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my must-have pencils!

I think we’ve all been there, looking at endless brands of pencils and having a bit of a cry at some of those prices! I’ve currently got four sets of professional coloured pencils and after a while you realise you DO NOT need full sets to make gorgeous artwork (…but if you can afford to, absolutely splash out!).

So, here are my must-haves from each of the following brands; Faber-Castell Polychromos, Caran d’Ache Pablo and Caran d’Ache Luminance. These must-haves are the pencils I could not do without, the ones I use most often for my pet portraits and the ones I would recommend starting with or adding to your collection .

I use more Polychromos than any other brand. They are a proper all rounder, these babies are my go-to, my ride or dies. If you haven’t used Polys then you are missing out! 

Polys have 120 glorious colours to choose from and if you draw pet portraits like me (mostly dogs and cats) – your browns and greys will make up the majority of your must-have set! You will have to add some colours (blues, reds, pinks, purples, greens…) for things like unusually coloured eyes or those beautifully bright collars and bandana’s. I rarely use the brighter colours in pet portraits but I have tucked into them for some of my wildlife pieces – the beauty of it is because you can buy singles instead of having to fork out for the full set, you can pick and choose what you need and build a selection specific to you and your work.

Next up Caran d’Ache Luminance. The largest set was 76 but I believe they’ve released another 24(?) new colours. The NEUTRALS give me life. They just fill in those missing colours from the Polys set and are fabulous for that final burnishing layer, pushing all those layers together beautifully. They’re thick and creamy and lay down like butter.

Luminance pencils are designed for professional works intended for exhibition, collection and museum purposes. They are extremely lightfast, meaning the colours will not fade for 100s of years!

Finally, Caran d’Ache Pablos – much harder than the luminance, these are so great for an opaque, velvety smooth colour lay-down and seem to be less powdery/dusty compared to the Polys. With 120 colours to choose from, I’ve picked out my must-haves – colours that I reach for in almost every drawing!

I also own the 72 set of Derwent Lightfast, plus a few of their new colours also – I haven’t quite tested them enough to add any to my must-haves just yet but will definitely update this section when I’m starting to reach for certain pencils regularly!


(10% off your first order with Jackson’s and I make some pennies to support my lil biz!)

I hope this was somewhat helpful – any questions, as always, feel free!

Cherry xo