This year I have tried my best to experiment a little which different supplies as to give further depth to my work, particularly my pencil drawings.
I have come across a few bits and pieces that have really elevated my work and also saved me time and stress ! Hopefully by reading this blog, I can save you a little time and stress having to find these things for yourself.
The Derwent Graphic "H" Drawing pencils are perfect for slowly building shadows in a light area, such as on light - medium skin tones. I have had these from a large set of 24 pencils for nearly 4 years now and have never had to repurchase them. They are a very hard pencil so they can get into all the little knooks and crannys of your paper and create smooth blends, perfect for portraiture. If you are a beginner in art, a set like this would be a perfect place for you to start so you can learn all about light and shade and how to render it without having to worry about colour, that's exactly what I did!
After running out of my old "B" grade pencils I tried a few different brands, determined to find the best ones, The Faber Castell 9000 pencils were my favourite by far. They have a much denser and harder lead so you can render small details much easier with the darkest of the shade, and similar to the other pencils I have from this brand, the craftsmanship in the pencil is just excellent, they are secure in their casing and seem to be borderline unbreakable, if you are clumsy like me and are constantly knocking your pencils off your desk, you need a sturdy, well made pencil that isn't going to shatter if you have a little accident!
The Strathmore Toned Gray Sketch paper was my favourite paper out of all of the paper I tried in 2017, I used it all of the way through Inktober and really enjoyed working from a middle tone, rather than starting at the brightest point as you would on white paper and just working your way to the shadow. Each page has tiny whisps of wood running through it that gives each page its own character, yet it remains very smooth to the touch.
I have repurchased the Faber Castell Polychromos pencils over and over again, I have 2 full sets of 120 and have bought certain individuals ( mainly the black ) an embarrassing number of times. They are a hard, oil based pencil that I love for portraiture as I can get lost in the intricate detail in the face of my subject and tediously render all the little facial features.
The Caran D'ache Luminance pencils are another favourite of mine, I can't choose between the 2 coloured pencil sets so I had to include both, they both work in completely different ways. These are perfect for quickly laying down colour as they are beautifully soft, almost creamy wax based pencils. I love to use them on top of the Faber Castell Polychromos pencils in the final stages of a drawing to seal everything in and make the adjustments to the colours if I need to.
I have tried a few different black ink pens this year, mostly during Inktober and found that this is the purest black out of them all. I always used black pencils before to get my darkest darks but always felt I could take it one step further if I could just find something richer, and this did the trick.
Before white ink pens I was dodging around my whitest areas throughout my whole drawing, now I don't have to worry about accidentally covering them because I can bring them back with this pen. It lasts a really long time and is very reasonably priced. I hadn't tried gel pens for so long because I was worried that they wouldn't be archival but when I looked into it I found out that they actually are !
I have always been a believer in professional artist grade materials. Winsor and Newton artist grade paints are just incredible, they are so pigmented and rich, buttery in texture and just a pleasure to use. This is the introductory set that I have and this is perfect for beginners as you don't need anything other colours to start to teach yourself how to mix colours.
A Glass Palette
Now it's time for a little hack. I make my own glass palettes by using the glass panels that I have removed from frames. If the to protect yourself from the sharp edges, you can use some electrical tape all the way around and if you need to, attach a piece of white paper underneath so that you can see your colours properly, I don't usually do this as my desk is white already.
My go to brushes for oil painting are always synthetic as they are cruelty free. The Akord Round brushes are my most used brush because they come to a fine point, much like a pencil and I like to have as much control over my lines as possible, and as an added bonus they are very affordable. They come in a larger set so you can experiment with different shapes and sizes and see which ones work best for you.
If you would like to see the video that goes along with this blog post you can find it here - https://youtu.be/M7XxhM04EpU
I hope this was helpful for some of you ! I have already started trying some new supplies so I will have even more amazing art materials to share with you soon !