Polychromos coloured pencils

July 06, 2020

Using coloured pencils is enjoyable. To someone who paints it can feel like a completely different skill set and trying out different sets / manufacturers of the pencils is exciting. Here Jane uses the Polychromos coloured pencils from Faber-Castell.

The Faber-Castell Pencils

The full range of polychromos are available in 120 colours.

Prices start at:

  • £2.35 each, with sets available
  • 12 pencils £25.75
  • 24 pencils £49.95
  • 36 pencils £75.95
  • 60 pencils £131.95
  • 120 pencils £249.95
full-set of polychromos coloured pencils
Gadsbys stand holding all 120 pencils

An exercise in shading using the pencils


Jane has created a quick exercise in shading. She drew two ovals above one another with a space in between and then join both ovals together.

Select one colour pencil and just lightly shade in, keep the pressure on the pencil light and constant to get a nice even cover of colour.

Exercise in shading 1

Select one colour pencil and just lightly shade in, keep the pressure on the pencil light and constant to get a nice even cover of colour.

Jane used Middle Cadmium Red 9201-217

Exercise in shading 2

Next with the same colour add more pressure to the pencil and starting on the left side start to add more colour once you get to the middle ease up on the pressure and on the right side add more pressure to add a darker edge.

Exercise in shading 3

Finally still using the same colour pencil add even more pressure to make the dark areas even darker.

It’s that easy just remember to leave an area of light to give the impression of a curve.

Exercise in shading 4

Using the pencils to complete a picture of Rievaulx Abbey

Jane talks us through completing a picture of the beautiful Rievaulx Abbey.

This picture has a bit of a story attached to it, I started this as a painting in acrylic….

I had a canvas board 16”x 12” and I glued a sheet of tissue paper to the surface and transferred my drawing to it once dry. Then I painted the sky and the base colour to the stone work in acrylic and set aside.

I forgot about it I then found it some months later and changed my mind about painting it and decided to use my few Luminance pencils (by Caran D’ache) instead.

After completing the building in the background I then put it to one side again and there it stayed……so when it came to writing a blog on polychromos I thought what can I do to show how good they are.

That’s when I remembered my started picture of Rievaulx Abbey, so I will finish this picture and this shows that you can use any combination of coloured pencils you have to achieve the finished piece. 

Unfinished Rievaulx Abbey picture

In this first picture you can see the paint around the edges and on the two pillars remaining to be finished. While the rest of the building either side of the pillars was completed using Luminance coloured pencils.

Patching the canvas!

To provide the best possible surface for the pencils I traced the two pillars on to watercolour paper, cut them out and stuck them to the surface of the picture.

This gives a smooth surface to work on. Then I started by working on the arches. 

patched picture with watercolour paper

The coloured pencils used

These colours below are what I’m using.

  • 157 dark indigo
  • 232 cold grey 3
  • 234 very cold grey
  • 270 warm grey 1
  • 199 black
  • 178 nougat
  • 268 green gold
  • 101 white
  • 146 sky blue
  • 235 cold grey VI


working on the first pillar and arch

Detail of the foreground pillar  and arch

Starting of with 270 and 234 for the base colour.

base colour for the foreground arch
working down the pillar

Using 234, 199, 157, 178 & 101 for the next stage.

Adding some depth
Completing the arch

Using 235, 157, 232, 146, 178, 268, 199 to continue.

moving on down
slow and steady
Nearly there
the finished piece

The finished piece!

A few more examples of polychromos drawings


If you are looking for the perfect coloured pencil then please do pop in and see us as we are happy to help you decide what will work for you.

Gadsby’s sell all of the art & craft materials and supplies necessary for creating pieces of art like those created by Jane.

You have to supply the artistic talent and dedication to make the pieces you love. It is hard work, but it is amazing fun too.

Jane is a member of the Gadsby’s team. She has a wide knowledge of the arts & crafts products and materials sold by Gadsby’s both from the perspective of an advisor in the shop and, for many of the products, from personal use too.

Please note that this is not a service that Gadsbys offer to clients – just an example of the private work done by one of the highly skilled and knowledgable Gadsby’s team shown for your interest.


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