Soft versus Hard Material in Colored Pencils
As with regular pencils for sketching and gray artwork, the materials in colored pencils can be hard or soft as well. Why choose one over another?
Hard Colored Pencils are Best for Lines
Hard colored pencils tend to have more pigment and less wax (which is what makes them harder). It is not as easy to blend the colors on the paper. When drawing an outline, hard colored pencils are the better pencil to choose.
Soft Colored Pencils are Best for Coloring and Blending
Soft coloring pencils are less useful for hard lines but better for shading and blending. These types of colored pencils generally to have a higher wax content and a lower pigment content.
Using Hard and Soft Together
Hard and soft colored pencils are better for specific uses. For an outline you should use a harder colored pencil but for shading and blending, the softer type is best. Using both types of colored pencils
in the same drawing can allow for quite intricate pieces, like a fish’s or dragon’s scales with the harder lines denoting the detail and the softer hues and shapes being brought out with the softer colored pencils.
Care and Paper Types
Keep a sharp pencil point by carefully using a manual sharpener. It helps to sharpen in one smooth turn as opposed to ‘hacking away’ at it as this can damage the colored pencils within and cause breaks in the material.
Rough and smooth paper types can have different effects on the outcome of the artwork. A smooth piece of paper may be good for a line drawing while rougher paper might be better for landscapes. With rougher paper you will need to sharpen the colored pencil more often.
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