FAQ: The Best Materials to Use When Drawing in Coloured Pencils | Materials Guide

Nov 25, 2022
FAQ: The Best Materials to Use When Drawing in Coloured Pencils | Materials Guide | Bonny Snowdon Academy

Many people have asked me questions about what the best materials to use are when drawing with coloured pencils so, I thought it would be a nice idea to give you a bit more information and answer some of those questions.


What is the best colour recipe for deep chocolate brown fur? 

It is important to really pay attention to the full spectrum of colours in any subject we look at, as colours can be missed and, if you are aiming for realism, getting the colour right is key. For me, I prefer to use a combination of browns, reds, and blues when it comes to drawing chocolate-brown fur, as it does have quite a lot of blue in it.

When it comes to drawing deep chocolate brown fur, I would start with a layer of Polychromos Walnut Brown to add some warmth, before bringing in some Caput Mortuum Violet and Dark Indigo. If you've got a very rich chocolate brown with a few highlighted areas, I'd sneak in a little Burnt Sienna, before bringing in some black over the top just to add to the depth.


What coloured pencils do I use?

While I like to use a large range of pencils, I do have a few absolute favourites that I really wouldn’t want to be without. If I could only have one set of pencils, it would have to be the Faber Castell Polychromos. They’re just a really good set of pencils! They're generally highly lightfast, they've got a fantastic range of grades, and they work with most other brands of pencils as well. 

Luminance, again, I don’t think I could do without. I struggled to get used to them at first as they didn’t work like Polychromos do, but, actually, they just took a bit of getting used to. They’re relatively soft, which makes them really good for blending, and they come in the most fantastic range of colours. 


Are base layers always necessary?

Long story short? No, base layers aren’t always necessary, but it depends on what surface you're working on, it may be that you actually need to have quite a few base layers down before you start putting your details in, or you may only need one. It really depends on what subject you’re drawing and what paper you’re on.

If we look at Pastelmat Board, which I use most often, you have to get quite a few layers down if you want some really nice, fine details. But again, it depends on the subject that you're drawing. If you’re drawing a white animal on white paper, then you might not need an awful lot of base layers. Often, you can just go straight in with detail if you’re using lighter colours and your surface is quite smooth. 

However, if you’re working on a white dog on a dark piece of Pastelmat, you would need to add a lot of layers to cover the tooth, and to add those all-important values, before you can bring in all of the details.


To hear more about the best materials to use and a more in-depth response to some of your questions, watch the video above. 


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