Tips for Using the Indenting Technique in Your Coloured Pencil Drawings

Jan 24, 2022
How to Use the Indenting Technique - Bonny Snowdon Academy

This week, I wanted to share a useful technique that you can introduce into your coloured pencil drawings to bring a strong sense of realism to your artwork. The technique is called indenting, and is absolutely brilliant for creating lifelike fur and features. 

When I use the indenting technique, I use an embossing tool and a wooden clay making tool. The embossing tool has a much sharper point, with it being metal, whereas the wooden tool takes a softer approach. However, you don't need any fancy equipment to start using the indenting technique, anything with a sharp edge will do. 

I start by drawing the texture of the fur onto the paper with these tools before adding any colour, which creates (you might have guessed it!) indentations on the paper. When you come to bring coloured pencil in over the top, the pencil skips over the marks that the indenting tools have created, and leave you with the impression of real fur. 

Now, you have to be careful to get the pressure right. Think Goldilocks; not too hard, not too soft. You want to avoid creating really heavy indentations in the paper, while still applying enough pressure to ensure that the lines you've created will be visible after your coloured pencil has been added on top. 

And, if you're wondering whether or not less is more, in this case, I say more is more. If you're too cautious and add in too few hairs, your drawing can begin to look a little sporadic and you'll lose the realism you've been working towards. Whereas, if you choose get really enthusiastic about it and add in lots of little hair-like marks, it creates a much better end result. 

Then, when you've got all of your indents in and are feeling happy, you're ready to start adding colour! 

Now, I will admit that the indenting technique can be a little bit messy and it's definitely not one of my favourite techniques, the reason being that you've got to do an awful lot of preparation before you even touch coloured pencil to paper. And, you do feel a little in the dark to begin with, as you're making marks but have no real idea of how the drawing will look until much later. However, it is an incredibly rewarding technique, and once you've started to add in colour and can see the difference those little lines makes to your drawing, it certainly does feel worth it!  

To get a better idea of how to use the indenting technique, and watch me putting it into practice on one of my tutorials, give the video above a watch. And, if you decide to give the indenting technique a go, don't forget to tag me in your photos on social media. I'd love to see how you get on!


Ignite by Bonny Snowdon the ultimate membership for those wanting to improve their Coloured Pencil Skills, increase their confidence and realise their dreams!


Sign up below to join the Ignite Waitlist

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.