3 Unexpected Surfaces for Colored Pencil Art

Many of you enjoy the pleasure of drawing with colored pencils. It’s a very popular medium that has really taken a stronghold on the art community for the last 25 years. It’s one of may favorite mediums and I do a wide variety of subjects with it. It’s also my favorite class to teach, simply due to the versatility of it, and the hundreds of looks you can achieve with it.

But, few realize just how very versatile colored pencil art really is. We seem to look at it with tunnel vision, only applying it to framable art on the old reliable drawing papers and illustration boards. Well, I’m about to change that for you with some fun ideas to try.

Look at these examples, and you will see colored pencil on a few surfaces you may have never thought about. For these types of art projects, I use Prismacolor, due to its heavy wax content. It offers good coverage and blend-ability, similar to paint. But to get that affect, the surface you use must grab the colored pencil. For that reason you can’t draw on surfaces that are too slick.

Creative ideas for colored pencil art, by Lee Hammond | ArtistsNetwork.com

Left: The backside of an ordinary river rock. Right: The surface of the rock was perfect for colored pencil. This is my REACH worry rock.

My first example is a small, flat river rock I pulled out of a garden bed. The somewhat porous surface was perfect for colored pencil because it wasn’t too slick. I decided to create a “worry rock” with it. To customize it, I drew in the title of my motivational book on it. I sealed the surface with a spray sealer. (You could use crystal clear by Krylon, or any spray sealer such as polyurethane or varnish. It all depends on if you want it shiny or not.) I can carry this little rock in my pocket and rub its surface any time I may feel anxious or nervous. The sealer will prevent the color from coming off.

Colored pencil art projects by Lee Hammond | ArtistsNetwork.com

Drawing with colored pencil on a raw wood plaque

The second example is a demo I did for my last colored pencil class. Obviously, it’s not finished yet, and you can see that I’m drawing on a piece of unfinished wood. These little plaques can be purchased at any craft store in a variety of shapes and sizes. They’re perfect for creating ornaments, door signs and wall hangings.

Colored pencil art projects, by Lee Hammond | ArtistsNetwork.com

A cute metal box that I’m using as a surface for a colored pencil drawing.

The third example is a gift I am working on for my granddaughter. It’s a tin box with a cute little handle. It could be used as a purse or a jewelry or make-up box. Its surface is pre-painted and the surface is not slick. It has a slight porousness to it that accepts the colored pencil well.
Back in the 70s and 80s, tole and decorative painting was extremely popular. For those of us who still have some of those old workbooks with patterns inside, colored pencil may be a perfect way to revive them. Many of the floral designs can be beautifully done with Prismacolor. Rosemaling patterns (Old Scandinavian art) also make awesome projects in colored pencils.

These are just a few examples of the fun you can have with Prismacolor colored pencils. I’ve even drawn decorative motifs on the walls and furniture with them. In reality, everything is fair game if the surface is suitable. Look around, and I bet you’ll find many things you could place your artistic handiwork on!

The world takes on a whole different tone when you feel free to decorate it. Grab your pencils and go make your world a more colorful place!

Until next time!

Lee Hammond has been called the Queen of Drawing. That may not be fair these days, since in addition to providing the best drawing lessons, she has also created fantastic books and videos filled with the same easy to follow acrylic painting techniques, colored pencil techniques and more. Click here to see all of the instructional books and DVDs that Lee Hammond has to offer!

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