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I’m asked over and over how I manage to make my drawings look seamless and smooth, so I’m going to share the secret with you. (it’s simpler than you think)

First things first, the type of pencil you are using does matter. Although yes, if you work enough you can make even crayolas look pretty smooth, but some good quality pencils will definitely make your life way easier. I recommend investing in some Prismacolor Soft Cores, as they are the smoothest, butteriest pencils out there and they make getting a silky-smooth finish way easier. But if these or any other quality colored pencils are unavailable to you, with the techniques I’m going to share, you can make anything work.

Along with the question “how do you make it look so smooth?” it’s usually followed by “mine always has paper showing through”, good news: theres a simple fix. A lot of people don’t realize this, but take a look at the core of your pencil. You see how solid and opaque it looks? (sure ain’t any white paper showing through) That’s how opaque it’s suppose to look once it’s on your paper. Yep, that dark, that rich. The simple fix: keep LAYERING. When you have the paper showing through, it simply means you aren’t layering enough.

Now, you might think to just press harder, and although that can work when you are laying down just one color, this won’t really work otherwise. You’re likely blending together a ton of colors, shadows and highlights. You’ll need to gradually build each one, alternating with light layers. Keep a light hand, and eventually all the layers add up. Keep doing this until you have no paper showing through, and the colors are as solid as they were in the core.

Troubleshooting: you may have laid down 200 layers until you’re not even sure the paper could take anymore, but theres one thing that can keep the colors from looking seamless. When you’re trying to achieve a smooth finish, laying down a light color first then going in with a deeper color to darken it rarely works (I’m yet to see that happen). What’s likely going to happen is blotchy coloring and texture where you don’t want it. When layering, always start with the darker color first, and then add your lighter color on top. the lighter color will properly blend what’s under it and there won’t be any skipping. The result: a silky-smooth finish.

So, to recap:

  1. Don’t stop applying color until it is completely solid
  2. apply the darker shade first, then the lighter shade

Hope that helps!

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