Blending with Colored Pencils: Tips and Techniques to Create Stunning Artwork

Learn the art of blending with colored pencils! Our article provides tips, techniques, and FAQ to help you create stunning artwork. Perfect for beginners and professionals alike.

Are you a fan of colored pencils? If yes, then you already know how versatile and easy-to-use they are. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, colored pencils can bring your imagination to life with their vibrant hues and excellent blending capabilities. However, blending colored pencils is an art that requires practice and patience. In this article, we will guide you through the basics of blending with colored pencils, provide tips and techniques, and answer some frequently asked questions.

Colored pencils are a popular art medium due to their portability, affordability, and range of colors. They are made of wax or oil-based cores that can be blended on paper to create smooth transitions between colors. Blending colored pencils is essential for creating realistic effects, such as shading, highlighting, and depth. It is also a great way to add depth and dimension to your artwork.

Blending colored pencils may seem daunting, but it is an easy technique that can be mastered with practice. In the next sections, we will discuss the basics of blending with colored pencils, tips and techniques, and advanced methods to take your artwork to the next level. Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional artist, the techniques we will discuss will help you create stunning blended artwork. So, let’s get started!

Basics of Blending with Colored Pencils

Understanding the Types of Colored Pencils and their Properties

Before we dive into blending techniques, it’s essential to understand the types of colored pencils and their properties. Colored pencils come in different types, such as wax-based, oil-based, and watercolor pencils. Wax-based pencils are the most popular and widely used, while oil-based pencils have a smoother texture and can be blended more easily. Watercolor pencils are water-soluble and can be blended with water to create a watercolor effect.

Each type of colored pencil has its unique properties that affect the blending process. Wax-based pencils are more resistant to blending and require more layers to achieve a smooth effect. Oil-based pencils, on the other hand, can be blended more easily due to their smooth texture. Watercolor pencils can be blended with water to create a watercolor effect, but it can be challenging to control the amount of water and the resulting effect.

Choosing the Right Paper for Blending

Choosing the right paper is also crucial for blending with colored pencils. The paper’s texture can affect the blending process, and different papers have different properties. For example, papers with a rough texture can hold more pigment and create a textured effect, while papers with a smooth texture can create a smoother effect.

When choosing paper, it’s essential to consider its weight and thickness. Heavier papers can hold more layers of pigment, while thinner papers may not be able to handle the pressure required for blending. It’s also essential to choose acid-free paper to prevent yellowing or fading over time.

Techniques for Blending

There are different techniques for blending colored pencils, including layering, burnishing, and solvent blending. Layering involves adding multiple layers of color to create a smooth and blended effect. Burnishing involves using a blending tool, such as a blending stump or a colorless blender pencil, to smooth out the layers and create a more polished effect. Solvent blending involves using a solvent, such as rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits, to dissolve the wax or oil in the colored pencils and create a more blended effect.

Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages, and it’s essential to experiment and find the one that works best for your artwork. In the next section, we will discuss tips and tricks to help you achieve a perfect blend with colored pencils.

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Tips for Blending with Colored Pencils

Blending with colored pencils is a technique that requires a delicate touch and some experimentation. Here are some tips to help you achieve better blending results:

Using light pressure and sharp pencils for better blending

When blending colored pencils, it is important to use light pressure to avoid damaging the paper. Heavy pressure can cause the wax or oil-based cores to smudge or clump, making it difficult to blend. Using sharp pencils is also crucial to achieving better blending results. Dull pencils can create a rough texture, which is not ideal for smooth blending. Sharpen your pencils regularly, and use a light touch to achieve the desired effect.

Experimenting with different colors and shades

To create a blended effect, you need to use different colors and shades that complement each other. Experiment with different color combinations to see what works best for you. Try blending complementary colors, such as red and green, or analogous colors, such as blue and green. Using different shades of the same color can also create a beautiful blended effect.

Avoiding overblending and keeping the colors vibrant

Overblending can lead to a loss of vibrancy in your artwork. It is important to know when to stop blending and leave some of the original color visible. You can achieve this by using light pressure and blending only a small area at a time. Another tip is to use a white pencil or blender pencil to lighten the color and create highlights. This will help preserve the vibrancy of your colors and create a more realistic effect.

By following these tips, you can achieve stunning blending results with colored pencils. Remember to take your time, experiment with different techniques, and enjoy the process of creating beautiful artwork.

Advanced Blending Techniques

Are you ready to take your colored pencil blending skills to the next level? In this section, we will discuss some advanced blending techniques that will add unique effects and textures to your artwork.

Using Colored Pencil Powder

Colored pencil powder is a versatile medium that can be used to create various effects, including gradients, textures, and accents. It is made from finely ground colored pencil shavings that can be applied to paper using a brush or a cotton swab. Colored pencil powder can be used alone or combined with other mediums, such as watercolor or acrylic, to create mixed media artwork.

To use colored pencil powder, follow these steps:

  1. Sharpen a colored pencil and collect the shavings.
  2. Place the shavings on a piece of paper or a palette.
  3. Use a brush or a cotton swab to pick up the powder.
  4. Apply the powder to the paper in a smooth, circular motion.
  5. Layer different colors of powder to create gradients or textures.

Combining Colored Pencils with Other Mediums

Combining colored pencils with other mediums, such as watercolor or acrylic, can create stunning mixed media artwork. The combination of different textures and colors can add depth and dimension to your artwork. Here are some tips for combining colored pencils with other mediums:

  • Use watercolor or acrylic as a base layer and add colored pencil details on top.
  • Use colored pencils to add highlights or accents to watercolor or acrylic artwork.
  • Use colored pencils to create texture on a canvas or mixed media paper before applying acrylic or watercolor.

Creating Textures with Blending Tools

Blending tools such as sponges or brushes can be used to create textures and effects with colored pencils. Here are some techniques for creating textures with blending tools:

  • Use a sponge to create a stippled effect on the paper.
  • Use a brush with stiff bristles to create a scratchy effect on the paper.
  • Use a brush with soft bristles to create a soft, blended effect on the paper.

With these advanced blending techniques, you can create unique and stunning artwork that will stand out from the crowd. Experiment with different techniques and mediums to find what works best for you.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to blending with colored pencils, there are some common mistakes that beginners often make. These mistakes can affect the quality of your artwork and make the blending process more difficult. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Pressing too hard and damaging the paper

One of the most common mistakes beginners make is pressing too hard on the paper. This can damage the paper and make it difficult to blend the colors smoothly. To avoid this, use light pressure when blending and gradually build up the colors with multiple layers. This will help you achieve a smooth, even blend without damaging the paper.

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Not cleaning the blending tools properly

Another mistake that beginners make is not cleaning their blending tools properly. Blending tools such as blending stumps or brushes can quickly become dirty, which can affect the quality of your blends. To avoid this, clean your blending tools with a soft cloth or tissue after each use. You can also use a kneaded eraser to remove any excess pigment from the blending tools.

Using low-quality colored pencils or paper

Using low-quality colored pencils or paper can also affect the quality of your blends. Cheap colored pencils may not have enough pigment, and low-quality paper may not be able to handle the pressure of blending. Invest in high-quality colored pencils and paper to achieve the best results. It may cost more, but it is worth it in the long run for the quality of your artwork.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can achieve better results when blending with colored pencils. Remember to use light pressure, clean your blending tools properly, and invest in high-quality materials. In the next section, we will discuss the best colored pencils for blending.

Best Colored Pencils for Blending

When it comes to colored pencils, choosing the right brand can make a significant difference in the quality of your artwork. Here are some of the best-colored pencil brands that are great for blending:

1. Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencils

Prismacolor is a well-known brand among colored pencil enthusiasts. The soft core of their pencils allows for easy blending and layering. Their high-quality pigments produce rich and vibrant colors. However, they are a bit pricier than other brands.

2. Faber-Castell Polychromos Colored Pencils

Faber-Castell is another popular brand that offers high-quality colored pencils. Their Polychromos line is known for its oil-based core, which allows for smooth blending and layering. They also have a wide range of colors and are more affordable than Prismacolor.

3. Caran d’Ache Luminance Colored Pencils

Caran d’Ache is a Swiss brand that is well-known for producing high-end art supplies. Their Luminance line offers excellent blending capabilities, thanks to their wax-based core. The colors are vibrant and lightfast, making them perfect for professional artwork. However, they are the most expensive option on this list.

When choosing between wax-based and oil-based colored pencils, it’s important to consider your preferences and the type of artwork you are creating. Wax-based pencils are often softer and more comfortable to blend, while oil-based pencils are more durable and produce brighter colors.

Overall, the best-colored pencils for blending are the ones that suit your needs and budget. It’s always a good idea to try out different brands and types of pencils to find the ones you feel most comfortable with. With the right tools and techniques, you can create stunning blended artwork.

Colored Pencil Blending Inspiration

Are you looking for inspiration for your next colored pencil artwork? Look no further! In this section, we will showcase some amazing artists and their blended colored pencil artworks. We will also share some tips and tricks from experts in the field to help you take your blending skills to the next level.

Showcasing Artists and Their Blended Colored Pencil Artworks

  1. Alyona Nickelsen – Alyona is a Russian-born artist and author of the book “Colored Pencil Painting Bible.” Her artwork features highly realistic animal portraits that are almost lifelike. She uses a unique layering technique to blend her colored pencils, which creates a smooth and seamless effect.

  2. Marco Mazzoni – Marco is an Italian artist known for his botanical illustrations that feature intricate details and vibrant colors. He uses a combination of colored pencils and watercolor to create his stunning artworks. His blending technique involves layering multiple colors on top of each other to create depth and texture.

  3. Lora Murphy – Lora is an Irish artist who specializes in portraits and figurative artwork. Her colored pencil artworks are highly detailed and realistic, with a strong emphasis on lighting and shading. She uses a combination of burnishing and layering techniques to blend her colored pencils, which creates a smooth and velvety effect.

Tips and Tricks from Experts in the Field

  1. Use a light hand – The key to blending colored pencils is to use a light hand. Applying too much pressure can damage the paper and make it difficult to blend the colors smoothly. Use a sharp pencil and apply light strokes in the same direction to create a smooth texture.

  2. Experiment with different colors – Don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors and shades to create unique and interesting effects. Try blending complementary colors to create contrast and depth, or use analogous colors to create a harmonious color scheme.

  3. Use blending tools – While blending with your fingers is a common technique, there are also specialized blending tools that can help you achieve a smoother and more consistent blend. Blender pencils, paper stumps, and blending brushes are all great options to consider.

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Now that you have some inspiration and tips from experts, it’s time to start blending and creating your own stunning colored pencil artworks!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I blend colored pencils without smudging?

Blending colored pencils can sometimes result in smudging, which can ruin your artwork. However, there are some techniques you can use to avoid smudging. First, make sure that your paper is of good quality and has a smooth surface. Rough paper can cause the pigment to catch on the surface, resulting in smudging. You can also try using a fixative spray to protect your artwork from smudging. Additionally, use light pressure when blending to avoid pushing the pigment into the paper, causing smudging.

Can I use blending tools other than a blender pencil?

Yes, you can use blending tools other than a blender pencil, such as a blending stump, cotton swab, or a soft-bristled brush. Each tool has a different effect, and it’s up to you to experiment and find the one that works best for you. A blending stump is great for detailed work, while a cotton swab is excellent for blending larger areas. A brush can create a unique texture and is perfect for blending colored pencils with other mediums, such as watercolor.

What’s the difference between burnishing and blending?

Burnishing and blending are two techniques used to blend colored pencils, but they produce different effects. Blending involves layering colors on top of each other, using a blending tool such as a blender pencil or blending stump to smooth out the transitions between colors. Burnishing, on the other hand, involves applying heavy pressure to the colored pencil to create a smooth, shiny surface. Burnishing is often used to create a glossy or metallic effect and is best achieved using a wax-based colored pencil.


Blending with colored pencils is a fun and rewarding technique that can add depth, dimension, and realism to your artwork. By understanding the basics of blending, experimenting with different techniques and tools, and using high-quality materials, you can create stunning blended artwork that will impress everyone.

In this article, we have covered the basics of blending with colored pencils, provided tips and techniques, and answered some frequently asked questions. We hope that this guide has inspired you to experiment with blending and try new techniques. Remember that there are no rules when it comes to art, and the only limit is your imagination.

To recap, blending with colored pencils allows you to create smooth transitions between colors, add depth and dimension to your artwork, and create realistic effects such as shading and highlighting. By using light pressure, experimenting with different colors and shades, and using blending tools and solvents, you can achieve stunning results.

At Cali Graphist, we are passionate about calligraphy and art, and we believe that everyone can create beautiful artwork with practice, dedication, and the right tools. We invite you to explore our website for more tutorials, inspiration, and resources, and to share your artwork with us.

Thank you for reading this article, and we hope that you have learned something new and useful. Keep blending and creating!


In conclusion, blending with colored pencils is a fun and rewarding technique that can take your artwork to the next level. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, the tips and techniques we discussed in this article will help you create stunning blended artwork. Remember to choose the right paper, pencils, and blending tools, experiment with different colors and shades, and practice patience. Don’t be afraid to try new techniques and explore your creativity.

As a brand for all things calligraphy, Cali Graphist believes that calligraphy is not just a skill, but a form of self-expression. We hope that our tips and techniques inspire you to bring your creativity to life and to see the beauty in every letter you write. If you are looking for quality materials and equipment, be sure to check out our store. We have everything you need to perfect your calligraphy skills and to create beautiful artwork. Thank you for reading, and happy blending!