I’m all about tools. Whether I’m in the kitchen or in my studio…I consider it a must to have the best tools money can buy, to make my job a bit easier. One of the benefits of Colored Pencil art is that the overall investment is quite low, compared to other forms of artistic expression.
If you’re just starting out or are an established artist, the tools listed below will only aid in making your experience a bit better overall. I make sure to have each of these with me at anytime (check out the pic of my tool box below)! They are an essential part of my creative process and I hope they will make their way into yours too!
I know, it sounds super obvious but here’s the thing, finding the right pencil to do the right job is incredibly important and there are many different varieties…all of which have their place.
- Polychromos 36 Pencil Metal Tin Set by Faber Castell – An oil based colored pencil with a very hard led. Makes for great detail work, easy blending, and no wax bloom!
- Faber-Castell 9000 Pencil Bag Set (#800028) with Pencil Bag Set & Accessories – Every artists needs a set of graphite pencils. They are great for studying light value and their cheap. So there’s that.
- Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Soft Core, 150 Pack – These are the super expensive pencils you see at Michaels and Joann. They are wax based, so lots of blooming can happen, but they are rich in color and come in a billion and a half different colors.
- Prismacolor Premier Verithin Colored Pencils, 36 Pack – A wax based pencil with a thinner/harder led. They are amazing for detail work…especially if you’re only wanting to use Prismacolors and not combine with the Polychromos. They come in 36 colors and are pretty inexpensive.
I am a HUGE fan of solvent and colored pencil. It gives a truly painterly affect to the work AND they are an inexpensive way to add dimension to your work. For about $6 you can order a Copic Sketch Colorless Blender Marker 0-S (3-PACKS) online. I have one from Prismacolor and one from Copic. The Copic is, by far, superior. While the Prismacolor gets the job done. I find the stiff point very difficult to work with whereas the Copic has a very paintbrush like tip.
You’ll also need a Prismacolor Blender Pencil Colorless. These are sold just about everywhere pencils are sold and you should buy them in bulk. They use friction to break down the wax or oil in the pencil creating a really smooth and finished look often referred to as burnishing. Which essentially means it smears the texture of a rough surface and makes it shinier breaking down the tooth of the paper along with the material of the pencil. This Blending Pencil is my absolute favorite.
I keep three types of erasers in my pack at all times.
- A PRISMACOLOR DESIGN Eraser, 1224 Kneaded Rubber Eraser Large, Grey (70531) which is great for lifting an underlayment of graphite.
- Sticky tak (that stuff you use to hand posters with?) such as Elmer’s Tac ‘N Stik Reusable Adhesive, White, 2 Ounces (98620) to remove unwanted pigment from the paper.
- A white plastic easer such as Staedtler Mars Plastic Erasers,Pack of 4 (52650BK4) to remove as much material from the surface as possible. Though depending on the pencil, it may stain the paper. so this isn’t a cure all.
These suckers are a dime a dozen in my studio. Right now, at this very moment. I can spot four within reach. Each gives me a slightly different tip and works well with different pencils. My favorite, by far, is my simple black plastic sharpener from Faber-Castell. It is the perfect size for travel and sharpens to a deadly point.
I’ll never forget the day I was working on this really great piece, one of my first, and I noticed a bit of pencil shavings on the paper. I automatically swiped them away creating a great big red line across my paper, ruining the piece. I immediately bought a Creative Hobbies® Hake Blender Brush and haven’t looked back. It is perfect for cleaning the work surface. If you wear makeup, a new clean makeup brush would work just as well. DIY it all the way!
I hope y’all loved these tips! Stay tuned for more. Next week I’ll be hitting up the drug store to find some more common alternatives that you can use to make your color pencil paintings stand out from the rest! Most of the items you might have in your medicine cabinets right now!
Thanks y’all and Happy Wednesday!