Beginner’s Colour Pencil Tutorial – Pear

This is an excellent project for a beginner colour pencil artist. The simple shape is very forgiving,  and the shading and texture does not need to be perfect to make a good-looking final product.  This drawing only uses 7 pencils and uses odorless mineral spirit to blend.

Reference Photo.


I used Polychromos pencils:

  • May Green
  • Permanent Green Olive
  • Van Dyke Brown
  • Nougat
  • Payne’s grey
  • Warm Grey II
  • White

If you wish to use Prismacolor pencils ( I find them to be a little more difficult to control with the solvent, they will spread VERY easily…  but will give a slightly more vibrant result. )

  • Lime Peel
  • Olive Green
  • Light Umber
  • Sepia
  • Warm Grey 90%
  • Warm Grey 30%
  • White

Step 1.

Transfer the image to your paper.  If you feel confident, you can use a light graphite pencil to draw out the outline directly onto your paper, but be careful not to erase too heavily! We need to take care of the paper surface and excessive erasing can damage the tooth of the paper, or leave unsightly marks.

I like to draw out my pieces on sketchbook paper, then use transfer paper to put my final drawing onto my good paper. However, if you are not as confident in your drawing skills and you just want to get to the good stuff, you can use this line drawing to trace. Whichever method you choose, try to keep your line work as light as possible, so you don’t see the graphite in your final image.

Don’t worry too much about the line drawing. The pear is a simple shape that does not need to be perfectly drawn to create a good finished drawing. All pears are different, no one will know if yours is a little wonky! 


Step 2. Use the white pencil to lightly colour the area of highlight. This will keep your highlight nice and bright , and safe from accidental colouring with your greens.

Step 3. Give the pear a light layer of May Green. With a sharpened pencil and holding the pencil away from the tip, create a light layer over the main area, avoiding the highlighted areas. When complete this area will look patchy and there will be patches of white paper showing through. We will use the thinners to fill in these areas later.

Step 4.  Define the areas of shadow with Permanent Olive green. Following the reference photo carefully, use the darker green pencil to start to define the shadows. The darkest areas are at the base of the pear, and to the right hand side.

Switching a reference photo to B&W can sometimes make it easier to see subtle differences is value and makes identifying these shadowed areas easier.



Step 5. Add the major brown blemishes, especially around the stem.

Step 6Blend colours using Odorless mineral spirits. Use a soft brush, and blot some of the thinners off your brush before starting to blend, make small circular motions to push the pigment into the pits of the paper

Step 7. Add shadow to the base while waiting for the thinners to dry. The lighter area of the shadow is created by using a feather light touch of the light grey pencil on the paper

Step 8 When Thinners are dry, add another layer of the greens all over the pear, this time you can start to blend into the white highlight a little, so it is not too separate from the rest of the pear. The White pencil you used on the first step should protect your highlight from being darkened too much.

Step 9 Blend, but this time using much less thinner on your brush, the brush must be quite dry, as too much thinner now will start to lift colour from your paper!! You only need the slightest bit of moisture in the brush. Since we already covered the paper with a base layer, we only need to move the top layer of pencil, and it takes very little solvent to achieve this.

Step 10. Colour the Lights and shadows on stem, colouring in the direction of the texture of the stem. and blend using thinners

Step 11. Deepen shadows and start to add textures to the skin. Try to keep the small brown blemishes as random as you can; it can be easy to accidental create unintentional patterns, so pay attention as you work. Areas in shadow can be marked with darker spots, highlighted areas should only have very small/light spots.

Step 12. Add a slight halo around your blemishes using the darker green. Then  lightly blend the blemishes into the skin with very dry brush. This is simply to soften the look of the blemishes, so only a very light touch with the brush is needed.

Step 13. Assess your piece. Check shadows and sharpen a few  blemishes. Now is the time to step back a little and look for ways in which you think your piece can be improved. When you feel you have done all you can, You’re all done!!



6 thoughts on “Beginner’s Colour Pencil Tutorial – Pear

  1. Lesleigh R Hershkowitz

    I am new to color pencils and am enrolled in quite a few Craftsy courses. There are ever so many things to learn before I will actually get to render drawings. Cassandra, I love these simple beginner’s projects because it’s a meaningful rendering that gives practice. Yesterday, I “did” your pear three times-and have plans to “do” it again today. It gives me wonderful practice holding the pencil in th correct way and getting even strokes. If I feel brave enough, I will try the second fruit which looks like an apricot.
    I have dreams of rendering animals with fur, but an exciting fruit to draw would be a kiwi because of the hair like projections on the skin. A cross-section would also be interesting. A dragon fruit would also be exciting to me because of the texture.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lesleigh R Hershkowitz

    Hi Cassandra! I’m not sure if my response to your note got through. I can’t seem to locate Fabrioni paper. On your video, you show that it is sturdy and it has texture. Can you perhaps describe it a little more-for example, is it hot or cold press? Is it “mixed media” or water color? I have Ben experimenting with various papers, and today, I tried out Strathmore 300 with a vellum surface.. . One of my Craftsy instructors advocates it’s use for Faber Polychromos-yet it says on the cover of the tablet, it’s intended use is dry media.
    So far, I have loved all the renderings I have done on your pear project, be it on Canson Mixed Media or Canson Watercolor, or cheap student paper-which is smooth, and I like the results, but there is thinner bleed through. Perhaps I used to much thinner.
    If you could tell me a little more about Fabrioni, I would appreciate it.
    Once again, thank you for taking the time to make these tutorials. In this mad world we live in, this is such a wonderful, peaceful, meaningful escape.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cassandrahanleyart Post author

      the specific paper that I used in this project is called Fabriano Accademia natural grain 200gsm paper ( not the 140gsm sold in pads) It is a sturdy cardboard like paper, best used with dry mediums like graphite or charcoal. It does not hold up well to even the slightest amount of water, however it seems to have no problem handling the odorless thinners, drying quickly with no change to the paper surface at all! It has a medium tooth to it, definitely more than your standard hot pressed watercolour paper, but not to rough to make coverage difficult. The best thing about this paper is that it is reasonably inexpensive, so you can practice a lot without feeling like you’re wasting something expensive. here is a link to the Fabriano site so you can have a look for yourself


  3. Lesleigh R Hershkowitz

    Thank you for the link but it seems as if distribution is limited to Europe-and I didn’t see prices. From the description so far, it sounds as if the Wexford paper (the cheapest I am using and distributed by Wal-Mart) matches the description. In the mean time, all the papers I have tried so far work. For me, it’s also a matter of practice. In the beginning, I think I was using too much thinner. Every day, my skills improve-and that’s important to take into account as well.
    Yesterday, I also tried a Derwent blending pencil for the first time: it’s not as fast as using a solvent, but I’m sure it has its uses. Do you have any advice about using it?
    Today, I am opening my Polychromos pencils and trying it side by side against the Prismacolor. I tried the Bristol Vellum for the first time and I like it, but it definitely has a tooth. I had to work a little extra with layering and really working the solvent to blend it, but it’s a lovely paper to work with.
    Before I sign off today, I have a question about white pencils. No kidding-it truly is resistant to blending once it goes down first! My question is, if I wanted to lighten a darker pigment, would I lay that down first, then apply white and blend?
    Thank you for your help: I appreciate it so much!


  4. juliscalzi

    Thank you so much for the clear and easy to follow tutorial. I’m a very beginner and used what I had – KOH-1 Noor Hardtmuth water color pencils. I don’t have the solvent you used, so used water and the end result came out o.k.! I will do this tutorial again when I’m able to buy the solvent. Looking forward to doing your other tutorials! Thank you!



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