Colored pencils are among the main staples of art instruction in schools and they have been for years. There is a good reason for this. They deliver vibrant color in a medium which encourages the development of fine motors skills in children. Kids do better when they understand the techniques of this medium which are covered here along with some tips for teaching art with the use of colored pencils.
One technique is called stippling. It lets children explore their artistic view by placing dots all over a piece of paper. It is similar to the pointillist movement where small and distinct colored dots are used to create an image. As children place these colored dots close together they will notice how they can achieve a shading effect. They can also experiment with both sharp and dull pencil points to enhance their work.
Note that it can take some effort to learn how to sharpen a colored pencil just right. The lead that is in the pencil is actually not lead at all. It is a hardened wax infused with pigments. You will need to help children learn to sharpen the tip without breaking it. The best electric pencil sharpeners can be helpful in tackling the task. If you are using manual sharpeners, hold the pencil in place and turn the sharpener. This will reduce the stress on the point and reduce the chance of breakage.
Another technique to work with children is called hatching. This is a great technique for them to practice when first learning how to draw. Have the children practice drawing parallel lines down the page as close together as possible. Then, have them draw a second set of lines across the first set in a different direction. This is called cross-hatching.
Again, the sharpness or dullness of the pencil will show the children that they can achieve different looks when using the hatching technique. Make sure the children are raising the pencil off the page after drawing an individual line. Have them experiment with different images to see how they can create the illusion of texture in what they draw.
Scrumbling is a technique that is relatively intuitive. It is a process of making back and forth motions on the paper with the pencil. Most anyone can learn this. With the color pencils, you do not want the children to pick up the pencil in between the movements. Scrumbling is excellent for filling in images.
Scrumbling can be done in back and forth motions and circular motions. The idea is to fill in the space before picking the pencil up off the paper.
Have your students use any and all of these techniques and pay special attention to the techniques that appeal to individual students. Have them then mix the techniques together.
Let them experiment with hatching and scrumbling in tandem to create a whole picture, for instance. Encourage all students to explore how dull and sharp tips create different effects with all of the techniques. Students will enjoy expressing themselves on blank paper with colored pencils.