Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom

Tutorial: Cherry Blossom

Instructor: Cynthia Knox

Instruction Type: Book Tutorial

Courseware: CP Florals

Medium: Prismacolor Premier

Surface: I chose to try PastelMat

Size: 11x15cm

Hours: Approximately 16-20 hours

Level: Intermediate

CP Florals by Cynthia Knox

CP Florals by Cynthia Knox

CP Florals is an absolutely gorgeous book with lots of stunning tutorials. They are written with easy step by step instructions by the lovely Cynthia Knox. There are 15 beautiful florals to create in all.

I chose to try PastelMat for the first project in the book because a lot of people said it was a great surface. For the background I found it wonderful. It is easy to layer and blend colours on, however, this is another surface where you would need to use an OMS. After a short while, no matter how many layers you put on, little white spots start showing through again.

For the flower itself, I had problems (learner problems) with the blending of the colours. On the pastelmat they don’t seem to want to stay where you put them, and because of this I layered many times and ended up running out of layers. I then tried workable fixative which worked well to seal the project, but when I started the last layer trying to deepen the colours and blend a bit more, I found that the pencil went on really streaky and there was nothing I could do to fix it.

Things I discovered:

PastelMat: Like the stonehenge paper, little white spots started showing up no matter how many layers I put down. Definitely need to use an OMS for this surface.

What do I think of my final image? I am a little disappointed with myself, and I would like to go back and do this one again on another surface. Though it looks great when held up at a distance, up close it really doesn’t look nice at all.

Would I recommend this tutorial to absolute beginners? This is an intermediate project with lots of blending and detail. I have played with my pencils for 10 months now and find the level of blending required to be quite hard. I would suggest watching Cynthia Knox’s video tutorial Vivid Flowers in Colored Pencil from which will make the written instructions easier to follow. The book is definitely worth getting even if you have done no other pencil work, just reading it will give you a great knowledge level of how a coloured pencil project comes together on different surfaces with different colours. It also includes glass, pottery, wood and other surfaces to render. Definitely worth getting!

Cherry Blossom Tutorial, CP Florals, Cynthia Knox - created by Kim Holden

Cherry Blossom Tutorial, CP Florals, Cynthia Knox – created by Kim Holden

Prismacolor Premier

Prismacolor Premier

One of the hardest things to decide is which brand of pencil is right for you. There are so many different brands and types of pencils within those brands for you to choose from. I suggest you purchase a few single pencils to try from each branch to test before you make your choice if you can only afford one type of pencil. Below is a short description of the Prismacolor Premier Pencils, the ones I would recommend if you are just starting out because most tutorials are completed using this brand.

These are the most popular pencils in America and they come in a range of 150 beautiful colours. Apparently they used to be very high quality, but nowadays they are made in Mexico which means that you are better off buying them in person pencil by pencil rather than online. There seems to be no quality control at all. Some of the pencils do not have their leads centred so when you sharpen them you end up with mostly wood exposed and pencil only showing on one side. The other issue that people have had is with breakage, but I have to say I have not had that issue at all. I believe if you use a good quality sharpener that has rotary blades rather than just a single blade, then you will have no issues.

The two sharpeners I own and have had no issues with any pencils with are the following:


Ledah 11333 Electric Sharpener



Swordfish Ikon Manual Sharpener


Prismacolor Premier Pencils are beautiful to use. They are soft and buttery and blend easily. The core is wax based and if you burnish (press really hard to get full coverage) you can sometimes end up with what is called wax bloom – a white filmy sheen over your colours. To fix this issue you can wipe over your image with a soft cloth and then spray a fixative (either workable or final) over the top to stop the bloom from coming back again.

Prismacolor also have a blender pencil which works great with all coloured pencils. Unfortunately there are quality issues with this pencil also, so when you are buying one, make sure it is white not grey. The grey ones don’t work the way they are supposed to, the white ones work great!

Prismacolor Blender Comparison

Prismacolor Blender Comparison

Even given their issues, these pencils are definitely worth the purchase price, especially since most tutorials are completed in Prismacolor pencils. They are really lovely to use and most issues aren’t an issue if you are aware of them first 🙂





Please feel free to leave your own opinion about the Prismacolor Premier pencils below in the comments. I would love to hear what you all think of them also.