The Ultimate Guide to Organizing and Sorting Colored Pencils Like a Pro

I love drawing with colored pencils! They're versatile, vibrant, and a staple in every artist's toolbox.

But with great color comes great responsibility... to keep them organized! In my experience, having a solid system in place not only saves time but also makes the creative process smoother and more enjoyable.

In this article, I'll share my tried and true methods for organizing and storing your beloved colored pencils, so you can focus on creating masterpieces.

How to Organize Colored Pencils?

Step 1: Gather all your colored pencils

First things first, let's round up those stray pencils! Gather every single colored pencil you own and place them on a clean, flat surface. It's essential to see what you're working with before diving into the sorting process.

Step 2: Sort your colored pencils by color and brand

Now that you have all your pencils in one place, it's time to sort them. I find it helpful to sort them by both color and brand. Not only does this make it easier to find the right pencil when you need it, but it also helps you identify any duplicates or gaps in your collection.

Step 3: Decide on your organization system

There's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to organizing colored pencils. It's essential to find a system that works for you and your creative process. I love organizing my pencils in a color wheel because it's visually appealing and makes it easy to see complementary colors. But don't worry, we'll explore other options later in this article.

Step 4: Label your storage system

This might sound like overkill, but trust me, labeling your storage system is a game-changer. Not only does it help you find the right pencil quickly, but it also ensures that your pencils make their way back to their designated spot after each use. You can use simple sticky labels or get creative with a label maker.

Step 5: Keep your colored pencils clean

Keeping your colored pencils clean is essential for maintaining their longevity and ensuring vibrant colors. Gently wipe them with a soft cloth to remove any dust or grime that may have accumulated. And always remember to clean your workspace after a creative session - a clean space is an organized space!

Organizing and Sorting Your Colored Pencils by Color

Sorting your colored pencils by color has numerous benefits, such as making it easier to find the right shade, creating visually appealing storage, and helping you identify complementary colors for your artwork.

The Color Wheel Method

My favorite way to sort colored pencils is by arranging them in a color wheel. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Start with your reds and move through the spectrum in this order: oranges, yellows, greens, blues, and finally, purples.

  2. Within each color group, arrange the shades from lightest to darkest. This creates a beautiful gradient effect that's not only visually pleasing but also practical when looking for specific shades.

Other Ways to Sort by Color

There's more than one way to organize your colored pencils by color. Here are a few alternative methods you can try:

  • Sort by color intensity: Group colors by their lightness or darkness. This can help you quickly find the right value for your artwork.

  • Sort by warm and cool tones: Group colors by their warm (reds, oranges, yellows) or cool (blues, greens, purples) tones. This method can help you create harmony and balance in your artwork.

  • Sort by color families: Group colors that are closely related, such as pastels, earth tones, or bright colors. This can make it easier to locate specific color schemes for your projects.

  • Sort by color scheme: Group colors that are complementary or analogous to each other for easy reference when creating artwork. This can save you time and help you make better color choices in your art.

More Ways to Sort Colored Pencils

While sorting by color is a popular and effective method, there are other ways to organize your colored pencils that might better suit your needs:

  • By size: Separate regular-sized pencils from jumbo or mini-sized pencils. This can help you quickly locate the right pencil for your project and keep your collection neat.

  • By age: Separate older or more used pencils from newer or less used pencils. This can help you keep track of which pencils need replacing and ensure you use up your older supplies before you start using the new ones.

  • By project: Create separate groups of pencils for specific projects or commissions. This can help you stay organized and focused on the task at hand.

  • By condition: Separate pencils that are sharpened and ready for use from those that need sharpening or are dull. This can save you time and frustration when you're in the middle of a creative session.

Remember, the key is to find an organizational system that works for you and your creative process. Don't be afraid to experiment with different methods until you find the one that feels right!

Storage Ideas for Your Colored Pencils

Now that you've got your colored pencils sorted, it's time to find the perfect storage solution. Here are some options to consider:

1. Pencil cases

Portable, easy to access, and available in various sizes and designs, pencil cases are a classic and convenient way to store your colored pencils. Look for cases with individual slots for each pencil to keep them secure and organized.

2. Pencil rolls

A pencil roll is another portable storage option that can be rolled up and secured with a tie or elastic band. They're perfect for artists on the go or those with limited storage space.

3. Caddies

A caddy is a container with multiple compartments that can hold pencils and other art supplies. They're ideal for keeping your pencils organized and easy to access while also providing storage for additional materials.

4. Tins

Metal tins with hinged lids can be used to store colored pencils and keep them protected from dust and damage. Many pencil sets come in tins, but you can also repurpose tins from other products or purchase empty ones.

5. Folders

A folder with pockets can hold colored pencils, making it especially useful for travel or on-the-go artists. Look for folders with clear pockets, so you can easily see the colors inside.

6. Jars

Mason jars, glass jars, or plastic jars can be used to group colored pencils by color or brand and labeled accordingly. They're a simple and aesthetically pleasing way to display your collection while keeping it organized.

7. Trays

Trays with compartments can be labeled with the color or brand of pencils they contain, keeping your pencils organized and easy to access. You can find trays specifically designed for colored pencils, or repurpose a tray from another product.

8. Magnetic strips

A magnetic strip mounted on a wall or surface can hold metal containers or tins with colored pencils. This is a space-saving and visually appealing option for artists with limited storage space or those who want to display their collection.

9. Custom-made storage

If you have specific storage needs or a large collection, consider creating a customized storage solution, such as building shelves or drawers that fit your colored pencil collection perfectly. This way, you can create a storage system that's tailored to your needs and preferences.

10. Cutlery trays

I like to repurpose cutlery trays as a storage solution for my colored pencils. The compartments designed for forks, knives, and spoons can easily accommodate pencils, keeping them organized and accessible. Look for trays with adjustable dividers to customize the space for your collection and make sure the compartments are long enough for your colored pencils.

When choosing a storage option, consider factors such as portability, accessibility, space requirements, and aesthetics. It's essential to find a storage solution that not only keeps your colored pencils organized but also enhances your creative space and workflow.

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