Note: This blog post and brush set was originally created by Michelle Li

No more lazy days of summer if you’re a student or teacher. It’s time for you to go back to school. To help you get in the mood (if that’s possible), we created a special set of colored pencil brushes you can download and install that will get you back to the basics.

Using colored pencils takes a bit of practice — go big on the color when you practice.

Download the Free Brush Set

Simply download the Colored Pencils Brush Set for SketchBook and install it in the app, and you’ll always have a big batch of colored pencils on hand. We’ve created 25 brushes for you that represent a whole lot of different colors, including a white pencil for highlights and a colorless blender for smudging and smearing. While colored pencils are much more precise than basic art supplies like crayons, they aren’t completely clinical and one-note. They should have a little bit of texture to them, so we’ve made sure each of these 25 brushes have some slight variations.

Don’t forget you can change your background color, quickly choose complementary colors, and even add textured backgrounds.

Stretching Yourself with Colored Pencils

Do you remember drawing with colored pencils? What kind of things did you draw? This is a great opportunity for you to reconnect with the humble but noble colored pencil. Try these techniques:

  • Contrast your shading: Give yourself a refresher on shading by trying to shade using two contrasting or even complementary colors. One neat trick in SketchBook that you may not be aware of: When you choose any Copic Color, you’ll see a "Complementary Copic Color" suggested at the bottom of the Copic Library window.
  • Toned paper: Your background doesn’t have to be white. In fact, we remember drawing with colored pencils on colored paper, which taught us a thing or two about color. On the Background layer of your SketchBook file, you’ll see a white circle. Click on that to quickly choose a new background color.
  • Textured backgrounds: We remember placing our sheet of paper on books or tables or things that had texture to them, which would "indent" the paper a bit so that the texture showed though. You can do that in SketchBook by importing a texture and playing with its opacity or by trying out different Layer Styles. Don’t want any texture at all? Use that colorless blender to smooth it all out.
  • Banish extremes: Try not to use black and white at all. It’s tempting to always use white for highlights, but with colored pencils you have tons of colors to choose instead. Use pink or light blue or yellow for highlights or dark blues or purples instead of the standard black and white.

Installing the Brush Set

Being able to share and install these weekly free brush sets in the desktop app is one of the features for SketchBook subscribers. If you’re using the latest desktop version of SketchBook, simply double click on the .skbrushes file, and it will automatically install.