Coloured Pencil Teacups

May 4, 2022 | 10 Comments

I thought it would be good to do a separate article recording my teacup sketching experiments with coloured pencils.

I’ve mentioned previously that there is no way I can translate the techniques I use for watercolour to pencils (CPs) when it comes to teacups.

I love working wet-on-wet with loose suggestive strokes when painting, but with CPs I’m ending up being more descriptive with the details. I have no desire to do painstakingly accurate details so even though these cups are much neater than my usual work they are still far from perfect!

I’m not sure how to handle the large areas – such as the tea shape and big shadow areas (particularly on a plainer cup).

However, I’m enjoying trying different colours in the areas of shade (form shadow). Here are closeups of two different cup sketches.

And these teacup sketches are taking longer to complete than my watercolour version. To prove this…this is as far as I got while drinking my tea last night.  It’s completely out of character not to finish a teacup sketch in one sitting and before I’ve finished drinking the 2-3 cups that I get out of one teapot’s worth of tea.

This is the final version finished this morning. I could still add a little more to this! 🙂

Here are the rest of my teacup sketches in the last few weeks.

These coloured pencil teacups sketches have been really fun to do, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to watercolour!

Those of you who receive my monthly newsletter will have read last night that I’m about to go on a two-week sketching trip.

As I’ve only got two different locations and the weather forecast includes a fair bit of rain I’m thinking about taking one or two teacups with me. But how could I possibly decide on which ones???


  • Barry Webb says:

    I love it! Love it! Love it! I do a lot of work with colored pencils so I’m thrilled that you are using them in your weekly post. The teacups are amazing!!!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Barry! thanks for your comments and it’s great to find other people who are CP fans too!!!

  • Karen Isenhower says:

    Your colored-pencil teacups are delightful! It’s fascinating to see how much depth and clarity you can get with colored pencils. I have to admit, however, that I miss your watercolor teacups. So I look forward to seeing what you do next.

    If I had to pick only one from this page, it would be the 4th one from the bottom, with the pink flowers and the turquoise saucer. It looks cheerful! Have a wonderful trip!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Karen!!! Interesting that your favourite cup is one that was easier to do in CPs than it is in watercolour. I haven’t yet done a watercolour version of it that I’m happy with 🙂

      • Janet Bower says:

        They work really well. CPs and watercolour are my favourite mediums. I also enjoy using a fountain pen with water soluble ink and a waterbrush to move the ink around.
        I love the second from the bottom. The rich blue is wonderful – but then, I’m a fan of blue Spode pottery which it resembles!

      • Liz Steel says:

        Thanks Janet. Yes WC and CP are a wonderful combo and yes I love Spode pottery as well.

  • Kate says:

    Totally understandable how much quicker your wc teacups are for you, and they are magical, but these colored pencil teacups are awfully special as well! I’m enjoying seeing how you are being more detailed as is the nature of pencil, due to it’s small line… I wonder what color sticks, those larger blocks of medium would be like for you? They would cover areas quicker, and be more loose I imagine. I’m not sure that cp medium comes in that form… like inktense or wc blocks. So many possibilities! So enjoying your cp exploration, Liz!

  • Kate says:

    I forgot… I have some colored pencils that are solid leads in the shape of pencils… can’t remember what brand. If I let the tips go dull and not sharpen them, they would be a solid pencil sized mass of cp pigment! Hmmmm.

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