Here’s Why I Cataloged My Colored Pencils - Cecilie Okada Design

Here’s Why I Cataloged My Colored Pencils

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Colored pencils do a great job of enhancing a watercolor painting. In most of my watercolor tutorials, I use this technique. But chances are, you don’t have the exact same colored pencils as I do. For this reason, I usually give just an indication as to what colors to use. My dark red is probably not the same as yours.

Still, it can be helpful for you to see the exact colors I used in a tutorial. You can then look for the closest match among your own colored pencils. 

The color charts follow at the end of this article. If you are a member, check your newsletter for a PDF with the charts. If you are not yet a member, please sign up and you can download a free PDF with all the color charts in One Tree Art Club.

Sorting through the mess

The other day, I was inspired to do a thorough clean-up of my collection of colored pencils. Finally! 25 years of collecting them have yielded a substantial variety of colors. But these days, I’m often confused about finding the right colors when I’m painting. It’s because I have adapted the collection to a small studio space…but not in a very useful way. 

Rummaging for the right colors in the middle of artwork, and not finding them, is bad news for creativity. It hampers a free-flowing process. 

In the past, when I had a big studio, that was never a problem. I kept my colored pencils organized in containers and spread them out when I was working. It was a handy solution. But my new compact solution became messy. Many doubles, and important colors stored away. 

Creativity boost with well-organized colored pencils

I’m very pleased with the result of the clean-up. Now, I can look at the little chart tucked into each glass, and decide what colors are best suited for my watercolor. All possible color variations are there at my fingertips. 

Most importantly, I can give you exact directions for each tutorial. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the colors. You can use similar colors from your own assortment. 

How the color charts work

My collection consists of Derwent and Faber-Castell colored pencils. In-between, there are some other brands. Most are high-quality. A few are not; they are there for the color variation.  

Interestingly, colors are not always consistent across one brand. An old version of a particular color can be slightly different from a new one. In such cases, I include both. Because, the more variety, the better equipped. 

The same color name can look different from one brand to another. Derwent and Faber-Castell often use the same name for quite different colors. For this reason, giving you a color name is not all that useful.

Guiding you to look up the colors I have used makes much more sense. Then you can find a comparable color among your own colored pencils.

Download free line art & more

Download free PDF with colored pencils color chart. The One Tree Art Club has an extensive library of free line art to trace & more.  

What kind of sharpener should you use?

An electric sharpener is great, but I don’t have one. I go to the 100-yen (1 dollar) store and buy perfectly fine sharpeners. When one gets dull, I have another one at hand.

Back in Norway, I used to sharpen my colored pencils with a Stanley knife. It’s not the best way, so I’m grateful for the 100 yen stores in Japan. The glasses that I use to hold the colored pencils are from there too. They break easily but what the heck.  

The color charts 

I have written a letter next to each color name:

  • “D” means Derwent
  • “FC” means Faber Castell
  • “I” means a Japanese brand called Irojiten
  • “M’ means Mitsubishi
  • Some say “junior” because they don’t have any name 

The way I have lumped colors together doesn’t follow any standard color chart system. I put certain colors together because it makes sense to me. It’s based on how I use the color; how my own two eyes see them connected. 

Each group has a different number of colors. Again, it depends on how I see the colors connected to each other. 

Below are all the colors in my collection of colored pencils. Enjoy!

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