5 Essential Tools for Pencil Portraits

Sema+Martin+Pet+Portrait+artist+based+in+UK%2C+essential+tools+for+pencil+portraits.jpg

Apart from paper and colour pencils there are a few essential tools I use to create my pet portraits over the last few years. Here is a list of the ones I can’t do without with a link to where you can buy them. I hope this helps with anyone starting out in colour pencil drawing. Let me know if there are any you use and think should be on list too!

  1. Faber-Castell Dusting Brush 1600

Faber-Castell Dusting Brush 1600

Faber-Castell Dusting Brush 1600

My must have tool that I literally can’t live without. This brush helps to avoid any smudge marks and fingerprints all over your beautiful artwork. If you don’t have one already I would definatly suggest getting one. Follow the link below for amazon.co.uk or amazon .com to buy.

2. Papermania 3-Piece Embossing Tool

Papermania 3-Piece Embossing Tool

Papermania 3-Piece Embossing Tool

I have seen a few artists using these tools which I why I had decided to try them out. They are perfect for leaving white areas in your portrait, such as whiskers, preventing the colour pencil from entering these recessed areas. I also like to use these for little white hairs in the animal’s fur. If you want to read more about how i draw whiskers then please follow this link to my blog post on whiskers!

Follow the link below for amazon.co.uk or amazon .com to buy.

3. Derwent Battery Operated Eraser

Derwent Battery Operated Eraser

Derwent Battery Operated Eraser

I absolutely love this Eraser! I haven’t found an eraser better than this one and I use it all the time. It is defiantly a must have tool for any type of pencil drawing. It is also really good at erasing through multiple layers of colour pencil. It can be harsh on super smooth paper so just be aware not to erase over the same place too many times. I really love the Derwent brand. They have some great tools to try out including a sharpener which I will get to next.

Follow the link below for amazon.co.uk or amazon .com to buy.

4. Pencil Sharpeners

Jakar Electric Pencil Sharpener, Derwent Super Point Desktop Pencil Sharpener and Faber Castell Trio Sharpening Box

Jakar Electric Pencil Sharpener, Derwent Super Point Desktop Pencil Sharpener and Faber Castell Trio Sharpening Box

I have three different pencil sharpeners that I like to use for different pencils at different lengths. The Jakar Electric Pencil Sharpener was a Christmas present and I love it so much. It is a little pricey compared to the others but it sharpens the pencils really beautifully and automatically stops when the pencil is sharp. This type has a maximum pencil thickness it can sharpen which doesn’t include the Caran D’ache Luminance brand and the Derwent drawing pencils I like to use. It will sharpen any of the Faber Castell Polychromos pencils. You can get an adjustable version but this is more expensive.

Follow the link below for amazon.co.uk or amazon .com to buy.

The second pencil sharpener is the Derwent Super Point Desktop Pencil Sharpener which i have used since the start of becoming a pet portrait artist. It is incredibly useful and can sharpen pencils of any diameter. There is an attachment for the table but I don’t tend to use this.

Follow the link below for amazon.co.uk or amazon .com to buy.

Lastly is the Faber Castell Trio Sharpening Box which I like to use when my pencils become too small to sharpen in the other two but are still useable. It has three different whole sizes to sharpen any brand of colour pencil you are using.

Let me know what you think of these and if you know of any other sharpeners that you like.

Follow the link below for amazon.co.uk or amazon .com to buy.

5. Zest It: Pencil Blend

Zest It: Pencil Blend

Zest It: Pencil Blend

I started using this pencil blend this year and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it works. I have found it really useful for my drawings of black cats where I like to build up layers of colour to create depth in the portrait. I would defiantly recommend using this if your pencil technique involves many layers on small tooth paper.

Follow the link below for amazon.co.uk or amazon .com to buy.

Thank you for reading this blog post and comment below if there are any essential tools you think should be included in this post for colour pencil portraits. I look forward to hearing from you!


Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Sema Martin and I am a realism pet portrait artist based in Wales, UK.  I specialise in colour pencil as a medium and have created many pet portraits for customers in Wales drawing from their reference photo sent to me by email. The high-quality brand of colour pencils used is a mixture of Faber Castell Polychromos and Caran D'ache Luminance on extra smooth Bristol Board paper.