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  • Writer's pictureBecky Frazier

My MUST have art supplies for my pet portrait commissions

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Pastels are my favorite medium to work with due to the ease of blending which I feel is so important when creating hyperrealistic drawings. All of my pet portraits are created using the highest quality and light fast pigments which make sure to last several lifetimes. So what are my must haves to create my portraits?I'll share some of my favorites here. This post is not meant as a review of these products, but only to share the tools I use and why I prefer them. What works for me may not work for another.

What type of Paper?

I personally only use Pastelmat by Clairefontaine for all of my pet portraits. In the beginning I did try other types and brands of pastel paper but this is the one I find to work the best for me. Firstly, the paper is thick and heavy, think carsick weight.

The surface itself has a very light sanded texture, and this accepts the pastel very well. It seems to allow layer after layer with no problem, allowing colors to look fresh and bright on top of others, while blending without making them muddy.


Every pastel artist using different techniques products. Once I have my subject drawn out I start by laying down an underpainting using Pan Pastels. Pan Pastels PanPastel provides a wide range of pastel colors that can be mixed and applied just like paint to create the perfect shades. They are ideal for blending and I am able to apply additional layers with pastel pencils for finer details with ease.

Layering and details

After I have played down the underpainting of my subject I start layering the fur starting from the darkest shade to the lightest. I use Pastel Pencils of several brands to provide the fine details of the fur, eyes, nose, and whiskers. The top two types of pastel pencils I use are Caran d'Ache and Faber-Castell. The wide range of colors and lightfast pigments are of high quality which is extremely important to me as I want my clients to enjoy their art work for many decades to come.

Tools of the trade

I will often use different tools to help me achieve the look I am going for. These are a few that I have found to be the most helpful. When creating the underpainting I will use the soft tools made by Pan Pastel as well as some common makeup sponges and brushes.When it comes to pastel pencils they are notoriously difficult to sharpen. I have tried so many different sharpeners but they just crumble and destroy the pencils and they are way to expensive to waste. I have found that using a Exacto knife to sharpen and they a sharpening block (as pictured to the right) work the best for me to get a very sharp tip and a lot less waste of the pencil.

Purchasing Art Supplies

Every artist will have different preferences on pastels and tools based on the what they are trying to achieve. Researching and finding what works for and artist can be daunting and expensive. There are so many different brands and options available and what works for one may not work for another. I am listing preferences and links to my Amazon lists link. I often go to Amazon first for my products due to the lack of Art stores in my area as well as the quickness of delivery (go Amazon Prime!) Click the links below to go to my lists where you can find my favorites.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Product links may include affiliate links. If you choose to use an affiliate link to shop for art supplies, your support helps keep this site ad-free!

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