My Favorite Art Supplies To Create Realistic Drawings

Creating realistic drawings is a wonderful way to express your creativity and showcase your artistic talents.

To achieve a realistic look, choosing the right art supplies can make a huge difference. In this article, I will be sharing my favorite art supplies for creating realistic drawings, from colored pencils to paper to markers, and more.

So, keep reading to discover my favorite art supplies that can help you achieve the realism you're after.

Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you).

What are my favorite art supplies?

My favorite drawing paper for colored pencils and markers

1. Daler & Rowney Fine Grain Heavyweight

The Fine Grain Heavyweight paper from Daler & Rowney is currently my go-to paper for drawing with colored pencils.

As the name suggests it is a fine grain paper. This makes it good for harder pencils like the Faber Castell Polychromos, but also for softer pencils like the Caran d'Ache Luminance.

This is also good for using alcohol based markers. As the paper is relatively thick it can handle the alcohol ink well enough to blend and layer.

Though I wouldn't recommend using it only for markers. It works really well if you first use markers and then finish your drawing with colored pencils. But for only using alcohol based markers there are way better options.

Try the Daler & Rowney paper

2. Canson Bristol

Canson Bristol paper was my go-to alcohol marker paper for a long time.

This paper has a super smooth surface making the markers almost glide effortlessly glide across the paper. The smooth surface does make it less ideal for using colored pencils, but you can still get really good results if you decide to do so.

What makes it less ideal for colored pencils is that you can't really layer the colors and the pigment can easily look a bit uneven.

This paper is really nice and thick so it can handle a lot of ink. Also thick paper makes blending with alcohol based markers a lot easier. And as an added bonus you can easily remove ink spots from the paper with a colorless blender.

The only reason this isn't my go-to marker paper anymore is that the Canson Illustration paper is just better.

Try the Canson Bristol paper

3. Canson Illustration Manga

The Canson Illustration paper is my favorite paper for making alcohol marker drawings.

This paper isn't perfectly white which, in my opinion, makes all the colors look a bit more saturated and warmer which I like. This paper also makes the colors a lot more even when using alcohol markers compared to the Canson Bristol Paper.

Unlike the Bristol paper, this paper doesn't have a smooth surface, but it is slightly grainy. This also makes it good to use for colored pencils. And as the paper is a bit like water colored paper it's also really good for using solvents to blend your colored pencils.

Try the Canson Illustration paper

My favorite graphite pencils

4. Staedtler Norica HB

I don't think you can go wrong with any graphite pencil when it comes to sketching, so I bought the cheapest which happened to be the Staedtler Norica HB pencil.

Try the Staedtler Norica HB

My favorite erasers

5. Staedtler Eraser

Before I used this eraser I always had one that was dried out and smudged the paper instead of erasing. So I decided to buy a new one which happened to be this Staedtler eraser. They last a long time and erase well.

Try the Staedtler Eraser

6. Staedtler Kneaded Eraser

I always used to play with these as a kid, but a few years back someone recommended these to use when sketching. After you've made your sketch it's often quite dark, at least when I make a sketch it is but I don't want to sketch to show through what I'm drawing. 

This is where the kneaded eraser comes in handy.

When you're done with your sketch you just roll the kneaded eraser across your sketch and it lifts off the excess graphite from the paper leaving a nice light sketch. 

And again I think the cheapest one will do the trick just as well as a more expensive one.

Try the Staedtler Kneaded Eraser

My favorite fineliners

7. Stabilo Point 88

I don't often use fineliners, but when I do it's always the Stabilo Point 88. And the reason for that is really simple: I've been using them since I was a kid. They are also very cheap which I like and when ADCArtAttack tested many fineliners this was one of the best.

What I like about these fineliners is that the ink doesn't smudge at all when using them in combination with alcohol markers and the ink dries quickly.

However, when exposed to light for a long time the ink will fade into a brown-ish color...

Try the Stabilo fineliner

My favorite alcohol markers

8. Winsor & Newton Promarkers

When I first started out with alcohol based markers I bought a 24 set of Promarkers because they were the only other brand of alcohol markers besides Copics that were available here in the Netherlands.

And at that time I had no experience with markers so I just bought the cheapest and not the Copics.

The Promarkers work really well as you would expect from any alcohol marker brand. But one thing I don't like is their color coding system and overall their color selection. It feels like it's a random selection of colors instead.

Try the Promarkers

9. Graph'it Twin Tip Alcohol Based Markers

After a while of using the Promarkers, I wanted to try some other markers. Those happened to be the Graph'it markers.

I really like the greys a the black of the graph'it markers. The grey range starts lighter than the Promarker and contains greys that are a lot darker than the darkest Promarker. Also, the black Grap'it marker is by far the darkest black marker I use.

The colors are very vibrant and they are sorted by hue. Also, the color selection contains lots of skin tones.

Try the Graph'it markers

10. Copic Ciao and Sketch

In my opinion, Copics are by far the best alcohol markers out there. The nibs are fantastic and they blend really well.

Copic has by far the best selection of colors. Any color you'd like, they have it. All colors are sorted by hue so you can easily find matching colors and there are plenty of skin tones that I used for drawing anime characters.

The only thing I dislike about Copics is their price. They are so expensive... But If you have the money I'd say they're worth it (but I generally like expensive things more in general, so don't fully trust me on that).

Try the Copic markers

My favorite colored pencils

11. Faber Castell Polychromos

The Faber Castell Polychromos were my first colored pencils. And I remember deciding to buy these specifically because Kirsty Partridge did a review of them on YouTube.

She said these were the most vibrant pencils she'd used. And at that time I really liked vibrant colors, probably because I was drawing vibrantly colored cars.

Polychromos are oil based which means they are quite hard and they can be challenging to blend with. You definitively need some patience when trying to blend (which I often don't have...). With these pencils, it can also be a bit hard to fill in the grain of the paper.

For me, they are still my favorite colored pencils. Probably because I've used them for over 3 years now and they are the cheapest of the brands I've tried.

Try the Polychromos

12. Caran d'Ache Luminance

If these pencils didn't cost as much as they do these would've been my absolute favorite.

The Caran d'Ache Luminance pencils are the Copics of the colored pencils. They blend effortlessly, they cover the paper easily and they are very lightfast. But most importantly sharpening them is very satisfying, until, of course, you remember how much they cost...

I would say these are the best professional pencils, but if you just draw for fun there are probably better alternatives like the Prismacolor Premier pencils. I still need to try those, but they're twice as expensive here...

There is however one pencil you really need: the white Caran d'Ache Luminance pencil! This pencil makes everything so much easier. You can blend and lighten colors with it. You can even add highlights on already colored parts, even on black. It's by far the best white pencil out there.

If you're interested in a list of colored pencils that blend well, check out this article: Best Colored Pencils for Blending in 2023.

Try the Caran d'Ache Luminance

My favorite solvents

13. Gamblin Gamsol

I actually used this to use for my oil paints, but paint thinners like Gamblin Gamsol also work really well for blending colored pencils.

I used to use either terpentine or some other mineral spirits but as you might guess those smell like really a lot. But the Gamblin Gamsol doesn't smell at all which makes it a lot more pleasant to use.

Try the Gamblin Gamsol

My favorite white highlighters

14. Posca PC-1MR

Before I bought this Posca pen I was using the Sakura Gelly Roll to add highlights. But when using them to draw highlights on colored pencils it certainly wasn't the best experience. So sometimes it would just not want to draw a highlight or it would just glide and create this railroading effect. It was really frustrating to use. It did work well when using it on markers though.

I decided to buy a more expensive pen: the Posca PC-1MR. I can't remember why but it must have been because ZHC was using them too in his YouTube videos.

The Posca pen works really well on colored pencils. Though sometimes the pigment of the colored pencils would build up in the tip of the pen so I do need to remove that by drawing on another piece of paper.

It's now a few years ago since I bought it and it hasn't run out yet.

Try the Posca PC-1MR

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Hello, I use the same material for my drawings, I confirm that is a very good choice

Phil I Mecart - Oct. 20, 2023, 9:23 a.m.