#6 What materials do I use?

Ella the flower girl - Art by Talitha
Ella the flower girl - Art by Talitha

I often get asked what medium I use for my drawings, so I thought it would be a good idea to tell you all about that. Plus all the other materials I use to create a portrait.



I'll start of with the paper.


I use a medium that requires a paper with a fine tooth, to adhere the medium.


After trying out at least 10 different brands and types of paper, Clairefontaine Dessin à Grain paper came out a winner for me; this paper is bright white, acid-free, lightfast, age-resistant, 180gms and it has a beautiful matt finish. All important qualities that I was looking for in a paper.



The medium I use to create my dog portraits is PanPastel; a soft pastel packed in a unique pan format (cake-like).


PanPastels are available in a large range of colors, but all my portraits are made using solely the black 800.5


PanPastels are made using a unique manufacturing process requiring minimal binder and fillers, resulting in rich, ultra soft and super-blendable colors. 


They are loaded with the finest quality artists’ pigments for the most concentrated pastel possible. They have excellent lightfastness and are fully erasable. 



Since the PanPastel is in a pan, I need tools to get it on paper.


For this I use the specially designed Sofft Art Sponges, which are made with a semi-absorbent micropore sponge material. Each sponge has a unique shape and size. My go-to sponges are the 'sponge bar - round', the 'sponge bar - point' and the 'mini applicator'. 


I use the sponge bars mainly to apply and block in the PanPastel and the mini applicator to soften hard edges, to get the PanPastel in hard to reach areas and to create minitiature detailing, like the iris in the eye.



I couldn't create my dog portraits without the usage of at least three different types of erasers; a kneadable eraser, a pen-like eraser and a sharp edged eraser.


My favorite kneadable eraser is the Royal Talens Kneadable Eraser. Like the name of the eraser already reveals, the eraser can be kneaded into any shape or form I need. This specific brand can be used so many times until it is saturated, I love it!


The pen-like eraser I am hooked on is the Tombow Mono Zero; a refillable eraser pen with a fine point for very precise and neat erasing. It has a push mechanism with metal lead, is refillable and latex free. It is available


with two differently formed tips: a round tip in 2.3 mm diameter and rectangular tip in 2.5 x 5 mm. I own both but tend to always grab for the rounded tip. 


My go-to sharp edged eraser is the Faber Castell Mini Sleeve Eraser; an PVC-free, ergonomically shaped quality eraser for both sharp and soft corrections with a protective sleeve to keep my fingers clean. I mainly use this eraser to create the whiskers and to clean the sticky tape marks when the portrait is finished.


Any other materials

A sheet of very fine sandpaper to sharpen my erasers.


A silk-like two-fingered glove to make sure I don't create finger-/palm prints with my drawing hand whilst leaning on the paper.


A Derwent Fan Brush to remove access material from the erasers from the portrait.


A Derwent Rubber Point to create fine lines, where I don't want to completely remove the PanPastel color, but want a subtle color difference. 


That wraps it up
Well, that is all. Should you have any questions on one of the materials mentioned, please let me know and I will do my utmost best to answer them.

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