Coloring with colored pencils can seem like an extremely long process. Coloring a full drawing can seem to take countless hours, especially if you are new to coloring with colored pencils. However, there are certain strategies you can follow that will help you cut down time during coloring and make your coloring process go much more smoothly. We have provided our top 7 recommendations to color with colored pencils faster.
Purchase High-Quality Colored Pencils
Not all colored pencils are created equally. When we were younger, most of us colored with cheaper colored pencils that were found at our local grocery or discount store. However, to create high-quality artwork and cut down your coloring time, it is essential to purchase high-quality colored pencils.
Cheap colored pencils are often made out of harder wax leads and they will also contain less pigment. Since they have less pigment, cheap colored pencils will often leave behind some white spaces in the grains of the paper you’re coloring on. With the cheap colored pencils, you’ll have to go back over the paper multiple times to get a thorough color.
The second disadvantage of cheap colored pencils is the color is also less vibrant. If you want to achieve a more vibrant color, you’ll have to go over the drawing multiple times as well to get closer to the color you want. With high-quality colored pencils, you’ll have more pigment and will be able to achieve more vibrant colors in less time.
The last disadvantage of cheap colored pencils is they often break easily due to the harder lead. This means you will have to stop and take more breaks to sharpen your pencils while coloring. Therefore, you’ll be adding extra time to the coloring process. You will also need to purchase your colored pencils more frequently when you use cheap colored pencils, which will cost you more time in the long run.
A benefit of purchasing colored pencils that are made with a higher quality and have a softer wax lead is you’ll have an easier time blending and shading. Achieving your ideal shading and blending can be difficult with hard lead and it is much more time-consuming. You will be able to add more realistic characteristics to your art much more easily with high-quality pencils.
High-quality colored pencils will last much longer and break less and you’ll be able to color with fewer interruptions. This can potentially cut down large chunks of time on your coloring process (depending on the size of your designs).
If you are new to the coloring world and are hesitant to spend a lot on colored pencils, we recommend starting with coloring pencils that are priced in the mid-range. These colored pencils will still have a better quality than the cheap colored pencils. Some popular brands in the middle price point are Staedtler and Faber Castel.
If you are still skeptical about spending more money on pencils, some high-quality brands allow you to purchase single pencils. Instead of purchasing an entire set (that will likely come with a high price tag), you can purchase a few single pencils. This will allow you to get used to the high-quality colored pencils and notice the difference they can make yourself.
Add Extra Paper Under Your Artwork
The surface that you use to color on makes a large difference in the quality of your artwork and also the amount of time that the coloring process takes. If you are coloring on a surface that has a rough texture, it can severely damage the quality of your coloring!
This is because colored pencils will pick up every little dent that may be on the surface that you’re coloring on. It may be obvious that coloring over little dents can harm your artwork, but you also need to keep in mind the time that coloring on a poor surface can cost you. A surface that isn’t smooth can add to the time it takes to color since you’ll have to go back and fix the spots you may have colored over a dent.
If you add a few sheets of extra paper under the paper that you are coloring on, you will add more stability to your surface. With a more solid surface, you are less likely to get gaps in your artwork. This means you won’t have to go back over your design like you may if you color on top of an uneven surface.
The amount of extra paper you use will ultimately depend on your preference. You can try different amounts to see what feels the best for you. We recommend starting with at least two extra pieces of paper under the paper that you’re coloring on.
If you are coloring in a coloring book, you can still benefit from adding a couple of blank pieces of paper under the page in the coloring book you are coloring. This will give you a smoother surface and allow the color to stick better to your pages.
Pick Your Colors First
Before you start any new coloring project, you can speed up the time spent on your coloring process by picking the colors you want to use first. This will save you time once you have begun the actual coloring.
Knowing what colors you want to use before you start coloring will reduce the amount of breaks you take throughout the coloring process to decide on what color to use for each area. When you stop at each area to pick a new color, this can easily add an hour to the amount of time the overall coloring process takes.
Another benefit of picking your colors first is you can think through your entire design and pick your colors with careful thought. This includes picking the colors for your shadows, highlights, and other specific areas. If you wait to pick your colors until after you’ve started coloring, you will likely pick your colors more spontaneously. This may result in the colors of each section of your artwork not going together and not blending as they should.
Picking the colors before you start coloring also makes the coloring process more relaxing and fun. You won’t be as stressed out, hoping that you’re picking the right colors. You will be able to relax, knowing that you’ve already picked out the ideal colors for each section of your artwork. When the coloring process is more fun, it will make the time spent coloring go by so much faster as well!
Once you’ve started the coloring process, you can still make changes and alter a color choice if you want to along the way. You don’t need to worry about changing your mind after your colors have already been picked. The point of picking your colors first is to have a very clear idea in mind of what you want your overall artwork to look like. Making slight changes along the way will not largely increase your time.
Do Not Rush the Coloring Process
Rushing the coloring process does not always cut down the amount of time it takes to color with colored pencils. Generally, rushing does quite the opposite and makes the coloring process take much longer!
Colored pencils are not a very forgiving tool to use for coloring and artwork. Once you’ve made a mistake in your coloring project, it is not easy to undo any of the mistakes made with colored pencils. Most mishaps will either remain on your coloring project or you will have to start over.
By rushing through the coloring process, you will be much more likely to make more mistakes. This will result in you having to start over your artwork more frequently or working to cover up the mistake with darker colors, which can hinder the quality of your drawing.
To avoid having to start over and wasting more time, you can save time by being cautious with your coloring. Part of being cautious with your drawing is starting with a lighter pressure. When coloring with a darker pressure, the color will be much more pigmented, and more difficult to make changes to it.
Being cautious with your drawing also means being mindful of where you are putting color. It’s important to take your time and make sure you are applying color in the right places. This will help you make less mistakes. Overall, being cautious will save you large amounts of time because you won’t have to start over as many times or try and fix mistakes.
Draw on Colored Paper to Reduce Background Time
In many art pieces, the background can take up the most amount of time to color. This is mainly due to the background taking up the largest area in a lot of designs. One way to cut down the amount of time it takes to color a background is drawing on colored paper.
To ensure that colored paper works for your coloring project, it is important to pick a color and paper that compliments the specific design that you are creating. You want to make sure that all of the colors interact well, including the color of the paper you’re using.
When using colored paper for your drawing and coloring projects, we recommend sticking to smaller and more simple drawings. This includes coloring projects that include a limited amount of colors used. If you use colored paper for a very complex drawing, it can overcomplicate your artwork.
Color in Short Time Blocks
When you color in large time blocks, it becomes easy for your mind and your hand to get tired. When you become exhausted from large amounts of coloring, you will likely automatically become slower at coloring. This is why we recommend coloring in shorter time blocks to keep up your energy and reduce the overall time spent on the coloring process.
We recommend coloring in blocks of 30 minutes or less. This may not seem like a large amount of time. However, if you color for 30 minutes every day, your mind will be more alert and ready for your coloring project. You’ll get a lot more done every day, instead of trying to color for hours with a tired mind.
If you need to color for longer than 30 minutes in one day for a particular project, we recommend at least ensuring that you give yourself a break every 30 minutes. You could get up, take a walk, stretch, and get your eyes off the paper. Giving yourself time to rest while coloring will do wonders for keeping your mind and body more alert.
When it comes to coloring and creating any type of art, your productivity makes a large difference in how quickly you can create your masterpiece. If you are tired and not functioning at your best, creating your artwork will always tend to take longer to complete.
Use Full Spectrum Lighting
To achieve the masterpiece that you have envisioned in your mind, it’s essential to be able to see your colors properly and see how each color works with the others. If you color while sitting in poor lighting, the quality of your artwork may suffer. You may also notice that it takes much longer to get your coloring completed.
If the light is too dim or you can’t see properly, you may have to take multiple breaks to look at your artwork at different angles to get a better view. If you are taking multiple breaks to see properly, your coloring process will take much longer. Using full spectrum or high-quality lighting while coloring will help you reduce the breaks you need to take to get a better glimpse at your artwork.
Another benefit of using full-spectrum lighting is it has a much wider and larger color spectrum. This provides you with a better view of the colors you are looking at. You may have a more difficult time seeing how the colors interact with each other if you are not using full-spectrum lighting while coloring.
You don’t have to spend a large amount of money on full-spectrum light bulbs either. You can find good quality full spectrum light bulbs starting at around $20. You can find countless options available on sites like Amazon. Many of the light bulbs will likely even work with the lamps you already have at home.
Our 6 tips mentioned above are easy to start implementing in your coloring process and can make a large difference in your time spent. When you combine all 5 of the tips while coloring, we are convinced that you will notice a difference. Not only will you color with colored pencils faster, but your coloring process will also go much more smoothly!
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