Recommended Equipment

Coloured Pencils

Faber Castell Polychromos oil based pencils in a range of 120

Good natural leaf colours:

  • 103 Ivory
  • 278 Chrome Oxide Green
  • 174 Chromium Green Opaque
  • 168 Earth Green Yellowish
  • 170 May Green
  • 172 Earth Green
  • 103 Ivory
  • 274 Warm Grey V

Click through for full list of recommended Faber Castell Colours

Prismacolor Wax based (soft) coloured pencils by Sanford (at present only available from us/ebay or from the USA/Canada)

Useful colours that fill gaps in all other makes include:

  • Black Grape
  • Black Cherry
  • Black Raspberry
  • Dark Purple
  • Process Red
  • Hot Pink
  • Ginger Root
  • Pale Sage
  • Limepeel
  • Grey Green Light
  • Greyed Lavender

Caran D’Ache Luminance – expensive, soft but hold a point well with some unusual colours that aren’t in any other ranges. Now with an additional 24 luscious colours.

Irojiten by Tombow – Wax based, hard, hold a point well and are good for detail, an unusual colour range and cheap to buy on the internet. They come as three sets with three books of 10 pencils in each, 90 pencils in total.


Good quality, Hot Pressed (smooth) acid free paper – I use Fabriano Classico 5 -300gms (old stock) because it is white or Fabriano Artistico 300gms HP (recent stock is not such good quality and rather over-textured). 

Other useful papers for coloured pencil work are Fabriano Studio Watercolour Paper Hot Pressed 300gms (see my new Practice Pads).

Strathmore Bristol Vellum 300/400 or 500 series (500 series is the better quality but over-textured and most expensive but the others are good).

Arches 300gms Hot Pressed Watercolour paper. Good but very creamy in colour.

Winsor & Newton Aquarelle 100% cotton 300gms. Works well for coloured pencil.

Derwent Lightfast Paper – good for coloured pencil but very expensive and slightly creamy.

Other equipment

Graphite Pencils get good quality pencils at least an H, HB and F – I prefer Derwent Graphic Pencils but there are lots of good makes on the market. A 10H is very useful for fine resist work and texturing both with graphite shading and coloured pencil work.

Click through to pencil sharpening video clip

Mechanical pencils – propelling or clutch – There are plenty to choose from on the market and choice is down to personal preference (good art shops will let you try them out for comfort/weight/ balance in the hand etc.) We sell the Faber-Castell HB version. They can be sharpened to a fine point with a clutch pencil sharpener.

A very useful one to have is a O.3 propelling pencil for fine details and lines.

Erasers – preferably a plastic one and a soft, kneadable eraser. A battery operated one is a nice luxury.  These are either very expensive or cheap but for general use the cheaper ones are fine. We sell the Jakar version.

Blender Pencils – either a Rembrandt Lyra Splender Pencil, Prismacolor Clear Blender Pencil (harder and waxy and useful as a resist with underpainting) or the NEW Caran D’Ache Wooden Pencil Blender. These are used for smoothing out the colour and blending together layers when finished.

A feather or similar (for cleaning pencil dust from your work) – available from a passing ostrich!

Magnifying glass – opticians can recommend good ones – I prefer one that clamps to my desk so that my hands are free.

Pencil sharpener – preferably one with a metal spiral core such as the Rapesco 64

Click through to colour pencil sharpening video

Embossing tools – there are various makes and sizes on the market and it is good to have a range. The finest I have found is the Pergamano 0.5 extra fine embossing tool excellent for fine hairs on stems, stamens and textural marking but long been unobtainable in the UK.

01380 724788
Rowde Court Studio, Marsh Lane, Rowde, Wiltshire, SN10 2NW
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