Tools I use

Art supplies I use for my drawings

If you still think about which medium to use to create your art, I recommend colored pencils. Colored pencils have many benefits. They allow precision, control of detail and depth. You can work lightly for a soft look or with many layers to get the oil painting effect you see in most of my drawings. Additionally, they are very easy to carry, and you can work almost anywhere. It is an economical medium, and you don't need many extra supplies. Even if you buy the most expensive colored pencils (that I highly recommend) you will still spend less than stocking up on markers, oil paint, airbrush, and other tools. Working with colored pencils requires little space and no drying time and creates no fumes or chemicals. Not to mention that when you gently touch the paper with a colored pencil, nothing happens, which is not the case when working with markers, oil paint, or watercolors... You have full control, and this is what I like the most about colored pencils.

Colored pencils

I get a lot of questions about the materials that I use on a daily basis. On this page, you can find all about them, and I explain their usage and why I prefer those over others. If you want to draw colorful, realistic drawings like mine, you might also look for the tools I use. If you are looking for the highest-quality colored pencils, yet not the most expensive, and you want a lot of nuances, then the Prismacolor Premier set of 150 pieces is your best bet. These colored pencils are really soft and can be easily spread over the paper.

If you want to draw a variety of things, as I do, you shouldn't buy the set of 24 or 48 because they are just not enough if you want really beautiful, colorful drawings. Of course, you can play with nuances, mix them up, and draw one over another, but this requires a lot of practice, patience, and experience. I bought the set of 150 - which you can see in the upper right corner of this chapter - for a really good price (this set usually costs $190 and sometimes more). If you use ad blocker, you can't see the embeded Amazon ads, so click on the text links. For the set of 150 by Prismacolor Premier click here.

However, if you cannot afford the set of 150, the set of 48 colored pencils will also suffice for the beginning. This set includes the most important pencils for drawing the skin, such as Light Peach, Beige Sienna, Dark Umber and so on, so you can start to practice and try out these pencils. You can learn about the ones I use and read about the way I draw the faces in my book "How to Draw Portraits in Colored Pencil" with step-by-step drawing tutorials. Subscribers on Amazon can read for free because I have allowed all of my books to participate in the KDP program. I bought the Prismacolor set of 48 (together with Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencil Sharpener)(you can also buy after clicking the link/image left or here) the very first time that I wanted to try Prismacolor.

You can also buy just one single colored pencil, which is a really good deal. You can see the links below for three important pencils for blending and burnishing that can also be applied over the Derwent or any other kind of pencils. I'm always using these grey colored pencils, but they are not included in the set of 48. After clicking on the White or Cool Grey 50% below, you will be led to the selling page where you can choose (besides these two pencils) 110 single colored pencils by Prismacolor, so you can pick which colors you want to buy. This is also good if you have used up only one pencil from your set; you can get that pencil without having to buy the full set again. The last product below is the black colored pencil by Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer, which is the best black colored pencil that I've ever tried. The areas drawn with this pencil remain absolute black after many years, which is not the case with other black colored pencils.


Get the colored pencils I use: Amazing Prismacolor Premier set of 150 pencils (you can buy the very same set I use after clicking the link/image below). Buy it now while cheap.The Best Prismacolor Colored Pencils

Prismacolor pencils are so soft and behave so much unlike any other brand on the market. When used correctly, Prismacolor drawings can take the appearance of a painting. They are perfect for blending and burnishing. Take a look at my drawings below. These are made with Prismacolor Premier colored pencils only. In these drawings, I used Warm Grey 60%, Cool Grey 50%, and many other nuances, to achieve a lifelike result. Check out my YouTube videos to see how I drew all of these.

Since there are lots of colors that I use for my drawings, particularly portraits that Prismacolor does not manufacture, I've found them by Caran d'Ache Luminance. These colors are Buff Titanium, Brown Ochre, Burnt Ochre 10% and 50%, Steel Grey, Olive Brown, Payne's Gray, Raw Umber 10%, Slate Gray, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, and many more. You can buy an individual Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencil on Amazon after clicking the links below, but if you can afford the set of 76 (link right/below), don't hesitate to buy these high-quality lightfast pencils for yourself and make your work easier and successful. You cannot create smooth textures and amazing drawings with cheap colored pencils!


Take a look at my fan-art drawings below. All these are done with colored pencils. Colored pencils are just enough for achieving anything. These artworks and more are included in my "Fanart Collection" paperback 8.5" x 11" (21.59 x 27.94 cm). Get it on Amazon: Fanart Collection

I also use oil-based Polychromos colored pencils by Faber-Castell. Polychromos Colored Pencils contain the highest-quality pigments for unsurpassed lightfastness. I have a set of 120 pencils because there are a lot of colors here which we cannot find in the sets of Prismacolor and Luminance. The buttery smooth color laydown offered by Polychromos can be easily blended for layered effects, highlights, and transitions. Their break-resistant, water-resistant, smudge-proof 3.8 mm leads are encased in premium California cedar with Secureall bonding to resist breakage while providing sharp, fine lines and permanent, rich color. These pencils are good for more colorful subjects, such as flowers, fruits, landscapes. So, I've supplied myself with all these sets of the previously mentioned brands, which makes my work much easier.

For those on a lower budget, I recommend Lyra Groove Slim colored pencils. They color just as nicely as Prismacolor and we can also use them for drawing the thinner parts because of their harder lead. These colored pencils are very creamy, yet we can press harder when drawing with them because they have an extra break-proof lead. They are easy to hold due to their triangular shape, and they will be less likely to roll off the table and onto the floor and break. Lyra colored pencils are cheaper than Prismacolor, but they don't offer a palette of colors as large as Prismacolor does. If you buy these Lyra pencils from the upper-right corner of this chapter, you get a good sharpener bonus (btw: I use this kind of sharpener, not an electric one). If you have a kid that likes to draw, this pack of pencils along with the sharpener can be a perfect gift for them. As mentioned, they are easy to hold, non-breakable and long-lasting. I really love to draw with them. In the image below, you can see the parts of some of my drawings where I achieved clear, sharp edges, using Lyra Groove Slim colored pencils.

Download my Color Picker Android App, pick a color from the reference photo, and the app will suggests which colored and graphite pencil to use.

For the beginners, I would also recommend Prismacolor Col-Erase, the erasable colored pencils, which produce vibrant colors. They go onto the paper more lightly and are easier to erase if necessary. Unlike many other colored pencils, Prismacolor Col-Erase erasable colored pencils have erasers on one end that helps you to make changes effortlessly. You may practice with these pencils before you apply other kinds of colored pencils which cannot be erased. I particularly recommend Black because the black color is the most difficult to correct. If you have some experience with graphite pencils and you would like to try the colored pencils for the very first time, then these are the right pencils for you to begin experimenting with colors.

Derwent Procolour and Derwent Coloursoft are also great colored pencils and I have them in my collection. These vibrant, highly pigmented color allow smooth laydown with a texture that has the covering power of wax yet glides like an oil.


The next important thing for you to be successful in realistic drawing is the smooth paper. The right paper is significant, especially when you work with as many layers as I do. You can build up twenty layers, or even more, which is very hard for your paper to endure, thus can cause the surface to tear or buckle. I recommend a smooth, fine-toothed paper, such as the Bristol. I usually draw on an 11" x 14" or 9" x 15" smooth white paper. You can buy it here: Strathmore Bristol Smooth Paper Pad, 9 x 12-Inch, 20 Sheets. This is the cheapest selling website that I could find. Bristol Smooth Paper is an amazing quality paper, great for sketching with graphite pencils, drawing with colored pencils and any other medium. I wouldn't recommend a smaller paper because we cannot go much into details.

I also often draw on toned paper because my drawings appear even more realistic. It is really interesting to start a drawing with white or another bright colored pencil. If you take a look at my drawings on green and grey papers in the image below, you can notice that they are way more lifelike than those on white paper. If you haven't used toned paper yet, you should try it, you won't regret it. In the last couple of years I'd rather draw animals on toned paper than on white paper. You can buy an excellent pack of toned paper after clicking on the Amazon link on the left. For my 3D drawings, I use the amazingly smooth and thick A4 Fabriano Bristol paper (link on the left of this chapter).
Strathmore 400 Series Toned Gray Sketch Pad is also a great toned paper.

After the colored pencils, the tool that is a must on my table is a white gel ink pen. A lot of people ask me every day what I use to draw whiskers over already drawn areas. I use this tool to draw over the colored parts easily. We could leave a blank space on the paper for the whiskers and draw around them, but this would be really difficult and could never look as good as when done with a white ink gel pen. I also use this pen when I draw the eyes, particularly the reflection of light over the previously drawn pupils and it's really easy to do it with this tool. Sometimes I just forget to leave a white dot in the middle of the pupil, and this tool helps to add one even at the end of the drawing. If you draw an object, this pen can also be useful for the highlights.

This ink gel pen lasts for a really long time, although I use it in almost every drawing. I buy a pen once or twice a year. I really love this tool. It helps me to render the whiskers realistically, not to mention that the tip of this pen is really small, allowing us to create amazingly detailed parts in our drawings. I've put some of the cases where I used this tool in the image below so that you can see the usage of the white ink gel pen. You can buy it on Amazon after clicking on the picture in the upper-right corner of this chapter. The product next to this pen is the Uni Posca white marker. I use it when I have to whiten larger areas.

I also use thick black markers for creating the black areas over the colored pencils. You can see in the video below how easily I could make it with this 8mm thick black marker by Uni Posca.

When drawing an animal, I always use a colorless blender. A colorless blender is just a colored pencil with no pigment in it; it is used as a smudger. This is an excellent tool and helps me to achieve a soft-looking animal fur. This is a non-pigmented, wax-based pencil, perfect for blending colors and softening edges in a colored pencil drawing. It lasts quite a while. I buy the pack of two pieces by Prismacolor (that you can see in the upper right corner of this chapter) and I have it for more than two years, although I've been drawing a lot of animals. You can even make a better deal by purchasing the bundle of 2 blenders and 48 colored pencils (click the link in this chapter). This tool is really helpful and is a must-have for achieving a beautiful animal drawing. It makes a transparent layer over the colored areas and eliminates the visible white dots on the paper. One more good thing about this tool is that you can go over it again with colored pencils.

For a bit more money you can get even a better deal (link/image on the left) with the package of two colorless blenders, two burnishers, a plastic sharpener (which I'm using), and an eraser. The blender pencil is soft and colorless and allows you to blend two or more colors together. The burnisher is a hard colorless pencil that provides a rich, glossy finish. In my cat drawing below you can see the difference between before and after I used the colorless blender. Note how softer the fur appears after applying that blender!


When it comes to the graphite drawings, I'm using these amazing graphite pencils from the set in the upper-right corner of this chapter. This pack includes seven pencils (8B, 6B, 2B, B, 2H, 4H, 6H), four woodless graphite pencils (2B, 4B, 6B, 8B), and three water-soluble graphite pencils (HB, 4B, 8B), a magic rub eraser, a large kneaded rubber eraser, a steel pencil sharpener, and a sanding board. When I was drawing with cheaper graphite pencils, I repeatedly had a problem with the tiny grains in those pencils which would always unexpectedly scratch my paper, before I could even realize it would happen again. These Prismacolor graphite pencils are great, high-quality pencils. My favorite one is 2B; I'm using it for getting a rich, smooth, absolute black surfaces. I also make powder from them and spread it over the paper with a tissue. I've put some of my graphite drawings in the image below so you can see the results that I got, the absolute black background, a lot of shades of grey, and perfect shadows using these fantastic graphite pencils.

I also use a blending stump for blending both graphite and colored pencils. If you are currently struggling with making your portrait look realistic, you will see a big difference once you use a blending stump. Right in this chapter you can see the blending stumps I'm using and my book "How to Draw for the Beginner", graphite drawing tutorials, and you can get it on Amazon after clicking on this link. As an Amazon subscriber, you can borrow and read for free.

To save your time drawing grid lines, download my Android app Grid Drawing Tool, and create a perfect grid on your reference photos within a couple of seconds:

In this chapter you can see some additional tools that I use. A very useful tool is the pencil lengthener. With this sliding-grip holder, you can use almost every bit of a pencil before having to throw it away! The pencil lengthener adds that feeling of balance and allows for a good grip. It holds both round, triangular and hexagonal pencils securely in its nickel-plated ferrule with a sliding ring. I'm also using a battery-operated eraser for both colored pencil and graphite drawings. I use a Helix eraser that is available at Amazon for only $10, including 10 eraser tips. Of course, the colored pencils cannot be totally erased, but we can make highlights using this eraser, eliminate the excess of the color, create tiny hairs, and many more. I use a workable fixative spray. Also, you can see the camera I use for making my time-lapse drawing videos, and sometimes my Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is also great for taking a picture of the finished drawings. I've added two links to the camera tripod and the phone holder I use. After clicking these Amazon links below, you can get the same products I use.



Get android apps that artists use:

Color Picker
for Artists
$8.00 $5.99
Grid Drawing Tool


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