Actually, you hit pretty close to the mark, LilHole, when you talked about the frustration of going through boxes of coloured pencils in vain. I have gotten better at coloured pencils AFTER I discovered that the brand you use makes a huge difference. I use almost exclusively Prismacolor. The reason being is that they are moist and waxy and you can get effects out of them that you cannot get out of the drier kinds.
About five years ago, I asked a a certain person whom I am acquainted with how she achieved with coloured pencils that effect that nearly resembles an oil painting and said it did not matter what kind of coloured pencil one uses. She said it was nothing more than layering and that she used those Crayola pencils that you get at Walmart.
So... guess what I did....
After ruining several pictures, tearing the paper in places, with these very hard, dry pencils in the attempt to get that oily effect that she often used, I threw the pencils in the trash and vowed to NEVER touch coloured pencils again. In fact, I didn't even draw anything for 3 months because I felt like such a miserable failure.
Well, a few months later I was talking to someone who was a mutual friend of mine and this artist. He asked why I always did everything in black and grey. I told him how badly I sucked with coloured pencils and he sat me down and gave me a demo with his Prismacolours. It turned out that the effect that the other artist was achieving was done by building up several layers of very waxy Prismacolour pencil and going over them with a clear blending pencil or a clear magic marker. When I saw how simple it was, I danced with joy and then immediately started fuming at that bitch who had lied to me. I told him about what had happened and he said that he had been in art classes with her and knew for a fact that she only used Prismacolors and she had misled other people as well. I lost all respect for her that day. Not because she took a shortcut with a clear blender but because she lied to me and nearly caused me to give up art.
So if I have a personal crusade against liars, maybe now some of you will understand why.