A previous post discussed how you can substitute coloured pencils when you are faced with the lack of supply, or increased prices of your preferred pencils. This post will show you that by thinking creatively, you can find another way to get to use your preferred coloured pencils without spending too much money. This is by layering coloured pencils.
But it does involve your time, effort and imagination.
Are you ready?
You have a problem. You really want that pencil brand. But, it’s a bit (or a lot) beyond your budget. You’ve looked at the alternatives and have considered their pro’s and cons. But, you’re still convinced that you that you really do want to have that big set of pencils of your preferred coloured pencil brand.
But, it’s still beyond your budget.
A full set of artist grade coloured pencils can set you back hundreds of dollars.
But have you thought about getting a smaller set of those pencils and layering coloured pencils?
Let’s get creative and layer coloured pencils
One of the beauty’s of coloured pencils are their transparency.
Simply, the action of layering one colour over another creates a third colour. This is that the colours mix visually, or optically, as you view them.
So, how does that help you use your preferred coloured pencils? Well, get out that smaller set of pencils, and start creating colour.
We’ll use a basic set of 12 coloured pencils.
Do you think there are only 12 colours in a set of 12 coloured pencils? No – there’s way more than that!
A set of 12 coloured pencils has a minimum number of colours available – 12! But, because coloured pencils are transparent, and they layer over each other, this can make a minimum of 144 colours. For example, 12 x 12 equals 144. So, you can make at least 144 colours from a 12 pencil set.
You can make even more colours, if you layer more colours over each other.
However, for simplicity, we’ll focus on just one layer of colour.
Let’s see if these make up the colours that you want, or you need, or are represented on the colour wheel.
For more information about the colour wheel and colour wheel colour family groups, you can read our post on colour harmonies.
Please look at this disclaimer on how the analysis was undertaken.
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An example – Caran d’Ache Luminance set of 12
So, let’s see how this works. Let’s use the Caran d’Ache Luminance set of 12 coloured pencils. These colours are provided below. You can watch this video about the 12 pencil set (caution – it contains a swear word).
The pencils in the box include black, white, red, orange, yellow, yellow-green, green, blue, blue-violet, and violet-red. This represents one colour of 8 of the 12 colour wheel colours. There is no representation of the colour wheel colours of red-orange, orange-yellow, green-blue or violet.
Let’s see what colours can be made up by layering the 12 colours over each other.
Can this provide a full palette of colours?
By undertaking the process of layering colours, the results are provided below. Let’s see how they look against the colour wheel.
You can see from the above pie chart that by laying the pencils over each other one time only, that an almost full palette of colours is created. The only colour wheel colour that isn’t represented is violet. However, this may be achieved by adding a third, or even a fourth layer of coloured pencil.
You also see that there are 23 complementary colours.
Let’s view them individually.
So, you can see from the above that there are quite a few colours from each colour wheel family (excluding violet) is represented.
One of the surprises in doing this exercise, was that while 23 complementary colours were found, they are very exciting colours in themselves. The are identified as complementary colours, as they have a mix of complements in each, and don’t neatly fit into a colour on the colour wheel.
What is interesting about them is likely to be unique to coloured pencils. You see, when pencils are layered, and not mixed, the colour layers underneath show though. They aren’t necessarily muddy colours, but could if layered, or mixed with spirits. But they are jewel like colours, as they show different colours
Here’s an image of these colours below.
Are they colours you need?
So we can see from the above that these colours do make up a palette of colour wheel colours that you can use in a range of drawings. A set of 12 coloured pencils isn’t limiting.
Use this method while you can save up for the full set of coloured pencils. Where by if you continue to use this method, you will create 1,000’s of colours for your palette.
Do they substitute for a full set of coloured pencils?
Does this process substitute for a full set of coloured pencils? We have looked at the colours in the full range of Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils. Take a look, and you’ll see that using this process can help you create colours that you can use as an alternative to the full set of pencils. All it needs is you to use your time, effort and creativity.
Get access to a free interactive colour chart with instructions for the full range of Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils by clicking the image below.