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The Colored Pencil: Key Concepts for Handling the Medium, Revised Edition Paperback – November 1, 1995

22 customer reviews

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You Can Draw!: Simple Techniques for Realistic Drawings by Leonardo Pereznieto
"You Can Draw Simple" by Leonardo Pereznieto
Artist and art instructor Leonardo Pereznieto brings his amazing skills to the page, teaching his drawing technique in 18 accessible, in-depth projects for beginning and seasoned artists alike. Learn more | See related books

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bet Borgeson is also the author of Colored Pencil Fast Techniques and Color Drawing Workshop. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill; Rev Upd edition (November 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823007499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823007493
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #574,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In the August, 1982 issue of American Artist magazine, artist and teacher Bet Borgeson wrote the first article in the U.S. on the techniques for using colored pencils as a fine art medium.

The following year Watson-Guptill Publications of N.Y. published her--and the colored pencil medium's--first book, "The Colored Pencil."

How this came about started after she graduated from Oregon's Portland State University. Although colored pencil as a fine art medium was not then generally familiar to the public Borgeson used it as her medium of choice and loved it. She began to exhibit artwork in various Pacific Northwest galleries and museums. But it became increasingly clear to her that its unique handling characteristics and potential were not well understood by other artists or the general public. Borgeson recalls, "I was standing near one of my pieces in a gallery and a visitor was telling her companion that she thought my artwork was a print or a watercolor! Colored Pencil was not even mentioned!" Since Borgeson was already teaching oil painting by this time, she decided that she should additionally be spreading the word about colored pencils.

To further explore the techniques of this medium and to devise new ways of using it, Bet Borgeson realized that she was going to have to find other artists who were using colored pencils. The manufacturer of Prismacolor colored pencils generously agreed to open their files to acquaint her with other artists using their brand of pencils. She began contacting these artists and others throughout the U. S. and after a three-year effort developed and organized many new and vital techniques for colored pencils. It also led to the publishing of her first book, "The Colored Pencil." This proved to be a groundbreaking book.

The wide and international distribution during this book's first year, a second book the following year plus a pivotal interview with her by Susan Stamberg of NPR's "All Things Considered" have since been credited with ushering in an explosion of new international interest and enthusiasm for colored pencils as a fine art medium.

After "The Colored Pencil" was published and while conducting art workshops around the US for the next 15 years, Borgeson wrote five additional titles.

Color Drawing Workshop,
Colored Pencil Fast Techniques,
The Colored Pencil, Revised & Updated Edition,
Colored Pencil for the Serious Beginner, and
Basic Colored Pencil Techniques.

At the present time fine art executed in colored pencil enjoys worldwide patronage by private and public collectors and institutions. In 1990 the Colored Pencil Society of America was formed and has celebrated their 20th Anniversary. There are also international groups devoted to colored pencil, and there are at least 70 books published in the US written by various accomplished artists who work in this medium.

Bet Borgeson resides on the coast of Southern California, and continues to work in her favorite medium. She occasionally teaches colored pencil workshops but in 1999 she began teaching colored pencil courses online at and continues working with students around the globe to this present day.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Linda A. Goin on January 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Borgeson's book, "The Colored Pencil" is a comprehensive step-by-step guide to this medium. The acceptance of colored pencil work is fairly new and just starting to boom in the greeting card market as well as in other venues. Although the use of this medium may seem fairly straightforward, Borgeson gives tips on how to master the techniques for the traditional market.
Tools and surfaces are covered, and a color wheel and a touch of color theory is included. Borgeson is fairly crisp with her reviews of these basics for the beginner, and these tools are also invaluable as a refresher for the pro. The book is clearly focused on illustration and commercial uses for colored pencil rather than fine art aspects.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Arenhaus on December 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
As an artist who works in colored pencil as one of preferred medium, I am not ashamed to state that I basically learnt my technique from this book (and lots of exercise, of course.) Ms. Borgeson provides in this book both primary techniques of color application, which instantly put colored pencil in the "painting" category with their rich color and texture possibilities - and "tricks" for getting various effects. Focused on painterly texture and color, but not shunning experimental things, this book is one of the best to get started in color pencils - and return to it over and over again for refreshment. You won't find step-by-step instructions of "how to draw a blue horse" in his book, but rather a variety of examples and principles on which to build a color pencil drawing.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Holly Ingraham on September 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
The original was good, the revised edition better. But don't turn down the first if you see it in the second-hand store! This book transformed my painting. Though I used pastels or acrylics for twenty-five years, I have not touched them since. It is the perfect media for a small apartment (zero mess) and an irregular schedule (the media doesn't dry out before you can get back to work, and the colors stay the same). Especially valuable because the artist shows how the paintings develop in layers, and how she judges and corrects them to fit her evolving ideas.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 1996
Format: Paperback
The Colored Pencil is clearly the most organized and
comprehensive summary of the medium's techniques and methods.
It offers all that is necessary to know in approaching its use.
My only dissapointment is the lack of a broader range of
example images. The drawings shown have a tendency to lean
toward the contrived and sentimental which would be fine if
the author also included some drawings that were more
experimental and intellectual. The spectacular work of
artist Ann McCoy (New York) comes immdiately to mind in this regard.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am very new to art on paper and am exploring all the different media available to me. I borrowed this book from the library to see if it was something I needed on my shelves and my considered opinion after reading it is I MUST HAVE A COPY OF MY OWN! The exercises are clear, instructions basic, explanations are concise and make sense and the book flows from one chapter to another. This is an excellent book for the person seeking to get an overall exposure to this medium.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Raven on April 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I'd been a sketcher all my life, but had been afraid to add color to my projects. What little experimenting I did do with colored pencils made me feel very awkward, and anxious. I felt I would mess my work up trying to master colored pencils. I didn't know all the techniques that existed in their use, or what one could accomplish with them.

Just recently, I found this book in our local library, and started reading it. I'm only half way through it at this moment, but it has already given me the courage to begin learning the basic techniques of working with colored pencils. I think it's an excellent book for beginners.

Although this book doesn't have alot of suggested exercises in each chapter, it doesn't take much imagination to know that one should try out the different techniques Borgeson writes about. In fact, her clear writing of the subject matter makes one WANT to try the techniques presented to them. She starts out with the basic materials, explaining what you will need to draw, and then she goes into different drawing techniques. Each chapter easily builds onto the last one giving a newbie a good foundation to start with, and then to expand.

My colored drawings, and confidence in using this medium have already gotten much better, and I'm having fun doing it!

I've already ordered my own copy of this book from the bookstore, and I've bought another one of her books that concentrates just on techniques. I'm looking forward to reading, and working with it as well.

Some things to drawing book is going to do the work for you. You must practice the techniques within them on your own whether the writer tells you to, or not. Practice and experimentation are the only ways to learn. This book, and working with colored pencils has certainly taught me this.

Thanks for reading!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Burton Houck on November 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought this book and 'Colored Pencil For The Serious Beginner' and I just didn't find them very helpful, though others certainly have. What I need is step-by-step exercises as I build my technique rather than examples and explainations and this book just didn't provide as many and at the depth I found elsewhere. The explainations were great, to be sure, but I have since found that things are explained much better (for me) in other publications. She has a particular style of work that is not so much photo-realistic as impressionist and maybe that is the reason it didn't suit me. I'm sure others will find it perfect for their style of learning.
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