7 Easy Ways to Add Texture to Your Colored Pencil Drawings

These simple colored pencil techniques are a simple way to add interest to any adult coloring creation.

Colored pencils are extremely versatile and fun to practice different techniques with. Using colored pencils is more than coloring in tiny circles and learning how to blend colors for seamless gradients—it’s a great way to add interesting texture and to make different parts of printed designs pop! Today, we’re going to show you seven ways to add color and texture to your next coloring page.


Easy Colored Pencil Techniques for Adult Coloring Fanatics

I’ll be demonstrating these techniques using a coloring page from my book, Don’t Worry, Eat Cake. Want to color along with me? Download our “Oh Honey” coloring page here!

Back and Forth Stroke

The back and forth stroke is a common technique you might already use. It’s accomplished by simply moving the pencil back and forth across the page. To get different textures and density of pigment, you can experiment with the back and forth stroke by drawing with the point of the tip versus the side edge of the tip. Or, to get different textures you can see how a sharp tip might look compared to a blunt tip.


Stippling is a technique where you draw lots of tiny dots in one area to create texture and fill space with color. The darker and closer together the dots are, the more shadow illusion you can create. You can mix different colors together and, depending on how close or far they are, it can look like an entirely different color from far away. They can even appear three-dimensional, which is really cool when you’re working with a two-dimensional printed piece of paper.

Hatching & Cross Hatching

Hatching is a nice, basic technique for coloring and shading. You simply draw angled strokes in the same direction to fill an area. Cross-hatching is similar, but instead of drawing in the same direction, the strokes are angled in a different direction in each overlapping layer. This is a great technique to use when you’re drawing something like wood to give a more realistic appearance.


Rubbings allow you to capture the texture of everyday objects onto your coloring page. To create rubbings, place your paper on top of an object while you color over it with colored pencils. You can use things like rough wood, a woven placement, leaves, or sandpaper. You can really use your imagination as you wander around your house to find endless possibilities for texture!

Directional Mark Making

Directional mark making is a technique where you draw lines in one direction—either straight or following a contour, like on the leaf in this example. This comes in handy when you’re drawing things like grass, hair, and fabric. I like how this technique works when you use more than one color. It helps things appear more three-dimensional and realistic as if there is actually texture—not just one flat color.


Scumbling is a technique where you draw overlapping little circles to fill an area with one color or to blend a few colors together. You can vary how big or small the overlapping circles are to create rough, playful textures or a very smooth and subtle color.


Burnishing is a technique where you draw with heavy pressure to create a smooth, waxy surface by adding layers and blending until no paper tooth shows through and the colors are blended together. To practice this technique, you could use a colorless blender (if you have one!) or any colored pencil—either way, a blunt tip is best. You can burnish with a lighter color, a darker color, a white colored pencil, or even the same base color. But for this technique, it’s more common to burnish with a lighter color over the base color. You should burnish after there are a couple of layers of color on your paper, when you’re just about finished with your coloring page. Keep in mind: It can be harder to add color after you’ve burnished because the paper is smoother with less tooth—so do this technique towards the end!

Using a mixture of these colored pencil techniques, you can end up with a really beautiful piece of art!


Have you tried any of these techniques? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!

Tags: Katie Vaz, Tips & Techniques