Step by Step Colored Pencil Tutorial

About Amanda:

I started drawing back in 2000. One morning I picked up a pencil, some computer paper and started to draw an image from a folder I had by me. This was an Anime (Japanese animation or cartoon) that I liked back then. I was drawing that and other images from reference photos until 2003 when I created my first original character.

During the summer of 2003, I started to work on story lines and comics wile developing more of my style. I went into High School in the fall of 2003 and took more advanced art classes. I learned to improve my realism skills and began to enjoy it more and more. I worked realism into my style as my pencil and colored pencil skills got better. The art classes also taught me to work with watercolors, temperas, pastel, and charcoal. At that time, I developed more characters and stories for my comics.

Step by Step Colored Pencil Tutorial By Amanda Sexton

Aye everyone! I wanted to get around to do a little tutorial on colored pencils. They are my favorite coloring medium. I did a sketch last night and decided to color it and turn it into a tutorial cause it’s not too busy and it’s not very big.

I hope to inspire you and to also take a journey though my brain on how I do my thing.


This bad boy is my 120 Prismacolor Colored Pencils. They are a great professional pencil to use. They blend nicely and have a creamy texture that I love. Did I mention that they are professional? That means they are pricey, and they are. If you ever get the money to buy them, DO IT. Well worth it.

I also use  (Prang) Colored Pencils for small areas and for blending, or Burnishing.

There are many ways you can blend your colored pencils. From Colorless Blenders to colors, to Tortillons or smudge stumps. I will be using smudge stumps and colors. White is a great way to blend, but the pigment is WHITE after all.. that means your colors will lighten and fade.

Now the paper I am using is a  (Strathmore) 400 sketch book , 5.5 x 8.5, 60 lbs. I love this brand. This sketchbook is nice and textured fore any media. I have tried a lot of different papers from watercolor, bristol, drawing, sketch, and recently tinted pastel. I like to have some texture to my paper when using colored pencil, but at times a smooth bristol works just nicely.

Also don’t forget to have a good pencil sharpener. One that is hand held is best. Fixative is a MUST when you are done.. I learned this the hard way.. trust me

A WORD TO THE WISE: keep your hands clean, your pencils sharpen and a scrap paper under your hand. Smudging and skin oils is your worst enemy. Eh.

To the good stuff!

There is my baby that I posted last night. His name is Jadar and watch out, he is going to be blue skinned with green hair! Yay! Anyway it is a good idea to shade when you sketch to get a feel of where the light source is coming from. In this case it is from his halo/ above him. I drew Jadar as an Angel cause of the song I was listing (I heard the story behind the song today and boy it’s sad). He does not die AT ALL in my comics so none of my friend/ fans of him will have to worry. (I know them, they will see this and think that..)

Sorry for the poor color quality on my scanner. I inked it wile leaving the halo and hair pencil (something I want to try..). I started with a light shade of True Blue, Prismacolor. I kept some areas white for the highlights. I also added Prismacolor Metallic Silver to the background to give it some pop!.

I took Prismacolor Violet and lightly shaded it into places where shadow will fall. Giving the object a 3D look is always my goal and by adding different shades, like the violet to blue objects helps. I then took out a small smudge stump and blended the colors together, with a light pressure. The smudge stump make a little impact on the drawing, but it’s there and helps.

A Prismacolor Violet- Blue was added to the darkest of shadows with light to medium pressure. I use medium pressure to the areas that are highly dark and lightly to the areas that are only touched by the other two colors, like under the cheek bones. The stump was used again lightly to blend colors.

I WANT TO TAKE THIS TIME TO POINT OUT A MISTAKE I MADE. I shaded the tops of his eyes wrong. But I fixed it.

Prang Blue was added with medium to heavy pressure. Medium was added as a shade and heavy to blend the Violet Blue dark shadows like under the chin. I like to use Prang , or some times Crayola, fore blending. Their pigment has less wax in them, so they are harder. Great for getting the color into the tooth of the paper.

I told you he was blue!

With heavy pressure I added Prang Light Blue over the light areas. To blend it more I used a Prismacolor Powder Blue to some of the white highlights. Toped it off with a colorless blender to smooth out the pencils more. God blue is beautiful…

I may add that this looks 10 times better in person.

I colored the wing with Prismacolor Powder Blue and Prismacolor Light Cerulean Blue. The wing is white so I like to shade with blues. I NEVER shade with gray for white. Unless it’s smoke or a ghostly figure   I then blended with a Prang Light Blue and toped it off with my Colorless Blender. Around the white edges of the highlight I added Prismacolor Goldenrod then blended with Prang Tan. This will draw the elements into the picture together. Pardon the pun..

To start with his hair I picked some greens of both brands.


  • True Green
  • Grass Green
  • Dark Green
  • Canary Yellow


  • Green
  • Apple Green
  • Violet

Some times I pick out every color of green out of my package when I am working big or more detailed, but for this I took only a few colors.

I colored the halo with Prismacolor Gold and Prang Yellow. I wanted to color this first because if I colored the hair first it might get very messy. If I color it fist the halo would mask it’s self off. It also gives me a great sense of where the band of light is coming from. Again pardon the pun. I took out Prismacolor True Green and wile leaving the white areas out, colored. I used more pencil like strokes for the hair. I want to note that I do not color hair in the normal Anime/ Manga style. Unless I have a anime one day but when I color I don’t follow the rules. I am more realistic than that.

Prismacolor Grass Green with light to medium pressure was added to deepen the depth of shadows. This includes the ends of the hair and above the halo.

I took Prismacolor Dark Green and added more depth. I used heavy pressure to the really dark areas, like under his ears.

Prismacolor Canary Yellow was added to the highlighted parts. Prang Apple Green and Green was added to burnish and blend the other colors of green.

And there he is in all of his glory! I added a yellow highlighter around the character to bring out his “glow”. Put a watermark on it and he is done.

Thank you all for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this step by step colored pencil tutorial by Artist Amanda Sexton.


  1. Adelaide Dunn says

    I’m not into coloured pencils but I really enjoyed this tutorial anyway. Jadar enticed me… he is beautiful. Many thanks.

  2. Ruth Whall says

    Greet pic. Lots of feeling. Did you spray fixative after each stage or just at the end? What is a smudge stump? Can you use a cotton bud or something like that to blend?

  3. Amanda Sexton says

    Ruth Whall: Thank you, I only spray at the end of the drawing. And cotton buds will work also.

  4. simon says

    hi, i love ur work it is really lovely. pls i will need more step by step coloured pencil portrait. thanks. seeeeee yaaaaaaaa……..

  5. Lynn Marlowe says

    I haven’t done pencils in a long time (just learning again!). Do you buy the fixative in an art store or will hairspray work as well? I heard that from someone for pastels, so was wondering about the pencils.

  6. emily says

    this is amazing… whenever i color my drawings, they look crummy and cheap, but i think this tutorial really will help me. did you say your sketchbook is 60 lbs?
    thanks again, and keep drawing because its beautiful! 🙂

  7. lauren says

    I tried to do some drawing when I was young however I am having difficulty with the face. You did great with yours. Keep it up!

  8. jade says

    Wow, that’s incredible. I have to say, I would never have thought you could get such a strong effect with coloured pencils, I always turn to paint. But it looks fantastic, I love how you took your time with it and worked in steps and layers.

  9. pozycjonowanie says

    Awesome collection of great posts. This is the best blog what I saw. I have a few blogs and i will link to your some posts, because this is really helpful information. I thank you and i congratulation for author. Good work man, good job and have fun! And so on!

  10. hasta yataklar? says

    I tried to do some drawing when I was young however I am having difficulty with the face. You did great with yours. Keep it up!

  11. Scott says

    how nice. Even if there is a tutorial like this i cannot do this still. huhuhu. It’s just I don’t have the art of painting nor drawing.

  12. Benny says

    I pay a visit day-to-day a few web sites and sites to read articles, however this website presents feature based articles.

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