A common question we always get asked at ACPN is “Which pencils do I buy/ use?”

It is tempting when starting out in coloured pencil art to want to use pencils you already have, you may have a set of pencils you have had in your cupboard for a long time, watercolour pencils, pastel pencils or maybe you picked a cheap pack of pencils recently at the discount shop. There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t use these when starting out, if you haven’t already please checkout our article before reading the below > Do the “right pencils” really make a difference? 

The answer to the question isn’t of course a straight forward one, especially today there are so many new products coming out on the market, there are differences in the quality of the material and the way the behave, it can be quite overwhelming to know what to choose and it is VERY much a personal preference.  My first answer is ALWAYS that you will need to try them for yourself  before you buy a whole range,  BUT (and there is always a but)…keep in mind there a few things you need to consider that will influence your decision.

  1. Lightfastness. (this means  how the colour fade over time) the cheaper pencils and some of the artists quality pencils do have different lightfast ratings its important to check this out on the brand you choose and various colours have different lightfast ratings. If you are creating keepsake pieces of art with many hours put in this is something you really need to be aware of.
  2. Your support – ie. what surface you are working on?  Are you working on paper, board, wood, drafting film just to name a few. You will find that different surfaces will hold the pencil differently. So I personally find that I use certain brands of pencils on particular surfaces as they will hold differently and blend different due to the substances they are made of. ie. a smoother pencil made of oils i have found works better on drafting film than the waxy pencils.
  3. Colours some brands have a higher colour range in an area than others so if you are planning on doing ie. landscapes where you may need alot of greens, you might like to check out the range in various brands and try them out.

There are of course other factors, but as I said earlier it really is a matter of trying them out, and seeing what works for you.

Yes, Yes but you want some names  🙂 Ok  .. As a general rule here are a few pencil brands that are common ones for most coloured pencil artists to start out in. I recommend you buy a few pencils in one of these brands and get started to see for yourself.

The most popular pencil brands to try out when getting started are:

All of these brands are ARTIST QUALITY, in essence meaning that you should be able to achieve, good blending with your pencils and they are good for the majority of surfaces.

Yes they can be worked together and with other mixed media materials, again though this is a personal preference and the best way to know is to practice.

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