A Peek into the Process.

A 24 pack of colored pencils can be as daunting as it is exciting. Here is just one approach from beginning to end. You will see you can stop anywhere along the way and have different color styles. Let’s get started.

leaves step1With just one color you can create a lot of form. Think of the brown pencil as a regular no.2 yellow school pencil you are using to shade. This example series is created with the Crayola 24 pack. Step 1 done entirely with the “Brown” color.


Build up form.

Build up form around the veins and leaf edges. Using the small tight circle motions and the pressure of the pencil, smoothing out the brown from the lightest lights to the darkest darks. You can also add more dark at the end of your process.

Leaf3As you go, add more darks to the leaves in the background. The shadowed leaves are very important to give your foreground leaves the pop and push they need. (Please note: the color is still the same brown. There is a slight variance in the photos.)

leaf4“Golden Yellow” is added to the highlight areas. Place the yellow everywhere the light would kiss the leaves or branch.

Now it is coming to life.

Remember to guard your light colored areas. Don’t overwork them or they will get muddy.

leaf5The mid-tone is added with “Orange”. The “Yellow Orange” would work fine too since the next step is red. The orange is placed next to the yellow, using it to blend into the brown.

“Red Orange” is added next to the orange and brown. There is no place now for the red orange to be place by itself. It is simply a tool used to blend and enhance the colors beneath it. Feel free to add a lot more red if you want the leaves to have an overall red look. But still keep some of that yellow shining through for highlights.

leaf6Lastly the cool colors are added for a richness in the depth. You can use them more subtly than I have or even place them on top of some brown. I used “Blue”, it looks like navy in this box and “Green”. The colors don’t get more basic than those in this box. These all come in their 12 pack too. I say shoot the moon and get Crayola’s 64 pack, or any brand that is available.

Additional smoothing of the layers can be done by coloring additional layers overlapping some colors.

leaf7finalAnd there you have it, the final piece. Edges cleaned up where the occasional rush went outside the lines. The lines make it easier, but there is freedom in free draw. Down the road we will try some free draw together. For now have fun exploring different color applications.

Your color skills will grow faster with a more limited box, forcing you to learn the blending and color wheel properties. Oh, that is for another day.

It is a glorious sunny day here in the midwest, a perfect day for coloring.

Pass along the passion,


Disclaimer of Material Connection: As of this post I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Let the Light Shine

This one, is so simple, you probably discovered it already. If not, you are missing out on one of the quickest and easiest ways to add form to an otherwise flat piece of art.

Pro Tip: Use that white of the paper to your every advantage. Here is what I mean.

Let the LIght Shine Art

Let the white “light” come through and have a beautiful day.

Pass along the passion,


Life is like a box of colored pencils.

Anything is possible.

Forrest Gump would say, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get.” Life is also a bit like a box of colored pencils, there is no undo or delete button. You can’t cover it up like with any paint medium. Just like life, coloring takes some planning to get what you want, or you get what you get. The planning process can be as much fun as the coloring.

Start by thinking in layers of colors, testing on a scrap of paper first until you know your colors and brand of pencils well. Brands will very in results. More on that another time.

 Fun Experiment: Pick two colors – any two. Make a swatch with one first, then layer the other color on top. Now do it again in reverse order. Go ahead, give it a try. I’ll wait . . .

What did you get? Two different results, right? Sometimes the difference is subtle and other times it much stronger.

Color Layer ExperimentWhy does it do that? The first color stains the paper. The first has dibs on how it is going to turn out. You will have to pile on a lot of color layers to “undo” that first color, if you can. It is like that life lesson of knowing where you want to end up and working towards that goal each step along the way. It makes the process so much easier and fun than trying to fix the results you don’t want.

Pro Tip: Build color with layers of colors for more depth and richer art. Instead of just grabbing the purple pencil experiment by adding some blues and pinks.

Most of all HAVE FUN.  Your box of colored pencils is calorie free joy.

. . . signing off in search of chocolate.

You have to start somewhere.

in the beggining red pencil

As with many Artists, it started for me as a child, the innate need to create.

Perhaps,  your recent box of new colored pencils and a coloring book was your first step, all nice and sharpened. Their newness was as inviting as a fresh jar of peanut butter.

In this digital age, the touch of paper and feel of a real pencil drawing a textured line across the page has even more thrill. You know it too. Sitting there getting lost in the colors as time passes and stress melts away. Because I have seen the thrill of that creative moment in so many of my students, I wanted to share what they have learned with you.

Here is a quick and easy tip:  When coloring, draw in tight circles for the best, smoothest coverage. More on rich creamy peanut butter-like coverage to come. Let me know how it goes.

Welcome, You Found it!

You found the place to have even more fun coloring. This site is just for you as we grow full of tips and tricks and resource info with a place to connect with fellow colorists. Come along on the journey as we start this adventure of coloring our world with joy. Today is day one of The Coloring Company’s Blog Launch.