How to Get SUPER BRIGHT WHITE + Fine Details (Artist Hacks)

Wanna learn some cool art hacks for getting super bright white and fine details into your coloured pencil drawings?

Look no further!

Over the years I’ve learnt about some awesome tools and useful tips for achieving those all important fine details that help make coloured pencil drawings pop.

As with all my coloured pencil tips, these are just what I personally love to do and I love the effect created using these tips and tools… have fun experimenting and make your art your own!

 

White Gel Pen

LITERALLY CHANGED MY LIFE. Eugh. Before discovering this hack I was using Tipex. Yes, TIPEX. It was kind of effective, but tricky to use, often messy, and I couldn’t get the precision I wanted. I also tried using white paint once… did not go well.

If you’re in the U.K. (apologies I’m not sure of suppliers in other countries), single white gel pens are readily available very cheap in many stores. You don’t need anything fancy or branded. I get mine from The Range for £1 each.

I draw a lot of portraits, and I use the white gel pen for glistens in eyes all the time. It really helps make the eyes pop and the portrait come to life.

 

White Watercolour Pencil

I’ve struggled to find a bright white coloured pencil. The Caran D’Ache white Luminence is the best I’ve found so far, it’s still not quite bright enough for me. Then I found out about using a white watercolour pencil, and now regularly use the Caran D’Ache Museum Aquaelle White Watercolour Pencil.

It has a slightly different effect than the white gel pen. I used the watercolour pencil on this tiger drawing for the bright white parts of the fur after I had done all my layers:

 

Slice Manual Pen Cutter

This tool was a definite game changer, especially for my coloured pencil portraits. I love this product – there are alternatives that achieve a similar effect so might be worth researching or asking other artists you like what they use… this is just what I personally use and love!

I use Pastelmat paper which is pretty thick so it doesn’t damage the surface at all. This works best on white paper, obviously, if you want bright white details. I still use it when drawing on coloured paper, when I want fine details that match the colour of paper I’ve chosen.

Here I’ve used my Slice Manual Pen Cutter for fine white fur detail on this portrait on white Pastelmat paper:

 

 

My TOP TIPS:

Be very scarce with these super fine and bright white details, try not to go overboard as I’ve found this can make things look a bit flat (same goes for using too much solid black)

These fine details are best applied at the end, as finishing touches when everything else is completed and the tones and colours are built up nicely

The white gel pen and watercolour pencil work really well for tiny glistens in eyes especially, and as final touches for light reflections on subjects with a shiny surface

I always try and achieve the look I want with just the pencils first, and avoid relying on the tools – I think of them as a last resort and aid to add that extra final touch 👌

Happy experimenting!

Alice x