A Colored Pencils Tutorial: How to Draw a Cupcake

Articles & Drawing Tutorials, Colored and Watercolor Pencils

With the greatest pleasure, I introduce you a new category of posts on my blog – colored pencils tutorials! 🙂 And for today, I have a drawing process for this yummy illustration:


To repeat this tutorial step-by-step, you will need:



  • pencils of beige color (light and medium tints);
  • warm colors like yellow and bright red;
  • greys (light and medium);
  • browns (medium and dark chocolate); 
  • cold reds (lighter rosy and darker raspberry red tints), and
  • violets (medium and dark).

Although these pencils on my image are aquarelle, I will use them only for “dry” technique drawing, without adding water or washing.

Applying strokes (the technique explanation)

Basically saying, there are two ways of adding color with pencils. The first is to leave clear and precise hatches; and the second – to apply soft, as if rubbing into the paper strokes. Here you can see the difference how it looks like: hatching-samplesMany beginners have questions regarding the second type of drawing. Everything is very simple! 🙂 You just need to take your pencil closer to the middle, so the pencil will be at a sharp angle to the paper, and relax your hand a bit. The strokes will become more uniform and blurry.


I recommend you using this soft and blurry manner of drawing when you deal with creamy, velvety and smooth textures – there are many of the examples in this illustration. It’s also great to apply a soft first layer of color and use sharper hatching at the top, blending tints of color.

You absolutely can vary the direction and character of your strokes. For example, below is a sample that I’ve made for the step 15 of this tutorial. It is perfect for creating darkening on the porous texture. hatching-sampleLet’s begin! 🙂 

  1. I start with a graphite underdrawing – to be sure what I am going to color. I recommend you reducing the visibility of your pencil strokes with a soft eraser. Graphite marks mixing with colored pencil strokes can cause appearing “dirty” tints. 1
  2. With the light beige color, I cover the cream area, and with the medium brown, I draw the cake itself.2
  3. I cover the wrapping of the cake with light grey.3
  4. With the dark brown I mark the folds of the wrapping and accent the shadows on the cake. Don’t press hard on your pencil at this step – now we don’t need much of dark colors 🙂4
  5. Let’s start with the strawberry. It is cut in half, and this half is bright at the sides and lighter towards the middle. I use raspberry cold red to draw it. 5
  6. With the light rosy color, I expand the hatches that were drawn at the previous step. The very center of the strawberry is a bit more bright – I accent it with soft rubbing strokes. 6
  7. With the raspberry red, I cover the cherry, leaving the highlighted area.7
  8. I use medium violet to draw the bilberries.8
  9. With the dark brown I draw the cinnamon sticks and the melted chocolate. 9
  10. I add light rosy color to the cream. 10
  11. With the medium beige, I add new color accents to the cream and the cake.11
  12. I think the cream needs some refining. With the medium grey, I mark the shady areas and accentuate the relief. Be careful and make your hatches light. 12
  13. Using the bright yellow, I add more vividness to the upper part of the wrapping. Just a soft layer of bright yellow tint.13
  14. With the dark brown I work on the shadows in the folds of the wrapping. 14
  15. I use the dark violet to add color nuances to the wrapping, blending it with existing dark brown strokes. And a bit of violet here and there: to the cake and cream. It allows getting a uniform balanced look of the drawing. 15
  16. I use the warm red to refine the strawberry. It definitely looks more bright now!16
  17. With the dark brown, I add more color to the cinnamon and chocolate, keeping in mind where are the light and shadow in my illustration. 17
  18. With the medium beige, I add a new color nuance to all the brown objects in my drawing. 18
  19. With the medium violet color, I come back to the cherry. If you wish, you absolutely can blend it with one more layer of the raspberry red color. 19
  20. I use the dark violet color to finish the bilberries and also add reflections of this beautiful tint to the cherry and the melted chocolate. 20
  21. I think the illustration is close to the completion, but it definitely needs a connecting color. With the light beige, I add soft inclusions of color just everywhere to unify the artwork. 21
  22. The last step: I use the dark grey and the dark brown to strengthen the shadows in my drawing and increase the contrast. I also add a subtle grey shadow from the cupcake and draw the branchlet of the cherry.22

And the drawing is complete – congratulations! Looks yummy, isn’t it? 🙂

Thank you for reading! I hope you liked the process and the result.

As always, feedback and questions are appreciated! Please, share this post with those friends who could be also interested in this technique – drawing together is fun 🙂

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