Forget death and taxes, there is nothing as certain as finding flowers and leaves when you browse your way through a new coloring book! Flora and fauna are definitely some of the most popular patterns in the world of coloring page design, so in this article we give you some colored pencil techniques for tackling those blossoms and vines! Don’t worry if flowers and leaves aren’t your thing, these coloring pencil techniques can be used to help you give some extra pizzazz to your pencil coloring!
Basic Coloring Pencil Techniques
In this article we will look at some basic coloring pencil techniques. We will show you how these can be used when tackling flowers and leaves, but the skills you use will be part of your coloring arsenal for any type of coloring page!
There are 7 basic colored pencil techniques we will use, knowing how and when to apply these techniques will help you improve your coloring and give you some inspiration for your next coloring page!
Pressure shading is the technique of applying more pressure to get a darker color from your coloring pencil and less pressure to get a lighter shade of the same color. By starting with more pressure and gradually easing off the pressure as you move away from your darker shade you can produce a color gradient.
Pressure shading can be used when coloring leaves to give the effect of shiny foliage like the leaves of a rubber plant or tropical vine.
Pressure shading is shown in the stems of these roses, a darker shade of green gives the impression of shadow and the lighter pressure from the same pencil helps give depth to the stem of the flower.
This may be a new word in your coloring dictionary, but chances are, you are probably using this technique already but didn’t know it’s name. If you like to use your coloring pencils by making small circular movements as you lay down your color then you are scumbling! Applying the pencil with small circular motion provides and even color to the page and shows less white flecks from the page as more of the paper grain gets the color worked into it.
Scumbling is one of those base techniques that can be used to apply the base layer of color and can then be enhanced upon by combining with some of the other techniques we will discuss, such as burnishing and blending.
Hatching is a colored pencil technique that artists use to give shade and texture to their art work. Hatching is simply the application of parallel diagonal lines moving in the same direction. By varying the width between the lines you can create different tones and shades. Tighter lines imply a darker area, whilst more space between the lines is used to indicate lighter shading.
In these leaves I have used some hatching to add some extra texture and interest to my coloring. Remember, whilst most people think of greens when they color leaves, there are plenty of reds, golds, browns and purples you can use to change up a page and still retain a natural look. Of course if you aren’t interested in maintaining realism on your page then there is nothing to stop you trying these techniques with alternative color palettes – reach for the neon!
As the name suggests cross hatching is made by applying two layers of hatching that follow opposite directions to cause a diamond pattern. Like hatching, tone is implied by varying the width of the lines in the cross hatch.
In a coloring page this pattern can be effective for use as a backdrop to your foliage, cross hatching a darker background will give some added interest to your page and imply the darker foliage that lies beyond the centrepiece of your design.
The key to applying effective hatching and cross hatching is to use a sharp pencil and straight, evenly spaced, lines. It takes a bit of practice, patience and time but can be a great little technique to add variety to your coloring pages. You can see in the picture above that I rushed the technique, so some areas are less even than others. More practice for me!
Directional lines are pencil strokes that evoke movement. Directional strokes are particular good for coloring grass or fine foliage like that found in fir trees. For grass, apply the stroke from the root of the grass upwards, this will add the movement to the tip of the blade and decrease the width of the stroke as your line grows – just like grass!
Consider using two shades of a similar color to provide extra depth and movement when using this coloring technique. When you look at your lawn you will see many subtle shades of color, so try and recreate that in your coloring.
I have used a simple directional line combined with a blending pencil in this bright flower. The directional line decreases in width from the centre outwards and gives both the impression of the petal bending and also depth to the middle of the bloom.
Blending is the technique of taking different colored pencil hues and blending them into one another. There are many advanced techniques for applying blending coloring pencils and results can differ based on the technique you apply, the type of pencil you use and of course your skill level.
The technique I apply is to layer down three shades of color using scumbling, darker, lighter tone and lightest. I overlap the three colors a little and then apply a second layer of the same coloring. All the time I am using the pressure shade technique to vary the intensity of each color in order to get a smooth gradient.
Finally I apply a blender pencil over the top of my colors. This pencil is like rough paper worked over your coloring pencil, it massages the colors into one another helping provide a smoother blend. It is recommended to get a good quality paper for your coloring page if you plan you use blending as low quality copier paper can often lift from the page creating a flecked rough surface.
In the picture below you can see burnishing combined with blending technique to give a sunset feel to that cute little flower doodle.
The technique of burnishing with coloring pencils is to apply multiple coats of the pencil wax to produce a glossy sheen to your finished coloring. This can be achieved by layering colored pencil over one another, gently applying more pencil will mean the paper no longer shows through and you will appear to get a gloss to the coloring. There are specific burnisher pencils which are hard, colorless pencils that apply another layer of wax over your coloring.
I used the burnisher pencil on these leaves to give a gloss like finish. Be careful of overworking your paper though as you will find that it can sometimes ripple, as if wet, when too much pressure has been applied.
Don’t forget, flowers and foliage are most eye catching when bright colors are used. Sometimes pencil can be difficult to get those vibrant colors that pen and ink will achieve so easily.
One way to make your colored pencil stand out is to apply a darker background, this gives more contrast between the colors of the flowers and the background making those leaves and petals stand out from the page.
Add little embellishments to your coloring pencil with fineliner to create some extra texture and depth to your coloring.
The simple lines on these roses in this page help lift those flowers from the green pencil foliage.
Take a look at the entries for our regular coloring challenge to gain some inspiration. Back in April we had a free bouquet of flowers coloring page which you can still download. The coloring community really went to town on this page and showed many different examples of fine colored pencil techniques to bring that bouquet of flowers to life!
Why not download the free bouquet of flowers coloring bouquet and try out some of the colored pencil techniques we have discussed in this blog. For coloring beginners try mastering the art of scumbling and pressure shading to get you going. If you are further along on your coloring path get those blending pencils and burnishers out and blow us away with some advanced techniques!
Over to you
Do you have colored pencil techniques to share? Let us know below.