When rendering flesh in portraiture, colored pencil tends to produce a dotty or granular texture (see illustration). Is there a way this effect can be minimized?
A. The short answer is yes, by using a smooth or hot-pressed paper instead of the medium-grained paper that is generally used with this medium. The downside here is that the color result tends to appear weaker. Despite this weakness some artists manage to produce stunning results. If smooth paper and truly sedate color is not for you, here are a few more options: 1.Try less waxy pencil brands–Derwent is a drier wax-based pencil; or try harder leads, or oil-based pencils. (Oil-based pencils have the added benefit in portraiture of being slightly smudgeable.) 2. If you don’t want to give up the buttery quality of waxy pencils then select a paper that is less textured, (but still not smooth) such as Stonehenge. 3. Apply strokes in one direction rather than back and forth (which increases grain). 4. Keep your pencil tip very sharp in the flesh areas to minimize grain. Slowing helps too. 5. I’ve heard of yet another way, but have not personally experimented with it. It’s simple–first burn