Comments 29

How to Color Mandalas Using Colored Pencils

How to Use Colored Pencils to Color Mandalas

I’m infatuated with colored pencils, especially my Prismacolor set of 48 colors. I made this video to show you why I love coloring mandalas with them. This video is like getting a FREE class on the basics of colored pencils.

This video covers:

  • The types of colored pencils – student versus professional grades.
  • How to store and sharpen colored pencils.
  • Price
  • Best paper to use with colored pencils.
  • How to color with colored pencils (hint: think layers).
  • Four blending techniques.
  • Single color gradients.
  • Two color gradients.
  • Mixing your own colors.

If you love coloring, watch this video. It is a great introduction to colored pencils.


Show Notes

Supplies Used

Please note these products are linked to Amazon using affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale. I only link to products that I have used and recommend. Thank you for your support of my work on The commission is used to purchase art supplies and books.


Open Stock – Many professional grades of colored pencils are sold individually.

Mountains and Valleys – Refers to the uneven surface of the paper. Watercolor paper is an example where there is more “tooth” and the distance between the mountains and valleys are greater.

Burnishing – Applying heavy layers of pencil until the “valleys” of the paper is completely filled in, and a smooth, shiny surface of solid color.

Wax Blooms – I don’t think I remembered to mention this in the video. It appears as a white, waxy haze that develops with a heavy layer of colored pencil. It can appear days after you finished coloring your mandala. To remove, lightly swab the surface with a q-tip or cotton swab.


Try Before You Buy – Colored pencils are not for everyone. Before you make an investment select a few of your favorite colors. Most professional brands offer open stock.

Choose 24 or 48 sets – The 12 color sets are repeated in the other sets. If you get hooked on colored pencils, you don’t want to end up with a lot of repeated colors, many of which you might not use.

Best Paper for Colored Pencils – Drawing or sketch paper, Bristol Board, or photocopier paper. Avoid papers with a big “tooth” like watercolor paper. Hammermill has a gorgeous white cover stock perfect for printing colored pages to use with colored pencil.

Inkjet versus Laser Printer/Photocopier – When printing coloring pages from the internet, you’ll want to consider what medium you plan on using to color. Inkjet printers “spray” the ink onto the page and it isn’t waterproof. This isn’t good for “wet” mediums as it will run the lines of the printed design.

Colors Used in this Video

All of the colored pencils in the demo are Prismacolors.

Single Color Gradient: True Blue PC903

Two Color Gradients: Pale Vermilion PC921 and Magenta PC930

Blending Colors: Pale Vermilion PC921 and Spanish Orange PC1003

Mandala designed by Alyson Hurst from Bristol, UK:

  • True Blue PC903
  • Orange PC918
  • Rose PC929
  • Mulberry PC995
  • Blended with Gamsol

Hamsa designed by Pat Langley from Texas, USA:

  • Crimson Red PC924
  • Yellowed Orange PC1002
  • Canary Yellow PC916
  • Olive Green PC911
  • Aquamarine PC905
  • Tuscan Red PC937

Tweet This

Learn 4 techniques for blending colored pencils.


If you loved this video, then you’ll love my Color I Course where you’ll get the color guide filled with gorgeous color combinations, coloring books to download, and many video demonstrations on various products loved by mandala artists.

It’s Your Turn

This entry was posted in: How-to


Kathryn Costa is an instigator of soulful and creative living. Her passion can be summed up in three little words: “create and connect.” Kathryn’s programs help people to find clarity, let go of fear, embrace their dreams, and explore their creativity. Kathryn has been an online community developer, teacher, and soulful guide for 12 years. Her unique teaching and coaching style integrates tools and practices from her training in Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching, Soul Coaching, The Virtue’s Project, and Jaguar Path Shamanic Apprenticeship Program.


  1. Great post and video Kathryn! Love your color combos.
    Another way to use the mineral solvent is to buy an empty Copic Marker, fill it with the solvent and use it as you use the colorless blender marker, easy and portable 😉


  2. shrutidev says

    Brilliant, Kathryn:)! Delightfully informative and very meaningful:)! Your passion oozes through and that definitely jazzes up the spirit of the videos! Way to go, my friend:)!xx


  3. Debbie says

    Love the video Kathryn. I totally forgot about the mineral spirits blending! Thank you for the reminder. I love the empty Copic Marker idea Maria!! I used a very small jar and cut up a sponge put it in the jar the pored mineral spirits over the sponge and have used my stumps this way also. It helps me control putting just a teeny amount on my stump.


  4. Kathryn, fabulous video you’ve done there! Brava! I love love the paper explanations! Not something you hear from many places. Also wanted to know if you’ve ever had the opportunity to use Citrasolv rather than Gamsol?


  5. Fabienne says

    Wow, I love your video Kathryn, I learnt so many things. I love coloured pencils but always felt frustrated because I didn’t know anything about blending and layers technique!
    I’m going to order prismacolours (with a blender) and try them!
    Everything seems so easy and simple with you, thank you so much. And thank you for your enthusiasm and radiant smile!


  6. Thank you. I learned so much about colored pencils and blending techniques. I was frustrated with pencils and switched to gel pens but I am going to give the pencils another try.


    • Hi Lynn, It is definitely worth another go with the colored pencils. If you still don’t care for them, know that is okay. Some people prefer markers or paints over colored pencils. It is all a matter of personal preference. I enjoy experimenting with them all and find there are times when I’m in the mood for colored pencils and other times enjoy working with markers, etc. Have fun exploring the many possibilities!


  7. j elizabeth ballard says

    Actually, due to the wax in colored pencils, you should not use them in electric sharpeners. The gum up the motor very quickly.


      • Pearl says

        Re: electric sharpness…. After sharpening the color penciled just sharpen regular pencils ….that cleans the blades….it works….by the way, love the information here!


    • Alusha Sipes says

      Electric is the only one I use & have never had trouble. Could be I’m an exception though. The suggestion on the pencil box is to “clean” the electric sharpener regularly by sharpening a hard, lead pencil occasionally.


  8. Hi Kathryn. Just found this site today and registered for the newsletter. I’m an artist and create realistic art with acrylics, scratchboard, graphite & charcoal and colored pencils. I also paint on the iPad and love to create mandalas. Recently I produced an adult coloring book to donate to the local assisted living home which several online artists contributed a page of doodles. I found a print shop who were willing to print all the sheets and produce spiral bound books at a very reasonable price. Then wrote to several art suppliers asking for colored pencil donations. Dick Blick were the only company to come up with the goods! My daughter very kindly donated pencil sharpeners and we took them to the home where the residents were excited to get started on them. They were so pleased to do something other than crossword puzzles and jigsaws.

    I think adult coloring is a wonderful pastime for those who are not able to draw but really need an artistic outlet. I think you are doing a wonderful job in giving your time for the pleasure of others. ‘Good on ya’.



    • Alusha Sipes says

      What a wonderful idea! I’ve worked with nursing homes as a makeup artist and found most residents, not all, have precious few visitors, family members are so busy or are deceased. Since reading your message, I’ll be ordering from Dick Blick first, always.


      • It is sad how many residents have few visitors. Fortunately, we can bring in a ray of sunshine. Why Dick Blick first?


  9. Rena says

    Hi – loved the video (watched it on YouTube). I am a newbie and not a very creative so the techniques you shared will be very helpful. I only have the school grade color pencils. Will the Gamsol work with these pencils or only with the higher grade pencils? Also, I couldn’t find where to sign up for your newsletter. Could you send a link to that page? Thank you again.


  10. Denise maman de Nathalie et grandma de Chloé. says

    Bonjour, j’ai un gros problème
    Je ne vois pas les couleurs je suis daltonienne
    Mai j’aime toutes les couleurs mais surtout travailler avec les couleurs orange, et je ne sais pas travailler avec les autres que je peux travailler avec les autres couleurs pour mélanger avec orange ex(jaune)
    Les bleu faire genre nuit cet Et je suis Québécoise donc je parle français
    C’est qui m’aide elle traduis pour moi avec Chloé.


    • Bonjour Denise, Un bon moyen d’apprendre à choisir les couleurs pour créer un résultat harmonieux est d’en apprendre davantage sur la roue chromatique. J’enseigne une classe appelée, Couleur I. Elle est cependant seulement offerte en anglais.


  11. Hi,
    I just found you tonight!
    Signed up for your newsletter and Facebook page.
    I got out of bed,found some paper and a super thin black marker and did my first mandala.(with self instructions to not judge)
    I think I’m gonna take your 100 day challenge and do one everyday
    Thank you so much!


  12. Pingback: Coloring With Colored Pencils – George Duarte

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