I often get questions about the supplies that help me create my unique drawing style and make such colorful sketches. In this post, I will list all the Caran D'Ache Luminance 6901 colored pencils I use and explain why I chose them.
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I have experimented with many different brands, but I have settled on Caran D'Ache Luminance 6901 pencils. In my sketches, I use 17 Luminance pencils plus one white pastel pencil. I love them for their brightness and richness of color.
Pencils are not cheap, and many artists worry about buying the wrong colors. I hope this post helps you understand how to buy only the pencils that you will definitely use!
Note: I am talking about the pencils I use in combination with gouache, not for sketching with just pencils. The technique for pencil sketching is different, and you need a wider variety of colors! Read this post to learn how to choose colored pencils for sketching.
You'll notice that there are several color groups in my pencil collection. Within each of the groups, what you want to do is have a light, medium, and dark shade (or a few shades ranging from light to dark). This is your rule of thumb when buying pencils.
I have five colors (yellow, orange, dark orange, red and dark brown). They are all warm colors. I never use lemon yellow. Firstly, because it is a cold color, and I prefer warm colors. And secondly, you don't see it as much in real life. Unless you want to paint lemons day and night, of course:) So let me save you some money with this tip: do not bother buying the lemon shade! The warm shade is enough for your sketching needs.
820 Golden Bismuthyellow
866 Burnt Sienna 50%
And again, in this group, I have light, medium, and dark shades. I often use dark green instead of black. It makes the sketch livelier and more interesting. I use the light green to put highlights, the dark for the shadows, and the medium for medium tones.
470 Spring Green
225 Moss Green
739 Dark Sap Green
181 Light Malachite Green
The same principle applies here: light, medium, and dark shades of blue are a must. Also, throw some turquoise in the mix! It will make the sky and water in my sketches more vibrant. Use the light blue on top of darker gouache layers and the dark blue on top of lighter layers.
I love cobalt blue. I use darker blue for shadows a lot, and I find that I run out of dark blue more often than any other color.
171 Turquoise Blue
161 Light Blue
662 Genuine Cobalt Blue
660 Middle Cobalt Blue (hue)
162 Phthalocyanine Blue
Here are three other colors that I use in my sketches. The two shades of grey are very convenient for metal details, and I find that I use them a lot. The violet is an extra color I sometimes use, but not very often.
112 Manganese Violet
004 Steel Grey
507 Payne's Grey 60%
I use the white pastel pencil for white highlights. It is very soft, and it lets you add white details easily. Regular pencils of any brand do not work that well. I use Caran d'Ache Chinese White Pastel Pencil.
Eighteen pencils might seem like a lot - just for adding details to your sketches. You could drop a couple of colors (an orange or a blue), but I genuinely believe that your sketches will then be blander and less attractive. All your sketches will end up looking the same.
Do you want to try this combination of gouache and colored pencils? Try creating these colorful sketches:
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It's a step-by-step guide which takes you through the process of creating a colorful sketch: a thumbnail, a pencil sketch, painting with gouache, adding details with pencils.
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