In this article I will use the free coloring page from the the coloring challenge to experiment with some simple shading technique using coloring pencils.
Each month we have a free coloring page to download in our fun coloring challenge, January’s page has a great heart theme and looks perfect for some soft pencil shading. I will also be adding a little detail to some areas of the design using a simple graphite pencil.
Use Spare Paper
When you are coloring with pencil it is always useful to make sure you have a couple of sheets of paper beneath your coloring page. The pressure you use when shading can easily pick up texture from the book or surface you are working on, having a couple of sheets of paper between your page and the work surface helps avoid this.
Sharpen Your Pencils
Needle like points are great for designs that require precision
A good set of coloring pencils will have nice strong leads that allow you to work with a very fine point. The Staedtler pencils I use are great for sharpening to needle like points, this is great for designs that require precision. Always sharpen your coloring pencils before you begin your work (a funky tiger shaped sharpener is optional!). Some tips on sharpening coloring pencils are available here (although I must say my hand-cranked pencil sharpener works very well).
Keep Your Coloring Clean
If, like me, you are starting out with shading then it is useful to work from left to right (or right to left if you are left-handed) when coloring an area of your design. This way your hand does not drag over the area you have just colored, potentially smudging your work.
In this design I am try a simple darker shade on the left hand edge leading to a much lighter shade as I work across the empty space.
I start with even, but firm pressure toward the left hand edge and as I move across the brick relax the pressure on the pencil.
I contrast the yellow bricks with orange, shaded in the same style. I use the mid-point of the brick as my cue to start to relax the pressure to achieve the lifting of the color as I move across the design.
The technical pencil provides a very fine lead that is perfect for adding some subtle texture. Remember the darker the color you choose, the harder it s to see any embellishment, however you can still add the detail to the area of the coloring where you drift to a lighter shade.
Heart and Home
I use the same technique on the mini-heart pattern. I have introduced the blue and turquoise colors, but continued the same style of shading halfway across the heart and then fading the color to the right hand edge.
I use a small repeating circular motion to color each heart. The circular motion can help give a smooth finish to the coloring. If your hand starts to ache, treat it to a break and enjoy a hot cuppa! We have more coloring techniques in this article.
Stick with your colors!
Keeping your colors constant throughout the design can provide a strong finished design
Next I move onto the houses that form the main heart pendant. I stick with the same colors I have chosen in the rest of the design. Keeping your colors constant throughout the design can provide a strong finished design, too many colors on the page can often be distracting. Try not to alternate the colors as you go, two of the same color together in a design like this would really break up the pattern.
Take your time!
Getting a nice smooth shade that is even across the page takes time and practice. I love the soft grain effect that coloring pencils produce and the shading provides added interest to the design. Like anything, if you take a little time and practice you can get some really nice results. I found that on the houses I needed to gently colour each hose a couple of times to get a nice depth of color.
By applying the same shading technique I completed the first half of the design. I really like the finish that the colored pencils can give and with the added texture of the standard pencil you can provide some nice extra detail that would perhaps be lost if I had block colored this using markers.
Over to you!
If you are new to blending and shading with coloring pencils give some of the tips in this article a whirl and let us know how you get on.
Or maybe you have some of your own tips to share?