Answering FAQs: My Favourite Materials | Coloured Pencil Guide

Sep 16, 2022
Answering FAQs - Surfaces, Pencils, Erasers and Sharpeners - Bonny Snowdon Academy

Each week, I get messages and emails from my social media followers and Academy members, asking me about which materials I’d recommend for drawing in coloured pencil. I thought it was about time I answer a few of those frequently asked questions here on my blog, so you never have to guess again. 
Read on to find out all about my favourite materials and why I love and recommend them to other artists…


What’s Your Favourite Surface to Draw On? 

People ask me this time and time again, and the answer never changes. Clairefontaine Pastelmat is the most wonderful surface. It’s absolutely brilliant to draw on and, I would say, if I was only allowed to draw on one surface for the rest of my life, it would be on Pastelmat. 

It's made from cellulose fibres and it's an abrasive paper, rather than a sandpaper. It comes in a range of pads, including some that contain different colours and some that are just a single colour, and they all come with a glassine insert in front of every sheet, which is perfect for resting your hand on. When it comes to choosing a colour of Pastelmat, my preference is usually the white and the dark grey sheets. You also have a choice between paper or board, and I tend to prefer drawing on the board.


What Are Your Favourite Pencils?

Now, I love all my pencils, but I have to say, I think that the Faber Castell Polychromos are the ones that I really couldn't live without. You get a really great range of colours with the Polychromos, and they’re mostly lightfast, really well made, and they keep a really good sharp point which is always useful! 

They’re brilliant pencils for adding details to your coloured pencil drawings, as well as layering, and you can use them on all different kinds of paper, which is ideal if you want to try out lots of different surfaces without having to buy a new set of pencils for each one! 


Do You Have a Favourite Eraser?

Absolutely! My go-to eraser is the Faber Castell Kneadable Eraser. 

It comes in a little clear box, which is perfect as it stops them from drying out on your drawing board and, my favourite part is, it stops your dogs from eating them! 

It’s a lovely, soft eraser, and it’s brilliant for use on any surface. I use it as a tool to help create highlights and soften and blend my drawings. It also doubles up as a brilliant stress reliever as it’s so nice and squishy! 


Which Sharpener Do You Use? 

I use the Swordfish Multipoint sharpener. Quite frankly, it's absolutely brilliant for a lazy artist like me! All I have to do is lean over, shove my pencil in and, within seconds, it's sharp. What more could you ask for from a pencil sharpener? 


If you’d like to hear me answer more frequently asked questions, head over to my It’s A Bonny Old Life podcast and listen to Episode 29. I dedicated the episode to answering questions on everything from materials to starting an art business, planning and procrastination to pricing your artwork and much more. To listen to the episode now, click here.
If you’d like to see my full Materials Guide, you can find it here.


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