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.

Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 best colors for sketching Julia Jenze art teacher

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I get a small commission when you buy something.

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.

You can buy them here: Jackson's Art | Amazon (Set) | Splendith (Dutch web store)

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.

Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 best colors for sketching Julia Jenze art teacher

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.

Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 best colors for sketching color chart


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.

Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 best colors for sketching yellow-red color group Julia Jenze art teacher

820 Golden Bismuthyellow

030 Orange

850 Cornelian

070 Scarlet

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.

Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 best colors for sketching green shades Julia Jenze art teacher

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.

Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 best colors for sketching,  blue and turquoise Julia Jenze art teacher

171 Turquoise Blue

161 Light Blue

662 Genuine Cobalt Blue

660 Middle Cobalt Blue (hue)

162 Phthalocyanine Blue

Other Colors

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.

Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 best colors for sketching Julia Jenze art teacher

112 Manganese Violet

004 Steel Grey

507 Payne's Grey 60%

White Pastel

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.

gouache and Luminance 9601 colored pencils for sketchig. Julia Henze art teacher
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:


(subscribe to my newsletter to download)

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.

NEW SKILLSHARE CLASS: Turquoise House by the Pool.

You'll learn about the best materials to use, mixing gouache colors, creating a thumbnail, how to draw a house portrait, how to paint with gouache, and how to use colored pencils to add details.

If you are not on Skillshare yet, use my referral link to get your first month free.


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Art is my passion. Urban Sketching is my love.

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