Step by step – shading with coloured pencils

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To get a great result with coloured pencils, the shading is very important.
With shading you can give depth to your colouring and expand the numbers of colours you think you have! But how to get a great shading? Here I’ll show you in steps so you can experiment with it.

As an example I’ll choose a mini mandala. You can copy and print if you like (right-click).


bright purple
Now I’m going to choose a pallet.
There is a great website where you can find a lot of ideas for  Color Pallets  You can search there for warm, cold, pastel and contrasting colours.

I have chosen this pallet, but I’m going to do nothing with the black.
— I will go put in the black, instead I’m going to do nothing with the dark violet: the fourth pencil from the right —

And these pencils I have chosen to match the colours: you don’t have to stick to the colour pallet by choosing the exact colours.

Light and dark with one pencil



Start to colour with a light colour in little circles. Try to give as less pressure as you can so the tone of the colour is as light as possible. Fill the surface as smoothly as you can. Then choose the sides of the surface you want to make darker and give more pressure there at your pencil


Colour new layers again and again with little pressure at the pencil. This is important because this way you can colour more layers and you have more choices while colouring where you want it to te be darker or lighter. Give more pressure each time you get on the darker side. Go on with layering until you reach the result you like.
You can update it later if you’re not sure about the result you’ve reached.


You can see how many shades you can get from one pencil by press harder or softer at your pencil and by the number of layers you’ve coloured.

Use Darker colours


To create extra depth, you can use a darker colour to colour over the darkest areas you’ve coloured.  I’m going to use a dark blue.


First colour in the edge of the darkest area. Expand the colour from there with as less pressure as you can. Again colour layers untill you think it’s dark enough.

Blending/using lighter colours

Now I will blend the colors into each other and rub out the white spots (texture of the paper) by pushing the pigment in. You can pressure as hard as you want, but in small areas you better increase the pressure bit by bit, because with too much pressure you can rub out to much pigment and the effect is gone.

You can blend without changing the tint/shade with a blending pencil. This is a colourless pencil which the better brands have in their collection.

You can also blend the colours with the lightest colour or shade you have used or with a white pencil.



Now I’ll go to the next colours and I’m starting again from the beginning; first the lightest colour, then the medium over the lightest and next the darkest over the medium.
I blended with the lightest colour.


And again these two colours

Keep the points of you pencils sharp! Sharpen more than you think you should.
Turn your pencil around from time to time while colouring.
The tip of the point is leveling off while colouring and if you turn the pencil, you have a sharp edge of the point again.

I have used one colour in different tones and then I used different shades of a colour.
But you can also use different colours together. Like:


I didn’t blend these colours.

I will finish the mandala and use the colour I thought I wouldn’t use: black.


Do you have additions to this subject or questions? Put it in the comments below.

If you’re going to experiment with shading, I love to see your creation(s)!
Please show it at our facebookpage or add #becreativeandcolour in your post, then we will see it also. Thanks!!!

Enjoy your colouring!!



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