• Emma Gadd

Tools of the trade..

I often get asked what products are my go to, so I thought I'd divulge some of my not so secret tricks of the trade!


Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils


These were the first pencils I started working with when I began drawing, and I still love them! They are a good all round pencil, and have a large range of colours. For the first year I only used these pencils and found them to be more than enough in range of colour for what I needed, a definite must have for people just starting out. The polychromos are also the most cost effective of the pencils too which is a bonus!


TOP TIP - Try to avoid buying the tins or cases of the pencils as they are pricey and you will get a lot of colours that you will barely or never use (especially if you're doing just pet portraits). Instead check out websites where you can buy the colours individually. You will go through a lot more blacks, browns and greys for example than bright blues. I use Cult Pens and they have a great range for very good prices.


Starting from £1.45 a pencil.


Caran d'Ache Luminance Pencils


I LOVE these pencils. They have a beautiful velvety soft texture that is completely different to the Polychromos. They are also the most lightfast of all the pencils, which means they are less prone to fading overtime.


They also have the most AMAZING range of colours too that you can't find in the polychromos.

You will find that some of the pencils have the same name as the polychromos, for example Burnt Siena. The colours are not exactly the same though so it still worth doubling up on the same colour in different pencils. These are a little more pricey but for the quality of the pencils, totally worth it.



Starting from £2.89 a pencil.


TOP TIP - I often see artists using 50+ colours in one small drawing, but it is very rare for me to need to use so many colours. Don't get caught up in using as many colours as possible, instead really think about the colour combinations. Try them out of a scrap piece of paper or make colour charts with all your pencils, this will help get the right colour palette for your drawings.




Winsor and Newton Bristol Board Extra Smooth Paper


This was the first paper I began using when I started out, I enjoyed working on the smooth surface and found it great for getting in lots of fine details. If you choose to use a smooth paper like this you'll find you need to work with a very sharp pencil a lot of the time.

I also really loved the bright white surface of the paper which really made the drawings stand out.


Good value paper for the beginner but hard to source any larger than A3.


Fabriano Artistico Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper Extra White


I have only recently started using this new paper, I loved working on it from the second I tried it! It is a completely different texture to what I'm used to, so I find that i'm having to adjust my techniques slightly to compensate.

It's 100% cotton and you are able to buy it is large sheets or rolls which you can't do with the Bristol board.

Even though I use the extra white, it is still a lot creamier in colour too. I'd recommend buying in sheets not the pads as this is produced in a slightly different way, the paper doesn't seem to take as many layers of pencil.


This paper is more expensive but well worth the price!


TOP TIP - If you have been watching any colour pencil tutorials and find that the techniques aren't working for you, just know there is no right or wrong here. Each artist develops their own personal style and it's just a matter of trial and error.

There are so many papers you can use for colour pencil drawing, it really is down to personal preference. As long as the papers are artist quality and acid free, experiment and find one you love.




Many thanks for reading..

Emma x




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Studio/Shop Address:

Emma Gadd Artist 

Wrights Farm

Clyst Hydon, Cullompton

EX15 2NB

Copyright Emma Gadd 2020

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