One of our members Julia sent in this great question:

“I’m having trouble choosing which colours to use. When you are drawing, you have all the pencils next to you which you want to use in that particular drawing. I am wondering if you know a programme or app with a good colour picker that gives the name of the colour to use when you click on a part of the reference photo. I found for example: Artist Grid/Posterize, that give the RGB colour, but not a name and example colour like you always do. Please sir, can you give me some advise about this.”

Thanks Julia for the question. There is no simple answer to this. It is a question of looking at the colour on the reference picture then working out how best to build the base colours so that you reach as close to the colour you see in the picture. This is made more difficult because the colour of the pastel paper will also play a role in developing the final colour.

The best way to approach this when you are new to the pastel pencil medium is take the time to practice building up different colours on spare pastel paper first (I still do this from time to time).

A good tip that will help is to use the minimum amount of pencils you can as this helps to keep the colours from becoming muddy. With experience you would soon get to know the colours and how to achieve the right tones and what pastel pencil colours work together. I really don’t think an app would help with this problem it might even bring more confusion into the process.