Compared to graphite pencils, colored pencils are a relatively new artistic medium. It wasn't until the early 20th century that colored pencils intended for artistic works were introduced.
Colored pencils are often used for illustrations, portraits, still lifes and landscapes. Colored pencils are a unique artistic medium. Unlike paints and inks that allow pigments to be mixed, colored pencils are used to create layers of color. These layers have the appearance of being mixed when viewed from a distance, but show distinct colors upon closer examination.
Colored pencils have not been widely recognized as a serious artists' medium until recently. The Colored Pencil Society of America was formed in 1990 to help raise the status of colored pencils.