The products mentioned below are professional, artist-grade materials with high lightfast ratings which are marked on the end of every pencil.
I created these Faber-Castell charts to help me select colours and hope you will find them helpful. While I mainly work with Polychromos, Faber-Castell’s other media are so beautiful that I would like to play with them some more. They can also be used together for creating interesting mixed-media art.
Try this: Lay down a light base of Albrecht Durers or Pitt Pastel Pencils, add finer details with Polychromos, and then top off with a Pitt Artist Pen Fineliner for that added pop. Have fun!
faber-castell: polychromos 120 kit
I love their oil-based cores because they blend into each other beautifully, can keep layering without any build-up, and can hold a sharp point longer for detailed work and less pencil-sharpening. Polychromos comes in tins of 12, 24, 36, 60, and 120.
faber-castell: albreicht durer, polychromos, graphite, and pitt pens
Albreicht Durer & Polychromos: I really wanted to know the difference between using watercolour pencils compared to dissolving coloured pencils with a mineral spirit. The watercolours melted and spread beautifully, did what watercolours do! The Gamsol-dissolved ones stayed within their boundaries and gave a powdered/pastel effect. Erasing: It is best to erase before adding water. Once it’s wet, it becomes permanent and you would have to add more water and blot with a clean paper towel. You might be able to lift out more colour, but complete removal is not possible. Albreicht Durers come in tins of 24, 36, and 60.
Pitt Graphite: I wanted to have a better look at their values and how well they blended. They colour so soft and did not give any “scratchy” feelings because their graphite has been refined beautifully. Faber-Castell does make a larger range, but this is what I have because I mostly work in colour.
Aquarelle: Did you know graphite pencils also come in a watercolour version? I was impressed! The buttery-soft lead is slightly softer than their corresponding regular pencils and melted even faster than their Albreicht Durers. Aquarelles come in HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, and 8B.
Pitt Artist Pens & Brushes: Permanent India Ink, lightfast, acid-free, pH neutral, odor-free, and does not bleed through paper. Visit Faber-Castell’s website to see their large selection of colours, tip sizes, and brushes.
Waterproof Timeline: I wanted to get creative and combine Albreicht Durers with the Pitt Pens and found this helpful. You can see the permanency start to show as it cured with time. I only did up to 48 hours on this chart and only a hint of colour bled when rubbed moderately with water. The Gamsol Mineral Spirit seemed to maintain the ink better. I also made an illustration where I did a light wash with Albreicht Durers (and no rubbing) 1 hour after using the Pitt Pen and it worked well.
Faber-Castell: Pitt Pastel Pencils
I was very pleased with how highly pigmented these Pitt Pastel Pencils were for vibrant coverage and ease of blending. My minor OCD also really appreciated how clean these pencils were for handling. Pitt Pastel Pencils come in tins of 12, 24, 36, and 60 with colours matching their Polychromos and Albrecht Durer line. This made colour recognition very easy.
Paper: For this chart I used Strathmore Bristol Vellum (300 series) but would recommend quality pastel paper in the future. I’ve heard amazing reviews about Clairefontaine Pastelmat which can hold onto many layers of pastels without the need for fixative sprays. I’ll be giving this a try when I’m ready to create some pastel art.
Sharpening: I would recommend a sharp and strong utility knife as opposed to a pencil sharpener, which would break the tip into a powdery mess. If a very fine tip is needed, you can gently sand the side of the core. I prefer sanding in one direction as opposed to going back and forth to prevent the tip from breaking.
Layering: Gentle layering and adding of colours works better than pressing hard and creating a strong streak of pigment, unless that is the look you are intending to create.
Blending: Six different techniques were used to see the different effects each one gave. My favourite result was with the blending stump, but did you know that you can also add water for a slightly gouache-paint effect? It dries to a chalky-painted, matt finish.
Erasing: Once colour is laid down and blended in, complete removal doesn’t seem possible, however you can go over top with more pastels to make colour adjustments. It is also nice to see how a majority of the colour can be lifted out to create a light tint if you’re creating soft highlights.
Contrast & Experimenting Circle: Because I haven’t worked with pastels before, I wanted to see how the colours would work into each other and react so I created a few “play circles”.