I use these Faber Castell colors for school children:

This is what I have tried:

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Despite after repeatedly coloring the same areas with these pencil colors, I could not get better results.

Though I can't afford artist grade pencils of Faber castell, I still wish to get the dark colors as shown in the following drawing:

enter image description here
Art by Dan Stirling

What can I do to get the desired results?

  • 1
    What paper are you using in your picture? That could affect what you are doing. Blending could have been done as well to remove some of the whitespace.
    – Matt
    Jun 1, 2016 at 19:30
  • @Matt I don't know. The paper does not have label. Jun 2, 2016 at 0:49
  • 1
    TIA - Paper matters, too. With colored pencils, you need paper with a bit of "tooth", enough roughness to hold the pigment, But if you want a smoother drawing, try paper with less tooth. Be sure to experiment with different kinds of paper just as you will with different types of colored pencils. Here's a beginner primer: drawsketch.about.com/od/drawingpaper Jun 8, 2016 at 8:56

2 Answers 2


In the drawing of the hummingbird you posted, darker colored pencils are being used. Children's sets usually have bright, basic colors.

However, you may have some luck getting darker colors by layering what you have. Read up on color theory and combine colors to give the illusion of overall darker hues. The section on tints & shades from the wiki article is particularly helpful, and includes reasoning as to why you should avoid darkening colors with black or lightening them with white:

It is common among some painters to darken a paint color by adding black paint—producing colors called shades—or lighten a color by adding white—producing colors called tints. However it is not always the best way for representational painting, as an unfortunate result is for colors to also shift in hue. [...] Lightening a color by adding white can cause a shift towards blue when mixed with reds and oranges. Another practice when darkening a color is to use its opposite, or complementary, color (e.g. purplish-red added to yellowish-green) in order to neutralize it without a shift in hue, and darken it if the additive color is darker than the parent color.


The color set you have used is actually not suitable to produce such fine art on paper like the bird. Rather you would better understand if you take a look on the leaves (greenish bulgings), the color has not been equally distributed. This happens when the pencil is pushed forward and backward with pressure and the nip of the pencil breaks in small portions. This happens with everyone, at least when they have just started their art.

Now going back to your point. If you want to have darker arts with your current set of pencils here's a trick you can apply. Take two drops of water in a pallete or container. Take your pencil and use it as a brush. Just plunge it for 2 seconds on that drop and apply on paper. The first 2-3 shades will be darker.

Or for better results: try using darker shares of colors and merge it as it seems fit. Like with dark green you might apply brown or black there.

Or change your color pencil set. (not preferred if you are a novice). Many pro people grab Staedtler/Maped/Copic. Although the first two color brands are available on medium range. The third one is definitely heavy on pocket. So if you can compromise with accuracy, you surely will get precise results with your current set of colors.

  • It's not really the grade of the pencils (though that certainly doesn't hurt): it's that the hummingbird was colored with watercolor pencils. As in, it's really a watercolor painting, but the color came from pencil-shaped objects instead of tubes or pans. It's a different order of operations than straight-up painting, but the ingredients are the same: pigment, binder, water, paper. Regular colored pencils use binders that aren't water-soluble, so they will always look like, well, pencils.
    – Martha
    Jun 7, 2016 at 2:52
  • @Martha oh, so the example I posted is wrong! Can you post an example of pencil color drawing? I am not able to distinguish between water pencil colors and pencil color drawings. Jun 7, 2016 at 5:41
  • Search in Google water color pencil, buy one and try to apply it, you will get the difference
    – Demietra95
    Jun 7, 2016 at 7:14
  • @Martha yes water color pencils are quite different and shades come in just as toned and tight as in watercolor but as OP wanted the type of pencils same, I preferred any of them.
    – Demietra95
    Jun 7, 2016 at 7:17

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