How to Sketch With Colored Pencils

How to Sketch With Colored Pencils

If you’re wondering how to improve your sketching skills with colored pencils, this is the post for you. Below, we’ve outlined the best sketching methods to use to develop your skills when using colored pencils. 

This includes watercolor pencils as well as traditional colored pencils. By the end of this post, you’ll be feeling more confident about improving your colored pencil drawings.

Colored Pencil Sketching Methods


The hatching method involves drawing multiple lines that run in parallel to each other with your colored pencil. The lines are drawn in the same direction and you can draw them as far apart or as close together as you like. 

You should get into the practice of lifting your pencil from the page at the end of each line. You can then reapply the pencil to the page when drawing your next parallel line. 


Cross-hatching involves drawing the in the same way as the parallel lines drawn in the above method. However, you include additional parallel lines being drawn on top and in the opposite direction. This is what creates the cross-hatch effect in colored pencil art. You can add texture to your pencil drawing along with several layers for more detailed information.

Artists use cross-hatching colored pencil techniques when it comes to shading. It can also be fantastic for adding texture to your drawing and painting work. Be sure to use light strokes with your colored sketches.


The stippling method involves drawing small dots on the page. You can draw these dots as far apart or as close together as you like. However, it’s usually best to focus on drawing the dots either apart or close together instead of a mixture.

So, you could start by drawing your dots far apart before drawing them closer together. During the process, take note of how the dots look different and create varying effects based on the distance between them, as well as the sharpness of your pencils. 

Stippling is one of the various techniques that can be used to add unique texture and shades to your artwork.


Scumbling involves drawing circles in a continuous motion across a page. The idea is to draw one circle that leads into another, and so on, without removing your colored pencil from the paper. 

You can experiment with making these circles bigger and smaller to see the different effects it creates. This is another great sketching method that can help you color in areas more uniquely. This method can be great to blend colors to create beautiful drawings.


Drawing strokes in a back-and-forth motion is a great way to practice getting familiar with your colored pencils. 

Begin from one area of the page drawing down the page before drawing back up the same area without removing your pencil from the page. This can also be done from side to side. 

The back-and-forth smooth stroking technique is excellent for filling in areas of your artwork with solid color.

Also read: Best Sketchbooks For Colored Pencils


The more you practice the above sketching methods, the better you’ll get. Practice these methods on scrap paper and inspect your finished drawing to see any areas that need improving.

Beginning artists can start adding interesting textures and add depth to their work. These traditional colored pencil techniques can be used with water-soluble colored pencils, oil-based colored pencils, and regular colored pencils.

To develop your skills further, you could also join a colored pencil society to work with others and gain more valuable insights.

We hope that, after reading through the various sketch methods, you’re feeling more assured about developing your abilities and improving your artwork. 


How should you store colored pencils?

When you purchase colored pencils, you want to ensure that you store them well to ensure that they last for longer. Therefore, it’s recommended to store these art supplies upright – using a glass or a jar would be best. You may also want to sort your pencils into color codes to make them easier to access whilst you’re drawing. 

Can you use colored pencil with a colored pencil painting bible?

Yes, coloured pencils can be used when coloring in and highlighting the bible.

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Written By Adam Rushton

Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.