Discover more from CYOO
Materials I Use: Dry Media Edition
Graphite, colored pencil, and pastels galore!
Hello and happy September! And welcome to all new subscribers—thank you dearly tofor her kind recommendation below 💛
September is a favorite month of mine because it’s back to school time, which means getting new school supplies! While you and I may not be in school anymore, there’s something about the fall (and Virgo season) that beckons for new stationery or art materials.
For the next two weeks, I’ll be sharing my inventory of drawing materials with you. Today’s post will focus on dry media, which includes pencil and pastel—anything that doesn’t include water or oil. Dry media allows for a wide range of mark making and is very portable for drawing outside! Often times museums will restrict materials for sketching to dry media only (so as to not ruin the precious artworks).
Thanks for reading CYOO! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
The tried and true graphite pencil! Many of us learn to draw with a graphite pencil, finding comfort in the ease in which we can erase our mistakes. Graphite is great for quick sketching, underdrawings, and thumbnails.
Graphite pencils come in varied degrees of hardness, from hard (H) to black (B). Hard pencils are good for technical drawing, have lighter lines, and are “hard”er to erase. Black/soft pencils are recommended for shading and are easier to produce dark, coarse lines. If you’re looking for a solid beginner’s pencil set, try the Tombow Mono Drawing Pencil set.
My day to day pencil is the Blackwing pearl, which is close to a 2B or 3B pencil. The lines are nice and dark, and the pencil doesn’t smear much! For underdrawings I use a mechanical pencil using 0.5mm HB lead.
I also included the Lyra graphite crayon in this roundup, which are water soluble and thus can be made wet. The chunkiness is really nice for loosening up and drawing at a larger scale!
Colored pencil, or pencil crayon as they say in Canada, is great for trying out a wide range of colors and adding detail. Mixed media illustrators will commonly layer colored pencil on top of watercolor or gouache.
I mainly use Prismacolor ($1-2 per pencil) and Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils ($3-4 per pencil) in my work. They are both wax-based pencils that lay down soft, creamy, pigmented color. Luminance is more expensive because of their lightfastness (meaning they don’t discolor when exposed to light). Other than that the two are very similar!
I have a few Luminance pencils that I am very partial to for drawing people: the brown ochre 50%, dark flesh 5%, and payne’s grey 60%, all swatched in the above photo. I highly recommend swatching colored pencils at a shop and buying them individually! Often the most interesting, subtle colors don’t come in the sets.
A recent purchase that I wanted to mention is the Stabilo Woody 3 in 1 pencil in pastel blue. These feel like a kid’s crayon in its chunkiness and come in really fun colors.
Next up we have pastel, a messy medium with the juiciest colors! One type of pastel is the soft pastel, which has a chalky consistency and allows for a wide range of textures and blends. I don’t use soft pastels much because of how easily they smudge, but you can protect your artwork with wax or glassine paper or apply pastel fixative to help with this.
My soft pastel recommendation is Jackson’s handmade pastels, especially this woodland brown set that comes in 14 warm colors perfect for autumnal landscapes.has a wonderful materials post where she shares that she’s been using soft pastels dipped in water, which is something I’ve yet to try!
This summer I tried oil pastel for the first time through this Munggyo Gallery set of 48. These pastels are SO creamy and delightfully pigmented, and at such an affordable price! I used these whenever I felt blocked during my daily drawing challenge and found that it really helped to reconnect to my inner child and find the joy in drawing again.
Last but definitely not least is the Neocolor II, a wax pastel similar to crayon. Of all the kinds of pastels I use these the most since they are super portable and have minimal smudging issues. Neocolors can be used dry or made wet since they are water-soluble, and can easily layer on top of paint for fun textures. They can be found for $1-2, similarly priced to color pencils.
Thanks for reading, and I hope I’ve inspired you to try out a new material or pick up one that you’ve been neglecting for a while. If you have any questions or materials you’d like to recommend me, please leave them in the comments.
Otherwise, see you next week to talk about wet media—paints, inks, and markers!