I’ve been asked many times which pencils do I use for drawing my portraits.
My favourite brand is KOH-I-NOOR and followed by Faber Castell (in particular their line Castell 900) I also like pencils like Stabilo or Lyra, when I need and can’t find the first two.
I use these pencil codes:
HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B
6B, 7B, 8B
H, 4H, F
I usually take a 2B or 3B to draw the first structure of the portrait, the first idea of shape and proportions, which I will for sure fix later. May use the hard and light pencils here, like the H or the F to make a first light grey layer of the whole skin of the face.
I’ll use 2B, 3B and 4B for adding later my first layers of finer detail (eyes, for example) and first shapes of shadows and lights.
Then, I will start working heavily on shadows, and I will use my darker pencils, from 6B to 8B.
I love KOH-I-NOOR ones as I feel them like soft pencils, you can easily make a gradient grey layer with one of them. They respond easy to pressure. I love that. And they are usually cheap here. Faber Castell, I love those too, but they are usually a bit more expensive.
The eraser I use is one of those kneadable erasers. I don’t have a particular favourite brand yet for them. I’ve been using Lyra for a while now. It’s ok for me.
Papers, are also important for drawing. You need some texture to it. If you try to draw in the usual copy paper, it won’t grab the graphite from your pencil, so it will make shadowing and erasing way more difficult if not quite impossible ha. I’ve been using paper from Canson, also from Conqueror (I think it’s from Fabriano) that’s the best I can get here in my town.
So, when you go out to buy some drawing paper, touch it with your fingers and feel its texture. It needs to have some texture to it, but not that much that you could actually see a texture pattern on the paper sheet as that it would interfere with your drawing, adding a whole final texture to the portrait you didn’t want to have.
Anyway, this is a short post, just let me know if you have any questions about my drawing tools :)