How to Swatch and Blend Prismacolor Pencils

Super Doodle Girl drawing of hearts colored with pink, purple, and blue.

Today’s topic is colored pencils. Prismacolor Premiere to be exact. If you are new to coloring with pencils, this is a great place to start. These pencils are wax-based and easy to work with. You can get a vibrant pop of color and gorgeous gradients.

Let’s explore the Prismacolor colored pencils! We will start with a simple color swatch and then practice shading with one or two colors.

Supplies Needed

  • White cardstock, folded in half
  • Prismacolor colored pencils (You can do this with colors in one of the 12 color starter packs.)
  • Black Papermate Flair pen or other fineline black marker.

Creating Color Swatches

 There are 150 different colors of Prismacolor pencils available. Each one has a unique name and number on it. It’s easy to find replacement pencils when you use your favorite ones up. It is also easy to follow along with someone else if they share the numbers. 

Pick three colors. Find a light and dark version of each color so that you have six pencils. I am using pink, purple, and blue for my example. 

Draw a box for each color. Add the number and the name next to it using your black marker. 

Color in the box with very light pressure. Add additional layers on the left side to create a soft gradient. 

Use hard pressure on the shadow on the right side and below the box.

This process helps me determine the color palette for the art that I am working on. Sometimes, I do use all the colors in the box. It depends on how I am feeling that day! 


Blending Colors

Here is where the numbers on the pencils comes in handy if you want to know exactly which colors I am using. I added the number next to each object after I shaded it. 

First, play with shading one color. The key is to work light to dark. Layer additional color on with light pressure. The last bit of darkest color at the edge has a bit more pressure to it. Try to get a smoothness from light to dark. 

Next, take the light and the dark pencils of the same color. Start with the light color and fade it to very, very light. Then, take the dark color and start at the other side and fade it over the light color.

Finally, play with the light of one color and the dark of a different color. It gives you a completely different look!

Play and Create

Now it is time to play. Yes, play! That is how we get comfortable with new tools and begin to make beautiful art. 

  • Fold a piece of cardstock in half.
  • Use your black marker to add some doodles on the page.
  • Then play with your Prismacolors and color it in!

Notice in my piece that I used some smooth shading, but also some “scribble shading”, too. You will develop your own style as you explore. 

This exercise will help you add a bit more interest in your mandalas, doodles, and neurographic art.

Now, go play and have fun!