I would like to write about the tools I use. Although, it is personal preference what you can work with, it is important, to pay attention on quality. It is said, that only with quality materials can be a high quality artwork done. This also can be apply to any other area: house building, cooking, cosmetics, etc. Lots of art teacher says that as a beginner you just need a beginner art supply. I don’t believe in it. Because with cheap materials, you cannot wait to have an outstanding result. The basics are the most essential things in everything, not just in art.

I could write a whole encyclopaedia about art supplies, but I strict to the things I use. I have tried lots of pencils, papers and other tools. So I can speak from experience, I would like share my opinions, my taste in art and art supplies. 

If you are a beginner, my advice is that: buy a premium quality art supply, but in smaller set. My first artist grade pencil was a 36 set of Faber Castell Polychromos in 2015. Which is a must-have, in my opinion, especially for beginners, but I will write about it later.


There are dozens of colored penci brands. It is impossible to choose which the best is, you have to decide on your own. The one thing that can’t be forgotten is lightfastness. If you want to preserve your artwork, take a look at the lightfastness (always written in the pencils and in the box). I only use lightfast pencils, because I find it the most important, to make high quality art, that will last. Beside that, there are two main kind in colored pencils. Wax or oil based. I will be honest, I don’t pay attention to that part, I only see what I can work with. I categorize my pencils in how hard or soft are they.

Faber Castell Polychromos

The basics, the must have. If you just begin to draw, or you want to take it more seriously, you should try this. Not too hard, not too soft, somewhere in the middle. Almost all of them are lightfast (maybe 1-2 that are not). The maximum is the 120 set. The only downside is that there are just a few light colors, and fewer pastel colours. 

Carandache Luminance

The most expensive pencil on the market. And also the best. They are completely lightfast. There are a total of 100 colors… 200 of them wouldn’t be enough, it’s so awesome. This is a particularly soft pencil, very good for blending colours. You really don’t need to invest in the whole set as a beginner, but only because of the price. If you don’t mind spending the money on it, you won’t be disappointed, but you need a hard pencil to work out the details. Which could be next.

Carandache Pablo

The same Swiss brand. Similar in colour, but the biggest set contains 120 pencils. This is my hardest pencil. This is a very divisive pencil among artists, many like it and many not. I simply love it, it’s great for working out details because of its hardness. For this brand, I say you have to try it, you either like it or you don’t, it’s really a matter of taste. I only started buying it in the last years, mainly because of its light and gray shades. They are unique, no other brand has such beautiful, light and gray shades.

Derwent Lightfast

The English brand’s answer to Luminance, that’s the simplest way I could put it in my own words. It is almost exactly the same in terms of softness, quality and lightfastness. I have a couple of colours that I haven’t found anywhere else. For example, dark purples and light blue (Arctic).

Derwent Coloursoft

Also a very soft pencil, but lots of the pencils in this set don’t have good lightfastness, so I only bought a few colours that I like and have high lightfastness.

Derwent Drawing

It’s a bit too soft for me. I used to have the full set of 24, but these days I only use a few colors.  Soft pencils are always needed, but this is an almost unmanageable category for me. I used it a lot, but as my drawing style has changed, I work better with pencils that are a bit harder. But it’s worth trying, the largest package is 24 pieces. I’ve used it for years, and I will use some of its shades, but mostly because of its color.

White and black pencils

I want to talk about this separately because they are quite  important. I use Luminance for white and Polychromos for black. It’s worth buying more of these . I use a lot of black. And white is for lights and for blending. I chose this brand because this white can be seen even on a dark background.

In addition to these, there are also lots of good quality pencils in the market, maybe you will find something that was not good for me. You have to experiment, but I think you shouldn’t miss Polychromos. And choose a brand with high lightfastness, if you would like to preserve your artwork.


The other important theme in art is the paper. I tried lots of papers. Now I don’t experiment anymore, I feel like I’ve found the perfect ones for me. There are two right. I’ll tell you, honestly, my purchase decision is determined by which brand is discounted. Because both are unbeatable in terms of quality. You can get them in many different sizes, since I draw large, I buy them in 10-meter rolls and cut them to size. 

Clairefontaine Aquarellpapier FONTAINE 300 g/m² Satin and ARCHES® Aquarell- Aquarellpapier 300 g/m² Satin. Both are hot pressed. The texture of these are not as textured as that of cold-pressed watercolor papers. A paper needs to have a texture to be able to absorb the layers. A surface that is too smooth does not allow many layers. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth

Although I only use these two, I would like to introduce a few more interesting papers that might be worth trying. 

Clairfontaine Pastelmat: This is a pastel paper, but feels like cardboard. It is thick and highly textured, perhaps reminiscent of sandpaper , sadly, it literally eats pencils, it is not a clean job to work with, however, you can create very beautiful drawings with it, you can apply lots of layers, and you can even draw on it with light to dark parts, so that makes up for it. I don’t use it because it’s too dusty for me, the way the textured paper crumbles the pencils, but the end result will be definitely special. It is especially recommended for animal portraits, because an almost unlimited amount of layers can be applied with it.

ARCHES® Aquarell- Aquarellpapier Satin 640 g/m²: This is the same as what I use, but in double thickness . I really like it, because the paper is quite thick, it doesn’t crease. The only reason I don’t use it is the price. As a pencil artist, you don’t need such thick paper, these are made for watercolors. It is not worth paying that much more, because in terms of the result, my works will not be more beautiful than in of 300 g/m² paper.


I use a hand sharpener, a manual rolling machine and an electric one. The electric was one of the best decisions of my life. Since realistic drawing always requires a pointed pencil, it is really easy on the wrists to get such a device. 

Pencil extensions

After a while, the pencils are too short for me to hold comfortably, but too long (and expensive) to throw away. This is how the pencil extender comes into the picture, an inexpensive tool that can be used to squeeze pencils down to a size of almost a millimeter. I bought the cheapest ones, but I also use Derwent’s extensions, as thick pencils only fit in them. (All Derwent and Luminance). 

Erasers and Razors

In addition to the simple eraser, I use an electric one for the details. Indispensable for details. There are pencil-type erasers, but you can’t erase the details that nicely, in my opinion. I often use an X-Acto to remove the pencil layer. But be careful at what angle you approach the paper, so you don’t cut it. Rather, I use it to scrape off the applied pencil layers. Essential for hair.


Since I leave my drawings with a white background, they must be protected from pencil dust. And my hands from scrubbing. I use simple paper tape that you can get at any store. At the end, it can be easily removed by warming it up with a hair dryer. I noticed that you don’t need a haird dryer for every paper (from Arches paper, it just come off easily, but with Clairfontaine, I had bad stories to tell). So I make sure and always uses hair dryer to protect the drawing, and if something remains, it can be solved with an eraser.


Fixative spray

I would like to ask everyone not to use hair spray for the finished drawing. This barbaric method was taught in school, but nothing good comes from it. It doesn’t fix it, but it can turn the colours yellow and distort them. I usually buy fixative for pastels. On the one hand, it protects, and on the other hand, it also makes the drawing a little more rich in colours. 

White acrylic pen

I use it for the whites of the eyes and the snow-white details. Really just points.

And finally:

Patience. I think that the theme of high-quality art materials cannot be trivialized, but the basis of everything is persistence and practice. Without these, you can have all your pencils, and you can’t do anything with them. But with persistence, love and even a small set, you will be able to do miracles.