull featuring whimsical animals and stunning people portraits! See a gallery of her work and read an interview with the artist.

Detailed Art of Doreen Cross

Check out the detailed drawings of Doreen Cross, along with an interview and process pics! She works in graphite and colored pencil to create realistic drawings of animals, people and architecture.

Art of Richard Klekociuk

Richard Klekociuk's beautiful colored pencil art depicts stunning Tasmanian landscapes. Come see his colored pencil drawings that often blend realism with Christian symbolism and abstract imagery!

Realism with Colored Pencils

Learn how to draw realism with colored pencils as I show you how I created this rainbow rose colored pencil drawing! Discover my best tips and techniques for creating realistic colored pencil art.

Frequently Asked Questions

Want to learn more about colored pencils? Pick up some handy colored pencil tips and learn some new colored pencil techniques in this handy FAQ about using colored pencils.

Guide to Colored Pencils

To help you understand the differences between the many brands of colored pencils available these days, I created this Guide to Colored Pencils. I cover the different pencil types, the importance of consistency and permanence, and my favorite brands.

Best Paper for Colored Pencils

Finding the right colored pencil paper for your budgetary needs and art style can be a tricky endeavor! In this guide to the Best Paper for Colored Pencils I cover important criteria like quality, texture, and paper weight to help you make an informed purchase.

Free Prismacolor Color Chart

If you have Prismacolor’s big set of 150 colored pencils, then you’ll need to keep them organized! My free blank Prismacolor Color Chart is a great way to keep track of your colors. 😍

Free Blank Prismacolor 150 Colored Pencils Color Chart by Thaneeya McArdle - Download and Print!

Level-up Your Colored Pencil Skills!

Make the most of your new colored pencils with these easy-to-follow video lessons from Skillshare! Get instant access with a 14-day free trial or use our code, ARTISFUN30, to get 30% off annual membership! As a Skillshare affiliate I get a small commission that helps support this site.

Let’s Draw Course

If you’re looking for more comprehensive instruction on how to draw, check out my review of the Let’s Draw Course.

It’s a digital video course that you can access immediately and enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Two experienced instructors take you through the basics of drawing and sketching in a step-by-step manner.