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Basic techniques with Goldfaber

  • Everybody 
  • 30 min
What you need:

Colour pencils Goldfaber

Goldfaber: quality makes the difference

The Goldfaber colour pencil is an classic drawing pencil. But what makes it so special? The answer is simple: the quality of the resources that Faber-Castell uses.

This starts with the wood that encases the lead. You wouldn't want to get annoyed because it is hard to sharpen the pencil, which is exactly why we use wood with long fibres that is as knot-free and evenly grown as possible to ensure clean and easy sharpening. Less shavings mean you get to enjoy your colour pencil for longer.

The centrepiece of every colour pencil is the lead. The Goldfaber lead consists of highquality pigments which, combined with wax as an impregnating agent, lend the pencil its soft and intensive stroke. We take the time to finely grind and mix the components for the lead to ensure the best quality. You would like to draw and we provide you with the ideal medium: with components of highest purity and quality, optimum opacity, rich colours and good light fastness.

The effect of colour

A drawing is made up of multiple factors: number of colours, colour intensity, contrast, composition, proportions – in short, a very complex system. But don't worry, it's up to you how complex the creation of your drawing will be. It will help you to learn about colour harmonies and to understand about the interplay of colours. A good exercise for this is to draw the same picture using a different number of colours.
Drawing with one colour: orange
For a simple colour harmony, only use one colour at first. To lighten it use white, and black for darkening. Pay attention to good contrasts to avoid the drawing being overly two-dimensional.
Drawing with two colours: orange + turquoise
Choose a second colour and draw the same picture with these two colours as well as mixtures of them. As you will see, the mixed tones create a fresher look.
Drawing with three colours: orange + turquoise + violet
Choose a third colour and draw the picture once more. Mixing three colours requires practice, so you should use the third colour sparingly.

Did you know

In contrast to a pencil's lead, which is burned, the firmness of Goldfaber colour pencils' leads is achieved in a drying process.

The right paper

You have probably been there: standing in front of the shelf with drawing pads asking yourself which paper might be best for your project. Unfortunately, there is no definite recommendation as the choice of paper depends on your personal drawing style and plan. Various ranges of grain sizes and textures influence the stroke and thus the picture's character. Nevertheless, we have a few tips to help you make your choice.


Good to know: High-quality drawing paper is characterised by a higher grammage, first-class raw material composition as well as good acid and ageing resistance.

Smooth paper, white
Hot press paper is very smooth ensuring clearly defined lines as well as homogenous coloured areas and is suitable for detailed, precise drawings.
Coarsely grained paper, natural white
Cold press paper has a finely to coarsely grained surface, which breaks lines and areas creating a loose pencil stroke.
Coloured paper
Also experiment with coloured paper. The brilliance of the Goldfaber colour pencils comes into its own on dark paper.

Darken and Brigthen

Of course you can use black to darken a colour. Try using the corresponding complementary colour to do this, too. On the colour wheel, this is the colour opposite the colour you chose. In the example depicted, blue and orange are opposite each other. When you layer these two colours over each other, you get a shade of grey. You can vary the shade of grey by adjusting the ratio of the two colours.

Overlaying a colour with white is a great way to lighten the colour. Likewise, you can also try using other brighter shades. Depending on the shade used, the colour that has been overlaid will get a warm or cool character.


Did you know?
Complementary colours put next to each other enhance each other’s colour effect. So, for example, orange makes blue shine when used next to it.

Colour mixing

You naturally pick up a green colour pencil to draw a green area. This is absolutely fine, since there already are beautiful shades of green in the Goldfaber colour range. However, if you want to make the most of the Goldfaber colour pencils' diversity, take the time to see how differentiated the tones can be, which you can mix with the different shades of blue and yellow. Even the order in which the colours are painted over each other is important; for example, overlaying yellow on blue will result in a different shade than blue on yellow.


Good to know: Bright colours, such as yellow, are more transparent than dark colours. Therefore, bright colours do not cover as well as dark colours.

Another variable when it comes to colour design is the intensity of the colour overlay. But be careful: an overly thick layer of colour can seal off the paper surface, thus preventing the application of further colours. This is particularly tricky when laying several colours on top of each other. It requires practice, but it's well worth experimenting with your own nuances of colour. To finish off, you can use the topmost colour to give the overall shade a cool (bluish) or a warm (reddish) touch.


You'll be amazed at the wealth of expressive possibilities the following hatching techniques have in store for you!
In a drawing, hatching defines the lighting conditions and gives objects a three-dimensional look. Hatching lets you quickly develop your own "signature" because, in reality, every person hatches differently. The more you practice different line distances, vary the pressure you apply and give overlays a try, the sooner your efforts will be rewarded with an increasingly confident stroke.
steep inclination = thin lines
flat inclination = broader liner

We are showing you how to do parallel and cross-hatching. For both techniques, you need to hold the pencil at a steeper angle. The inclination determines whether lines are drawn finely and precisely or broader.

Parallel Hatching

As the name suggests, this hatching technique involves drawing lines parallel to each other and at the same angle. This might not sound very exciting, but the range of hatching possible through length of stroke and applied pressure alone is astonishing.
All-over hatching doesn't give the effect of depth - Closely applied hatching makes areas appear denser - Short hatching strokes with overlay create depth
Start by using one colour and applying even pressure. Hold the pencil upright and draw parallel lines in the same direction on the paper. The closer the lines are to each other, the darker the area appears. Drawing short hatching lines creates overlaps that boost the contrast between light and dark. Overlaying hatching strokes causes these areas to appear denser.

Cross Hatching

You will like cross-hatching as it allows a looser, more spontaneous stroke that doesn't have to be perfect.
Start with one colour and overlay hatching at different angles. Observe the impression of depth created by looser and denser crosshatching. Altering the density and length of the lines results in different tones.
Drawing with multi-colour cross-hatching is much more challenging. Here, the shades will visually blend into a nuanced play of colours. Don't use too many colours to start with, but increase the number bit by bit.

With time, you will develop a hatching style only you are able to master! Using a looser stroke enables you to boldly merge different hatching techniques creating extravagant looks.

When viewed from a distance, hatchings intense and dark the colour appears. visually merge into colour areas. The closer the lines are to each other, the more intense and dark the colour appears.

The pressure you apply to the colour pencil determines the intensity of the colour application


Shading is ideal to create beautiful, extensive colour gradients as you apply the colours layer by layer and are always able to adjust if the gradient isn't quite right yet. Unlike hatching, you hold the pencil in a very flat position so that the entire lead surface is used. This results in a homogeneous colour application.


With shading you can try out a simple drawing technique: frottage. Place a sheet of paper on a textured surface. This can be a coarsegrained wood, a metal grate, a textured linen or a porous crock. When you shade subsequently, the texture will be transferred onto the paper, creating a beautiful pattern.


The last time you tried the sgraffito technique was probably during your childhood using wax crayons. But sgraffito is also an interesting way of using coloured pencils.


Here's how it works: the first step involves completely covering one colour with another. Ideally, the underlying colour should be brighter than the upper colour. Then carefully scratch out lines and areas from the upper layer using a knife. And just like that, you have magically created beautiful contrasts and patterns!

Little tricks

Use the techniques creatively!
Drawing beyond the paper edge

Paper edges and stencils

You can use a sheet of paper to help you to draw patterns. By drawing short lines over the paper edge you can create stubble fields, grass or abstract structures and patterns.
Shading over embossed paper

Embossed paper

Embossing paper is a charming technique. Prior to drawing, emboss patterns or lines into the surface of the paper with an embossing stick or blunt needle. These lower-lying lines remain white when drawing on the paper and create a beautiful contrast to your drawing.
Spread the colour with a brush and baby oil

Baby oil

This is genius! Goldfaber colours can be dissolved with paraffin oil (baby oil) for extensive painting. This enables you to create extravagant backgrounds to continue drawing on once they have fully dried.


Usually, an eraser helps to correct mistakes. Why not use it in a completely different way? Place one or two sheets of paper onto your drawing and gently use the eraser in the gap between them to create brighter lines or areas, which has a great effect on the entire picture. By using stencils you can create even more sophisticated looks.
The sanding board features two sandpapers of different grain: one is fine, the other coarser enabling you to rub off pigments of different sizes.
Using a knife, scalpel or sanding board you can quickly create beautiful patterns in your picture. Scrape some pigment off the tip of your pencil directly onto your drawing and spread it with a wiper or finger to create dramatic effects. This is an ideal technique to effortlessly create patterns or larger colour areas.

Combining strong techniques

The drawing techniques we have presented offer endless possibilities for creating extravagant pictures. If you are looking for even more room for variation and you love
mixed media pictures, experiment with exciting combinations of other materials and tools from the Creative Studio range. You could, for example, use the Pitt Artist Pen with waterproof ink for preliminary sketching. The interplay of soft and oil pastels with the Goldfaber drawing pencil also delivers great results.