Colored pencils for pencilling

Something that I’ve been doing for awhile now is pencilling my comics with colored pencils (I was inspired after seeing some sketches by Marian Churchland on Instagram). What I like about doing this is that they let me build a drawing without having to erase too much. I can start with an orange, and then when I want to nail down a line, I can switch to a purple or blue.

I do this on the finished page, also. I find it really helps with distinguishing, back-, middle-, and foreground.

I also find that the colors are so light that they drop out when I play with the levels after I scan a page. That means less erasing and less of a chance of the pencils muddying the clarity of the inks, which can happen with graphite.

Colored pencils can have their drawbacks. It’s hard to keep them as fine as graphite. And sometimes they are so light that I have trouble seeing them. Also, if I go too crazy, there can be a waxy build-up on the page which can impede ink flow. Though the easy fix for that is to finish my pencils fully on another piece of paper and start a new one for final inks.


Still, for me the benefits outweigh the potential negatives. And sometimes the pencils just come out looking really cool.

  2 comments for “Colored pencils for pencilling

  1. 2020-05-21 at 6:35 am

    I’m currently taking a Learn-to-draw birds class and the instructor uses a non-photo blue pencil for his compositional studies. Then, he pencils over the light blue, similar to what you’re talking about. I gave it a try and like not having to erase too much. I also like that I don’t wind up with a ton of muddy and blurry exploratory pencil lines 🙂

    • Nick
      2020-05-21 at 12:20 pm

      Non-photo blue was a standard back when printing was from photographic plates. It shows up in a scan, but is so light it’s easy to get it to drop out. I resisted non-photo blue for years because I didn’t like the waxiness of it. But then I realized the problem was that I was buying a cheap brand. As I’m getting older though, it’s harder for me to see the blue lines. For my eyes, that light orange above is easier for me to see.

      Are you going tp post some of your bird drawings on Instagram?

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