Colored pencils are commonly associated with being art supplies for children, but as savvy adults know, they are versatile tools for drawing at any age. The utensils come in a variety of hues and have a waxy finish, allowing you to blend colors like you would oil or acrylic paint. Thanks to this malleable characteristic, it’s possible to create artwork that looks like a photorealistic painting.
Many artists have honed their drawing skills to create color pencil art that’s awe-inspiring in its creativity and technical abilities. Blending hues play a big part in how these works of art appear; if done well, the luscious colors are rich in depth and look as though they could pop off the page. Best of all, this technique works for a variety of subjects, from portraits of people to the animal kingdom.
Colored pencil art is an accessible creative practice that anyone can try. Because there are so many brands readily available—especially on Amazon—it’s easy to get started. So, if you’re looking to take your creativity in new directions, check out some of our favorite realistic colored pencil art. Then, consult our list of the best colored pencils for beginners to professionals.
Once you’re familiar with colored pencils, you can enroll in a class on Craftsy to further hone your skills. They have a fantastic e-learning course called Step-by-Step Photorealistic Colored Pencil Portraits that's taught by artist Karen Hull. It has hours of close-up instruction with stunning results.
These incredibly patient and gifted artists are taking color pencil art to a whole other level.
Artist Cj Hendry is known for working in a monochromatic palette, but she departed from her typical style to create Complementary Colors, a series of hyperrealistic colored pencils drawings that recreate luscious blobs of paint. Considering that some of the best colored pencils are oil based, the choice of the tool seems fitting.
Maybe people think the eyes are the window the soul, and Redosking’s color pencil art eyes are certainly proof. His series of lifelike drawings capture the swirling colors of the iris as well as tiny reflections that give you the feeling of the rounded eye socket.
Artist Lui Ferreyra imagines people in vibrant technicolor. While many artists utilize blending to create a realistic feel, Ferreyra takes a different approach; he’s a skilled draftsperson who builds three-dimensional form by pairing short, directional lines with geometric shapes. Clad in a variety of rainbow hues, the subjects cast a brilliant glow.