Practicing Creativity

How to Make Pencil Coloring Easier – the First Two Things to Do

A color chart showing all the Caran D'Ache Luminance 6901 colored pencils, by Paperesse.

If you've been reading Paperesse lately you know I've quit using alcohol markers and have returned to my trusty Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils. I've decided to spread a little colored pencil love and share some of my coloring techniques. If you have a specific colored pencil question you'd like to see answered, let me know in the comments.

Let's start with first things first...let's say you just got yourself a brand new box of pencils and are itching to go (and I really hope you chose good blendable pencils and not hard watercolor ones 'cause those ain't gonna work on a digi). What are the first two things you can do to make your pencil coloring easier? 

#1. Make a color chart of all your pencil colors. 

'But I already have the color chart that came with them!', you say. 

It's not the same, trust me. The manufacturer printed color charts give you an idea of the color, but they do not reflect the true color you will see when using the pencil. You will even probably have to do two charts. Take all your pencils and do a swatch showing more intense color to lighter color – to let you see each color's range. You can see in my chart above (courtesy of MysticSparkleWings at Deviant Art) how I did this. Then, once you have your first chart done, you can see which colors belong together. Write your findings on a separate piece of paper. By doing this you will know which pencils can blend within a color range and have them in close proximity to one another when choosing which colors you want to use. Take your written notes and do another, final, chart showing your colors in this new order. I can tell you right now, my final Luminance color chart is nothing like the company's printed chart. Which brings us to the second most important thing...

#2. Arrange your pencils according to your color chart.

You will save yourself a whole lot of time finding blendable pencils if you have them lined up next to each other as shown on your chart (you can see more about the pencil case I use HERE.)

When I started using my pencils again, I discovered Caran d'Ache had added 24 new pencil colors to the Luminance line (yeah!). I purchased the pencils, did my color charts, and arranged them accordingly in my case.

This is a bit of work, I admit (especially if you have a lot of pencils), but these two important steps will make your coloring so much easier.


  1. Awesome advice, Shani! I always enjoy your informative posts!

  2. Thanks for the tips, Shani. As soon as I can find my table, I will color up and chart. I need all the help I can get!


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