My pencils and papers

I use at least ten different brands for varied effects for my classes and workshops. Sometimes I use all of them in one drawing. As time allows, I experiment with new brands. I recommend The Encyclopedia of Colored Pencil Techniques by Judy Martin, especially because I’m in it.


Some of my favorite pencils include:

  • Derwent Coloursoft pencils are rich, velvety, and easily blended.
  • Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils are highly lightfast and great for blending.
  • Derwent Artist richly-pigmented pencils are excellent for detailed work and for burnishing shiny areas.
  • Prismacolor pencils have thick leads that blend well in larger areas.
  • Verithin pencils, as the name implies, work well in tight corners with their sharp points. They do not blend as well as the others because of the high wax content.
  • Derwent Inktense water-soluble ink pencils are quite brilliant in color and are perfect for permanent washes.
  • Caran d’Ache Neocolor II pastel “crayons” are water-soluble, but you can use dry for drawing.
  • Conte pastel pencils and Derwent pastel pencils serve as the first layer of my drawings, a foundation upon which I place the next pencil layers. I like the build-up of colors, layer by layer.


My favorite papers include:

  • Strathmore 500-Series Drawing Paper, made from 100% cotton fiber, has a tough surface, ideal for much reworking.
  • Arches, Cover Black, 22 x 30, 250 GSM has a lightly textured, rich black, acid-free, cold pressed surface. (Made in France)
  • Canson Mi-Teintes Drawing Paper has a wonderful range of colors. Canson has created paper since 1557. (Made in France)
  • Strathmore 300-Series Vellum Bristol Pad is acid-free and heavyweight.
  • Stonehenge, acid-free heavy paper in white and several pastel colors, takes a beating with lots of pencil application and erasures.
  • Crescent Illustration Board is 100% Rag, cold press, and medium weight. The board is great for many heavy-duty pencil layers, exciting texture, constant reworking, and lots of erasures.