The Colored Pencil Course: Colored Pencil Basics

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This course features:
5 Hours of Instruction
22 Videos
21 eBooks
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Lesson Description

The basics of colored pencil drawing including the compositional make up of a colored pencil, the importance of pencil pressure, application techniques and mark-making, how surface texture affects the mark, mixing blacks, and the "5" do's for better hues. We use what we learn to create a simple drawing of a cube.

Lesson Materials

Colored Pencils (Prismacolor Premier pencils are used but any brand is fine), Bristol paper, Mi-Teintes Paper.

Lesson Resources

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Lesson Discussion

  1. I have a 72 set of Prismacolor pencils and recently had a chance to get a set of 76 Caran D’Arche Luminance at a really good price. I had seen where a gal who does portraits uses these pencils… upon checking after purchase, they also make others without the “luminance” designation. These say they have won awards for the highest lightfastness – 80%. What do you think of this brand of colored pencils and what significance – if any – does lightfastness have to do with performance? Thank You.

  2. I am a painter . Watching the technical work of placing all those layers on top of each other looks tedious on one hand but really fun and absorbing on the other. I just bought some Derwent intense pencils. Watching this video got me pretty excited to use them. I will use arches 140 lb hot press paper and I might add ink or water colours to intensify the process. I wonder if the pencils will give me a bit more control… Do you have a video on overcoming fear of ….diving in? wasting materials ? Or time? Arg the artist in me lol

      • Thanks Matt
        Matt I did a painting of mountains and trees and a shore line. I used gouache , white liquid golden acrylics, and Derwent inktense pencils and water . I have a rainstorm coming in with spots of light breaking through the clouds onto the water. Not just sparkles but areas . I want to show the light shaft coming down from above where there is a break in the clouds . Do you have any suggestions or demos on how to achieve this atmospheric effect? It’s kind of a complicated process.
        I look forwards to reading your comments on perfectionism . You seem to have a grasp of everything many artists need to tackle. Thanks 🙂

  3. I loved your article connected to the above link you sent me! . I teach art classes ( not as well as you do!) and I am going to read this article to my students if that’s okay with you.
    Also in pertaining to my own art . Its interesting to watch your clear concise instructions . It helps me when I am making a mess or have made a mess to step back and look at what I have done wrong. Then commit myself to correcting it instead of like you mentioned restarting it or putting it on a shelf.
    I don’t usually restart something but I do set things aside … For like a year! Haha
    Thanks Matt

  4. hi matt,
    1.may i use the “side “of the colored pencil when shading? (it seems to be smoother & i get an even transition) you ever use watercolor paper with your colored pencils? (i know it has a rougher surface)
    3.have you had experience with strathmore pastel-textured finish/80 lb.(400 series)? i began a drawing with it and not
    sure if i should finish it cause it is too grainy and may not be worth all the hard work/time it is taking….
    please advise…

  5. I’m a newcomer to drawing with colored pencil, having just completed the first two modules of the CP course using Prismacolor Premier pencils and Strathmore Bristol (“vellum” surface 100lb) paper. My current problem is that when I put down more than one layer of color, the result is hundreds of unfilled crevices. The first layer isn’t too bad in that respect, but subsequent layers look rougher than the first one, while the opposite should be true (that is, I think second, third, and later layers should produce a smoother look).

    I do know how to put down light, medium, and heavy layers of color. But even after multiple layers with the final layer being a heavy one, the valleys and crevices are still very obvious. The result still looks quite rough, and the color values aren’t exactly the same as the ones you’re getting using the same brand of pencils. Your own results without burnishing are much softer and more pleasing than I can accomplish. Yes – I know I can’t expect to duplicate the results you get, but my own results look so “rough” that I must be doing something incorrectly.

  6. Hi, This is the first lesson I have taken with The Virtual Instructor, and I am enjoying it because I appreciate the detail. I do have one comment, and that is that it would be helpful to show the reference photo or object somewhere on the page so we can see what you are doing and compare it to the reference. Thank you!

    • Hi Caryl, If a photo reference is used in the modules of this course, links are provided in the info box under the video. A photo reference was not used in this module. I hope this helps.

    • Hi Patty,

      The videos are playing normally. There could be a number of technical issues that you may be experiencing on your end. Check your internet connection and make sure that you have a stable and fast connection. Be sure that you are on a private network – not a public one that may have blocked streaming video. Make sure that your web browser is updated.

  7. On the 5 Do’s for Better Hues, it was very helpful to hear which colors were being set down first and then which were layered over. It would have been nice to have those color details in the ebook page that covers this section. The text only repeats the general overview of each of the five tips. Thank you.

  8. Can you tell me anything about Fantasia colored pencils? Quality . Are they suitable for mixing and blending with prismacolor pencils?

  9. okay, I give up. I cannot get the video to play back; I thought it was working but it’s messing up badly on module 2. Please refund

  10. Hi Matt,

    I’ve got some coloured pencils called Milan. They have names for different shades but the names aren’t called like yours. I’m worried as not quite sure if the colours are right for blending. I Can’t find prismacolour pencils where I live.

  11. I do not understand why from videos 1 and 2 jump for beginners jumps to avance intermedia this is very confusing for beginners this is my recommendation please group the videos for beginners only, try to make the papers in video 3 ,and I was frustrated because I am not intermedia yet , so I understood that and everything make senesce now .

  12. I am not sure what the student should be during the video, should we be watching or trying to duplicate what is being done in the video. Also are there any assignments that the students could do to reinforce the lesson? What are we supposed to be submitting for critique?

  13. hi! great video!! i was working on my high school portfolio for an art high school and needed some tips on how i can do a colored pencil drawing in it.

  14. I just started your CP course. Loved your YouTube videos.
    Question – can you use both wax based and oil based CP together or is it better to keep them separate?
    I’m so looking forward to these classes and the drawing classes.

  15. Regarding lesson 2, I am very much a beginner, but I could see that the shadow you created of the cube was the wrong shape and made as much sense as a flower shape would have. Sorry, but this really bugged me because light source and shadow is a real struggle for me and seeing a house-shaped shadow for a cube was confusing.

  16. I have a Prismacolor premier set of 36. I see you use these. So, I hope they work. I don’t have the correct paper. So I will have to get some Bristol 170/m2. I know where I can get some. I m logging out for awhile.

  17. I signed up, paid for course on June 14, 2022, but can not gain access to course as I am instructed to pay for course. Receipt number 2625-0157. I would really like to join the members program.

    • Hi Pearl,

      You created two accounts. The account that you’re commenting here with is inactive. Your active account is under a different email address and a different username. You’ll need to log in with your active account to access the program. If you need help logging in to your active account, please use our contact form to receive help. This section is for asking questions and commenting on the video for the module.

  18. I am new to colored pencil drawing and I’m always struggling to choose when enough base layers (light pressure) are put down and then do the next step to go on. Even when I want to draw simple objects like an apple, pear I am very unsure at which point I can go on with layers in medium pressure and finally heavy pressure. My drawings looks very childish and odd and I get stuck since it ends always the same odd way. Sad.

  19. Hi Matt, I’ve finally started this course I’ve really wanted to do.
    Some more health problems for me, I’m under tests at the moment.
    So now I start !!
    Also I’ve done some commissions thank you to my friends and I’ve now been asked to draw 2 commissions, my 1st paid one too, only I’m only putting down materials because I don’t feel better enough to charge and she is a friend, a new friend and she is lovely..
    One is Her cat beautiful cat and one is an Elvis portrait, she loved the one I did for our Elvis group, I donated it for a prize as in his stream every Sunday he does an Elvis quiz and it went to a lovely lady in the US !! She was very happy and I’m always so glad about that.
    Matt I wouldn’t be improving if it wasn’t for you and your courses and live streams, man all my love and gratitude x
    I hope you and your lovely family are well ❤️‍🩹.

    Also have you tried any of the Castle coloured pencils ? They do a sort touch which are lovely just glide along the page.
    But also I got the 120 set of their new Gold ones, which are oil based like Castell ones are, I’m doing tour tiger eyes but 1st I’m doing a tigers eye singular and leopard eye singular from an amazing wildlife artist and the colours that are used I don’t have them all in my sets so for Castell ones I’ll use theirs but also these gold ones together as I only have a Castell 24 set
    All the best Christine xx

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