Saturday, September 8, 2012


I just love drawing and painting faces.  If I can't think of anything to draw, I will rough out a face in pencil on plain paper and color it with Prismacolor pencils. Eventually, the colored pencil drawing will make its way into one of my journals.

Lately, I have been experimenting with using different mediums as well as creating different whimsical looking faces.  I tried drawing faces with cute short turned up noses and long faces with long noses... girls  with big eyes and some with squinty eyes..... tiny full lips and wide thin lips.   Can you tell that I looooove to draw faces?  It is so much fun to see the personality of each girl develop right in front of your very eyes and on a piece of paper!!  Very addictive!

My technique for colored pencil faces is pretty much the way everyone else does it.  First using a lightweight paper (I use a good quality inkjet printing paper but any smooth paper or card stock will work) I lightly sketch the face, hair and upper portion of the body and clothes and then ink it using a micron or pitt pen.  Next, I erase all the pencil lines.

To apply the colored pencil for the first layers, I use a medium pressure with small circular motions.  First, I apply the lightest color (light peach) to the face leaving any white or highlighted area.  Next, a slightly darker color (peach) is applied for contouring around the perimeter of the face, nose, eyes and lips.  For the final and darkest shading, I use the darkest color (burnt ochre) around the perimeter of the face, side and bottom of the nose (not as much as the previous layer).  

Now I am ready to blend it all.  Blending is done by using the lightest color or white and going over the entire face by using a more firm pressure than what was used on the first and previous layers.  Once again in a small circular motion. What begins to happen is the wax from the pencil begins to move around the paper and blend into the lightest color...... eliminating the grainy look of the pencil marks. I may need to repeat the contouring process if the contour is not dark enough but the idea is to build the layers slowly.

The cheeks are added by using a rose color in a circular motion with the darkest and firmest pressure in the center of the cheek and fading to a lighter pressure and color on the perimeter of the apples of the cheek.  Once again, I blend with the lightest skin color or white.  That's pretty much the short of it!!

Here is one of the girls colored with Prismacolor pencils.  The background was made by using Faber Castell Gelatos with a wash of water.  After it dried, I rubbed the gelato stick over a stencil.

I hope that this inspires you to try coloring faces using Prismacolor pencils.  It takes practice but I think that it is well worth it!  Hope that you do too!


  1. Ginny - thank you for this easy to understand explanation for shading faces. I just started to play around with drawing faces and love the Prismacolor pencils. I need lots of tutorials (and practice) so I will search your blog and others for some help. Thanks so much! Love your work.

  2. Kathy, Thank You for your feedback. I hope that my instructions help. Check out the Suzi Blu you-tube videos. She uses prismacolor pencils for her faces. Also, check out the be video by Linda Moore (I include the link to her video on the page with the blue and green girl). Linda uses a mixture of mediums. Good luck to you !

  3. Thank you for sharing your knowledge . I just stumbled onto your site through Pinterest . Love your work.

    1. Thank you Reenec and welcome to my blog.