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Colored pencils 2
Art supplies

Paints and pencils

Paints and pencils

What colors and pens are available on the German market with which you can draw and paint? Which materials are suitable for beginners, advanced and professionals? Learn here the essentials about different pens and colors. 😉

Colored pencils


Pencils, charcoal and graphite pencils

You can use these pencils not only to pre-draw contours, but also to create complete images. Pencils are usually the entry-level medium, as they are very inexpensive and easy to use. Graphite pencils are quite similar to pencils, but they do not have a wooden sheath. So handling them is not much different than handling pencils.

Charcoal comes either as pieces or as charcoal pencils. These have a very dark, black stroke and are suitable for expressive and high-contrast images.

Pencils comparison
My big eraser comparison (German blog)


Hardness grades

There are different degrees of hardness for lead and graphite pencils. These indicate how soft or hard the lead is inside the pencil. The softer the pencil, the darker the stroke. The harder the pencil, the lighter the stroke. It is advisable to work with several degrees of hardness for extensive shading. Usually 3-4 different degrees of hardness are sufficient to draw an appealing picture.

Which degree of hardness you take, remains completely your decision. Just try out different variations!

Hardness Example Surface Character Use
10B Bleistiftstärken Beispielflächen geschummert very soft, deep black for artistic purposes, sketches, studies, drafts, shading
4B soft, tonatte for freehand drawing and writing, shading
HB medium for writing and linear drawing, preliminary drawing
H hard for geometric and technical drawings, preliminary drawing
3H very hard for detailed technical plans and graphic representations, technical drawings
7H extremely hard for special purposes (lithography, cartography or xylography)


Drawing with Pencil

Drawing with a pencil is essentially one of the fundamentals of drawing. In this process, you can not only create shading through hatching but also blend (i.e., smudge) pencil lines in various ways. In my blog, I have summarized the most common techniques and elaborated on their advantages, disadvantages, and applications using image examples: Blending and Shading with Pencil (German blog).

Shading and blending, smudging with pencil
Shading and blending


Examples of images:


Product Examples

Support this page by purchasing products marked with an asterisk (*). * = Amazon affiliate link

Amazon: Faber-Castell Pencil Set
Faber-Castell Pencil Set*
Amazon: Staedler Pencil Set
Staedler Pencil Set*
Amazon: Lyra Pencil Set
Lyra Pencil Set*
Amazon: Derwent Pencil Set
Derwent Pencil Set*
Amazon: Koh-I-Noor Pencil Set
Koh-I-Noor Pencil Set*
Amazon: Koh-I-Noor Sharpener
Koh-I-Noor Sharpener*
Amazon: Faber-Castell Kneadable Eraser
Faber-Castell Kneadable Eraser*
Amazon: Tombow Mono zero Eraser Pen
Tombow Mono zero Eraser Pen*
Amazon: Blending Stumps with Sharpener
Blending Stumps with Sharpener*


More Pages (German)


Colored pencils

Crayons come in very many different variations. The leads of these pencils can also have different degrees of hardness. Usually, the cheaper colored pencils are not quite as good quality. These are harder, so the color application becomes blotchy with lots of white spots.

High-quality and higher-priced crayons have softer leads, so you can manage a much richer and more opaque color application. However, a corresponding pressure must be applied for this (varies from brand to brand). The pencils also wear out more quickly, as more colors are transferred to the paper.

These high-quality colored pencils are more appealing to artists because of the higher color quality and color selection.


Painting with colored pencils

Painting with colored pencils is becoming increasingly popular. You do not need the highest quality and most expensive crayons to be able to create reasonably good pictures. The main part of the picture here makes the drawing technique, that is, painting in several layers and mixing different shades.

Girl painting with Polychromos colored pencils
Girl painting with Polychromos colored pencils – see blog article (German)

With high-quality colored pencils, the results certainly look better and it is considerably more pleasant to paint with them. In addition to the degree of hardness (similar to pencils), there are differences in the light resistance and the composition in general, which is responsible for both the hardness and the breaking strength of the respective pencils.

Painting a ladybug with Prismacolor colored pencils
Painting a ladybug with Prismacolor colored pencils – See the process in my blog (German)

Very soft crayons break more quickly than harder ones – but in recent years manufacturers have been thinking more and more about how to prevent this and have, for example, glued the lead into the wood or varied the composition of the lead. This means that there are now crayons that can easily survive rough use by children and do not break permanently.


Examples of images:


Product Examples

Support this page by purchasing a product marked with *. * = Amazon affiliate link

Amazon: Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils
Polychromos by Faber-Castell*
Amazon: Sanford Prismacolor colored pencils
Prismacolor by Sanford*
Amazon: Koh-I-Noor Polycolor colored pencils
Polycolor by Koh-I-Noor*
Amazon: Lyra Polycolor colored pencils
Polycolor by Lyra*
Amazon: Derwent Studio colored pencils
Coloursoft by Derwent*
Amazon: Staedler Noris Club colored pencils
Noris Club by Staedler*


Colored Pencil Reviews


More Pages (German)


Felt-Tip Pens and Fineliners

In addition to very affordable felt-tip pens from the supermarket, there are also some brands here that stand out for their consistent colors (when buying individual pens), wide color selection, durability, and pleasant color application (smooth strokes).

Waterproof or lightfast ink, on the other hand, can only be found in selected brands, such as Faber-Castell PITT artist pen (German blog). However, felt-tip pens are often unfairly labeled as children’s pens, as you can create wonderful artwork with them and produce intricate colorations. You can see the creation of my jaguar picture in detail in my blog (German).

Jaguar felt tip pen coloring painted with LYRA Aqua Brush duo felt tip pen
Jaguar felt tip pen coloring

The use of fineliners, in particular, has become indispensable for various artists in their artworks. They serve not only for drawing and constructing entire pictures but often as the preferred tool for outlines or highlights. For this reason, some time ago, I compared and tested the properties of 20 fineliners for various purposes in my blog “Characteristics of 20 Fineliners” (German blog).

Various fineliners
Fineliner test – 20 fineliners in comparison (German blog)


Product Examples

Support this page by purchasing products marked with *.* = Amazon affiliate link

Amazon: PITT artist Pen Fiber Pen by Faber-Castell
PITT artist Pen by Faber-Castell*
Amazon: Art Pen Fiber Pen by Lyra
Art Pen by Lyra*
Amazon: Premium Pen 68 Fiber Pen by Stabilo
Premium Pen 68 by Stabilo*
Amazon: Grafx Aqua Ink Pump Softliner Fiber Pen by Molotow
Grafx Aqua Ink Pump Softliner by Molotow*
Amazon: Doppelfasermaler Fiber Pen by Staedler
Doppelfasermaler by Staedler*
Amazon: Doppelfasermaler Fiber Pen by Faber-Castell
Doppelfasermaler by Faber-Castell*


Felt-tip and Fineliner Reviews (German)


Additional Pages (German)


Alcohol and Layout Markers

Unlike felt-tip pens, markers allow for coloring surfaces evenly and nearly free of streaks. This works especially effectively when using special marker or layout paper. This is made possible by the alcohol content in the ink of these markers. In combination with the appropriate paper, beautiful effects can be achieved.

Various companies and brands offer markers at significantly different price points. With particularly high-quality markers, you can replace the tips and refill the colors (available in bottles). Handling markers requires some practice and the necessary knowledge of how to use them correctly.


Painting with Markers

Layout markers are highly appreciated by artists because of their alcohol-based ink, as it allows for nearly streak-free painting. It’s precisely this issue that eventually leads artists away from traditional felt-tip pens. However, achieving perfect marker coloring requires not only the right technique and practice but also the appropriate paper to achieve the beautiful effects that make markers so beloved and sought after.

Marker coloring: toadstools
Marker coloring: toadstools (German)


Spectra Ad Marker: Halloween Pumpkin Paint
Spectra Ad Marker: Halloween Pumpkin Paint (German)


Sea turtle paint with Stylefile breast marker
Sea turtle paint (German) with Stylefile breast marker


Unfortunately, layout markers are also not lightfast, so their color needs to be protected from the sun if you want to enjoy your artwork in the long term.

Nowadays, you are no longer limited to the brand manufacturer Copic, as there are now countless affordable and equally good alternatives available on the German market. These alternatives come in various configurations (e.g., with a brush tip), offer refillable ink, and have replaceable tips.


Product Examples

Support this page by purchasing a product marked with *. * = Amazon affiliate link

Amazon: Layoutmarker Copic Ciao
Copic Ciao Layout Marker*
Amazon: Layoutmarker Copic
Copic Layout Marker*
Amazon: Layoutmarker Touch Twin
Touch Twin Layout Marker*
Amazon: Layoutmarker Stylefile
Stylefile Layout Marker*
Amazon: Layoutmarker Delta
Delta Layout Marker*
Amazon: Layoutmarker Alpha Design
Alpha Design Layout Marker*
Amazon: Layoutmarker Ohuhu
Ohuhu Layout Marker*
Amazon: Layoutmarker Spectra ad
Spectra ad Layout Marker*
Amazon: Layoutmarker Chameleon
Chameleon Layout Marker*


Marker Reviews (German)


More Pages (German)


Wax Crayons and Oil Pastels

While wax crayons are often associated with children’s art, they are actually underestimated tools. Even a serious artist can work with wax crayons.

Similar to wax crayons are oil pastels. Due to their high oil content, the color application is very opaque and vibrant. You can also blend or smudge the colors with a little bit of solvent.

Wax crayon for children
Wax crayon for children


Product Examples

Support this page by purchasing a product marked with *. * = Amazon affiliate link

Amazon: Ölpastelle von Caran d'Ache
Caran d’Ache Oil Pastels*
Amazon: Ölpastelle von Sennelier
Sennelier Oil Pastels*
Amazon: Ölpastelle von Pentel
Pentel Oil Pastels*

Amazon: Ölpastelle von Jaxon
Jaxon Oil Pastels*
Amazon: Ölpastelle Van Gogh von Talens
Van Gogh by Talens*
Amazon: Ölpastelle Studio Quality von Faber-Castell
Faber-Castell Studio Quality Oil Pastels*


Pastels and crayons

For soft color gradients and delicate to strong colors, you can work with pastels and chalks. Here you also work a lot with the hands or fingers to blur the strokes and thus also mix colors.

Unlike oil pastels, pastel crayons or soft pastels are dry and soft in consistency. You can rub off powder from these crayons to color larger areas, for example.


Painting with soft pastels

Very popular are so-called soft pastels, also called pastel chalk, which are available in both small and large blocks as well as in pencil form. Due to the fine dust layer, you can mix their colors wonderfully and create very soft color transitions. But also their ability to draw opaque strokes allows the artist to bring both large areas and small details to paper. Of course, one is best equipped here with a special pastel paper.

Wolf pastel painting
Wolf pastel painting (German)


Product Examples

Support this site by purchasing a product marked with *. * = Amazon affiliate link

Amazon: Koh-I-Noor Pastel Chalk Pencils
Koh-I-Noor Pastel Chalk Pencils*
Amazon: Jaxell Pastel Chalk
Jaxell Pastel Chalk*
Amazon: Faber-Castell Pastel Chalk
Faber-Castell Pastel Chalk*


More Pages (English)


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