Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Vibrant Drawings Using Colored Pencils & Mineral Spirits

Artists use colored pencils in a variety of ways.  Many use them in mixed media with watercolor or ink, others layer them to create dense color saturated images.  I like to use colored pencils with odorlessmineral spirits (OMS), applied with a cotton swab, to create vibrantly colored, painterly drawings. 

The materials needed are colored pencils, OMS, cotton swabs and Bristol paper.  The Bristol paper is a good choice as it is smooth without any texture. 

I start out by doing a sketch of my subject matter using colored pencils to lightly block in my composition.  As I build up the color I lightly rub the surface with mineral spirits on a cotton swab.  The mineral spirits act to break down the waxy binder in the colored pencil and create a vibrant and painterly image. I keeping layering the colored pencil and ODM until the drawing is complete.  Here are a few recent examples of my work using this interesting technique.

I would like to thank my friend Josh Yavelberg for introducing me to this way of working!

                                  All drawings by Marie Dauenheimer.


  1. Great idea, i might try out some mineral spirits while drawing next drawing i do. Any specific drawing pencils you recommend?

  2. Hi Ricardo! Thanks for commenting. I recommend Prismacolor colored pencils.

    Hope to see you soon.