Colored Pencil Techniques with Goldfaber Color Pencils

Landscape sketch with Goldfaber Color Pencils

Colored Pencil Techniques - Goldfaber quality makes the difference.

The Goldfaber color pencil is an classic drawing pencil. But what makes it so special? The answer is simple: the quality of the resources that Faber-Castell uses.

Color pencil scene of bridge and people

This starts with the wood that encases the lead. You wouldn't want to get annoyed because it is hard to sharpen the pencil, which is exactly why we use wood with long fibers that is as knot-free and evenly grown as possible to ensure clean and easy sharpening. Less shavings mean you get to enjoy your color pencil for longer.

The centerpiece of every colored pencil is the lead. The Goldfaber lead consists of high-quality pigments which, combined with wax as an impregnating agent, lend the pencil its soft and intensive stroke. We take the time to finely grind and mix the components for the lead to ensure the best quality. You would like to draw and we provide you with the ideal medium: with components of highest purity and quality, optimum opacity, rich colors and good light fastness.

The Effect of Color

Goldfaber Color Pencils next to bowls of pigment in yellow, blue, and red.

A drawing is made up of multiple factors: number of colors, color intensity, contrast, composition, proportions – in short, a very complex system. But don't worry, it's up to you how complex the creation of your drawing will be. It will help you learn about color harmonies and to understand about the interplay of colors. A good exercise for this is to draw the same picture using a different number of colors.

Stage 1 of a sketch of a hat

For a simple color harmony, only use one color at first. To lighten it use white, and black for darkening. Pay attention to good contrasts to avoid the drawing being overly two-dimensional.

Stage 2 of a sketch of a hat, with more pigment added now to illustrate shading

Choose a second color and draw the same picture with these two colors as well as mixtures of them. As you will see, the mixed tones create a fresher look.

Stage 3 of a sketch of a hat, now with an additional color added to increase dimension and shading

Choose a third color and draw the picture once more. Mixing three colors requires practice, so you should use the third color sparingly.

Did You Know?

In contrast to a pencil's lead, which is burned, the firmness of Goldfaber Color Pencils' leads is achieved in a drying process.

The Right Paper

You have probably been there: standing in front of the shelf with drawing pads asking yourself which paper might be best for your project. Unfortunately, there is no definite recommendation as the choice of paper depends on your personal drawing style and plan. Various ranges of grain sizes and textures influence the stroke and thus the picture's character. Nevertheless, we have a few tips to help you make your choice.

Good to know: High-quality drawing paper is characterized by a higher grammage, first-class raw material composition as well as good acid and ageing resistance.

Yellow, red, and orange shapes sketched on hot press paper

Hot press paper is very smooth ensuring clearly defined lines as well as homogenous colored areas and is suitable for detailed, precise drawings.

Red, orange, and yellow shapes sketched on cold press paper

Cold press paper has a finely to coarsely grained surface, which breaks lines and areas creating a loose pencil stroke.

Yellow, red, and orange shapes on colored paper

Darken and Brighten

Of course you can use black to darken a color. Try using the corresponding complementary color to do this, too. On the color wheel, this is the color opposite the color you chose. In the example depicted, blue and orange are opposite each other. When you layer these two colors over each other, you get a shade of grey. You can vary the shade of grey by adjusting the ratio of the two colors.

Overlaying a color with white is a great way to lighten the color. Likewise, you can also try using other brighter shades. Depending on the shade used, the color that has been overlaid will get a warm or cool character.

Did you know? Complementary colors put next to each other enhance each other’s color effect. So, for example, orange makes blue shine when used next to it.

Stage 1 of a simple sketch of an orange house
Stage 2 of a sketch of an orange house, with slightly more added detail
Stage 3: Orange house with shading
Stage 4 of an orange house with a second layer of an additional color to add even more detail

Color Mixing

You naturally pick up a green color pencil to draw a green area. This is absolutely fine, since there already are beautiful shades of green in the Goldfaber color range. However, if you want to make the most of the Goldfaber Color Pencils' diversity, take the time to see how differentiated the tones can be, which you can mix with the different shades of blue and yellow. Even the order in which the colors are painted over each other is important; for example, overlaying yellow on blue will result in a different shade than blue on yellow.

Good to know: Bright colors, such as yellow, are more transparent than dark colors. Therefore, bright colors do not cover as well as dark colors.

Color swatches displaying examples of what color pencils look like when mixed and blended with another color

Another variable when it comes to color design is the intensity of the color overlay. But be careful: an overly thick layer of color can seal off the paper surface, thus preventing the application of further colors. This is particularly tricky when laying several colors on top of each other. It requires practice, but it's well worth experimenting with your own nuances of color. To finish off, you can use the topmost color to give the overall shade a cool (bluish) or a warm (reddish) touch.


You'll be amazed at the wealth of expressive possibilities the following hatching techniques have in store for you!

Figures with hatching technique

In a drawing, hatching defines the lighting conditions and gives objects a three-dimensional look. Hatching lets you quickly develop your own "signature" because, in reality, every person hatches differently. The more you practice different line distances, vary the pressure you apply and give overlays a try, the sooner your efforts will be rewarded with an increasingly confident stroke.

Bottle with hatching

We are showing you how to do parallel and cross-hatching. For both techniques, you need to hold the pencil at a steeper angle. The inclination determines whether lines are drawn finely and precisely or broader.

Parallel Hatching

As the name suggests, this hatching technique involves drawing lines parallel to each other and at the same angle. This might not sound very exciting, but the range of hatching possible through length of stroke and applied pressure alone is astonishing.

Three figures with parallel hatching technique

Start by using one color and applying even pressure. Hold the pencil upright and draw parallel lines in the same direction on the paper. The closer the lines are to each other, the darker the area appears. Drawing short hatching lines creates overlaps that boost the contrast between light and dark. Overlaying hatching strokes causes these areas to appear denser.

Cross Hatching

You will like cross-hatching as it allows a looser, more spontaneous stroke that doesn't have to be perfect.

Tomato with cross hatching

Start with one color and overlay hatching at different angles. Observe the impression of depth created by looser and denser crosshatching. Altering the density and length of the lines results in different tones.

More color added to a tomato with cross hatching to portray depth

Drawing with multi-color cross-hatching is much more challenging. Here, the shades will visually blend into a nuanced play of colors. Don't use too many colors to start with, but increase the number bit by bit.

Drawing of trees

With time, you will develop a hatching style only you are able to master! Using a looser stroke enables you to boldly merge different hatching techniques creating extravagant looks.

When viewed from a distance, hatchings intense and dark the color appears. visually merge into color areas. The closer the lines are to each other, the more intense and dark the color appears.


Landscape building sketch with cloudy sky

Shading is ideal to create beautiful, extensive color gradients as you apply the colors layer by layer and are always able to adjust if the gradient isn't quite right yet. Unlike hatching, you hold the pencil in a very flat position so that the entire lead surface is used. This results in a homogeneous color application.


With shading you can try out a simple drawing technique: frottage. Place a sheet of paper on a textured surface. This can be a coarse-grained wood, a metal grate, a textured linen or a porous crock. When you shade subsequently, the texture will be transferred onto the paper, creating a beautiful pattern.

Sketch of womanColor pencil swatches with Goldfaber Color Pencil


Color pencil with sgraffito

The last time you tried the sgraffito technique was probably during your childhood using wax crayons. But sgraffito is also an interesting way of using colored pencils.

Here's how it works: the first step involves completely covering one color with another. Ideally, the underlying color should be brighter than the upper color. Then carefully scratch out lines and areas from the upper layer using a knife. And just like that, you have magically created beautiful contrasts and patterns!

Little Tricks

Use the techniques creatively!

Blue color pencil dashes

Paper edges and stencils

You can use a sheet of paper to help you to draw patterns. By drawing short lines over the paper edge you can create stubble fields, grass or abstract structures and patterns.

Embossed paper with blue color pencil

Embossed paper

Embossing paper is a charming technique. Prior to drawing, emboss patterns or lines into the surface of the paper with an embossing stick or blunt needle. These lower-lying lines remain white when drawing on the paper and create a beautiful contrast to your drawing.

Green and blue color pencil with baby oil

Baby oil

This is genius! Goldfaber colors can be dissolved with paraffin oil (baby oil) for extensive painting. This enables you to create extravagant backgrounds to continue drawing on once they have fully dried.


Usually, an eraser helps to correct mistakes. Why not use it in a completely different way? Place one or two sheets of paper onto your drawing and gently use the eraser in the gap between them to create brighter lines or areas, which has a great effect on the entire picture. By using stencils you can create even more sophisticated looks.

Color pencil with eraserRed color pencil with eraser

Stencil with eraserBlue color pencil with stencil and eraser

Using a knife, scalpel or sanding board you can quickly create beautiful patterns in your picture. Scrape some pigment off the tip of your pencil directly onto your drawing and spread it with a wiper or finger to create dramatic effects. This is an ideal technique to effortlessly create patterns or larger color areas.

Sketch with sanding board

Combing Strong Techniques

The drawing techniques we have presented offer endless possibilities for creating extravagant pictures. If you are looking for even more room for variation and you love mixed media pictures, experiment with exciting combinations of other materials and tools from the Creative Studio range. You could, for example, use the Pitt Artist Pen with waterproof ink for preliminary sketching. The interplay of soft and oil pastels with the Goldfaber drawing pencil also delivers great results.

Sketches of macarons
Goldfaber combined with Soft Pastels

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