Ring Neck Pheasant Polychromos Tutorial

Pheasant drawing

Polychromos Color Pencil tips with a Ring Neck Pheasant tutorial!

If you are a serious artist looking for vibrant color and optimal performance in your color pencils, there is only one brand of choice; Faber Castell Polychromos Artists’ Color Pencils– the name and quality that generations of professional artists the world over have been relying on for over 100 years.

Interestingly, the term Polychromos is derived from the Greek words poly (many) and chroma (color), which is a very appropriate name for such an exceptional range of 120 brilliant colors, and the infinite number of mixed colors that they can create. These oil-based color pencils have a unique core design which offers a thick, pigmented application that is very effective for shading and blending with ease. Their soft oil leads are smudge-proof and water-resistant. Their high-quality materials provide unmatched lightfastness, break resistance and color brilliance.

These unique color pencils also allow Faber Castell to enjoy popularity among the hobbyist, being very suitable for use in coloring books, their color and qualities providing the joy and satisfaction sought after in this creative pursuit.

Polychromos Artists’ Color Pencils are sold individually or in color balanced box assortments of 12, 24, 36, 60 and 120. There are also 111th Anniversary Limited Edition sets and a 26 piece mixed media set. All collections provide the creative inspiration that artists seek for producing beautiful works of art from the well trusted, world famous Faber Castell brand.

Faber Castell Polychromos Color Pencils.

Experience the pleasure of what pure quality has to offer.

Tips for working with colored pencils

How to choose the right paper

With such a wide selection of paper available to the artist, it is important to determine the right one for your drawing style and expected results. Various textures and grains of paper will perform differently with your pencils, influencing the outcome of your final artwork.

When choosing a paper or pad, first consider what blending method you will be using with your color pencils. If you will be blending with a solvent, a quality watercolor paper is best. There is hot-press or cold-press surfaces to consider. Hot-pressed papers are smooth, offering a surface suitable for consistent, uniform color and line quality, perfect for precise, detailed drawings. Cold-pressed papers have a rougher, grainy surface, breaking up lines and areas, appropriate for a looser, more sketchy style of artwork.

If you are not planning on blending with solvents, artists’ brand-name papers and pads simply meant for color pencils are widely available.

Toned papers work well for colored pencils. Working on a toned surface provides a neutral starting point for adding color, allowing you to begin with lighter or darker values. Colorful and particularly dark papers highlight the luminosity of the Polychromos Color Pencils.


Pencil blending

Pencil blending is simply layering one color over another to alter the color or achieve a level of smoothness.

Dry blending

Dry blending is a method of blending with colorless blenders or blending stumps.

Solvent blending

Polychromos pencils can be used with paraffin oil (baby oil) or solvents such as mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol and used for painting. Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils are oil based as opposed to being wax based like other brands, allowing them to blend with solvents in a similar way to how you would blend oil paints. This method is demonstrated in the following how-to.

Hatching /Cross Hatching

Hatching uses parallel lines to create an area of color. The color intensity is determined by the spacing and thickness of the lines.

With crosshatching, hatching marks are layered at different angles. Depending on the density of the lines and number of colors used, new tones can be created.


In this technique, texture and pattern is created by placing a material underneath the paper. The texture pushes through the paper as you color, creating unique patterns. Textures such as wood, grained glass plates, metal plates and rough textiles are but a few of the possibilities.


In this technique, one color is laid down heavily on top of another color. A knife is then used to carefully scratch out lines and areas from the top layer revealing the color beneath it.

Creating pigment dust

A knife or sandpaper board can be used to scrape away pigment which can then be rubbed in the paper with a blending stump or finger– an effective technique for covering large areas more quickly and easily.


Gently lifting areas of color with vinyl or kneaded eraser can give a lightened, softened effect.

Mixing mediums

Polychromos Color Pencils blend very well when combined with Faber Castell’s Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils, Pitt Pens and Castell 9000 Pencils for additional creative effects. You can lay down a wash of color with watercolor pencils for a base, let dry, then work on top with the Polychromos pencils. The Pitt Artist Pen works well for outlining and accents, and the various degrees of hardness of the graphite pencils are easily combined with the Polychromos Artists’ Color Pencils.

Accessories for use with Polychromos Artists’ Pencils

Double Hole Metal Sharpener

Exacto knife

Kneadable Art Eraser

Dust-Free Vinyl Art Eraser

Blending Stump

Solvents such as baby oil or mineral spirits

Nylon paint brushes if using solvent


How to:

Blending with solvent

Brilliant, rich colors and elegant blending effects are possible to achieve by building up layers of color and blending with a solvent. Rubbing alcohol, odorless mineral spirits, turpentine, rubber cement thinner and baby oil are all options; in this art, I use odorless mineral spirits.

Pheasant feathers

I begin by applying an overall layer of pencil in a pale yellow to serve as a warm foundation. I apply light pressure with a sharp pencil, coloring in small circular motions. I rotate the paper, changing directions as I color, insuring a seamless, even application. I repeat this method with 2 more layers of the pale yellow.

Tip: Be sure to have several layers of pigment down for the solvent to dissolve/blend for this method to be effective.

Now it is time to blend. I simply dip my soft nylon bristle brush into a small container of mineral spirits and gently brush it onto the artwork.

Tip: Do not scrub the paper or you risk damaging the surface.

I let it dry about 10 minutes before adding more pencil layers.

I continue to gradually build layers by adding a variety of colors in shades of magenta, red, yellow and orange for the pheasant and greens, blues and purples for the background. I make sure to have several new layers of pigment before following with a second light wash of solvent.

Tip: Experiment on scrap paper (the same type of paper that you are using for the art), layering different combinations of color to achieve brilliance and vibrancy.

I repeat this process until I am satisfied with the color and level of smoothness and texture of the art.

Finally, I add the last bit of line detail in some of the feathers with a sharp Polychromos Pencil in a dark brown.


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