A peek inside my studio at what I use for my portraits

Pencil Portrait Artist's Materials - Part 1, Coloured Pencils

I’m often asked what materials I use in drawing my pencil portraits. My aim is always to produce the highest quality work possible, and this naturally requires the use of only the finest tools and materials.

In this section I want to talk about perhaps the most important element, the coloured pencils. I use a real mixture of high quality coloured pencils in my work, with the main brands being Faber Castell, Caran D’Ache,  and Derwent, all having excellent colour, light-fastness, and an amazing range of colours.

Faber Castell Polychromos

This pencil comes in an amazing range of colours and blends beautifully with all the other brands. Polychromos are oil based pencils, which allows them to blend with solvents extremely well for base layers or areas of flat colour. The lead feels very firm combined to the other brands that I use, making them great for fine detail. Their leads are wonderfully intense and easy to lay down and layer and again they blend exceptionally well with all the other brands. They have maximum light-fastness, which means they hold their colour on your artwork extremely well, limiting fading.
These are a must have in any coloured pencil artist’s set and a brand that I recommend as an essential part of your kit. If you’re starting out and wondering which brand to buy first, buy these, you won’t regret it.

Faber Castell Polychromos Coloured Pencils
Caran d’Ache Luminance

I love this brand, they consist of the most creamy leads, making them beautifully smooth and velvety, which makes them fab for layering and blending. Their range consists of the most beautiful set of vibrant exciting colours. I totally fell in love with them when I first purchased them. Being wax based, they layer and blend slightly better than Polychromos and their colours are more opaque. They are similar to Prismacolor pencils, however they are firmer and leave far less residue on your paper.
These pencils have one of the best light-fast qualities of all coloured pencils, which means they do not fade easily, which is an incredibly important factor to consider when buying a brand.
These pencils are expensive, but they are definitely worth every penny. They are essential for any coloured pencil artist.

Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils
Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle

These are wonderful watercolour pencils. They have a high concentration of extra fine pigments and are water-soluble, which means you can blend them like paint with a brush and a drop of water. They have excellent colour brilliance; I just love them, and their black and white pencils are my preferred go-to out of all the brands. They provide a richness in black and white, which I haven’t found in any other, so I definitely would advise you buy these.
When drawn on dry, the pencils perform as well as Luminance, which is surprising as sometimes watercolour pencils do not appear with such colour brilliance. These pencils have an ultra-high pigment concentration, which ensures intense colour and exceptional light resistance. I absolutely love these pencils and use them constantly. They’re a must-have in my eyes.

Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle Coloured Pencils
Derwent Lightfast

These pencils are new to my collection, and I have only been using them for a short time so far. The main reason I was keen to try them is that they promise exceptional lightfastness – expected to last more than 100 years in museum conditions. In use, these pencils do not seem noticably different to the other brands I use, but they have a smooth oil-based feel which creates a rich vibrancy and can be mixed on the page for a paint-like effect. They are superb for layering and cover the surface of the paper exceptionally well. I have also found that they work well with my ceramic knife tool – allowing colour to be removed to allow for additional detail such as whiskers and fine hair.

Derwent Lightfast Coloured Pencils
Prismacolor Premier

These pencils were the first colour pencils I ever bought. I found Prismacolor Premier pencils very waxy and soft, leaving lots of residue on the paper, which is fine for producing vibrant artworks, but I found them unsuitable for fine, light and fluffy fur, as they produced a heavy and non realistic feel. I do still use a couple of their pencils though, as I haven’t been able to find similar colours elsewhere. Their Rose pencil is an essential part of my kit and I tend to use it in most of my portraits and also their Peche pencil is also lovely. I do find these pencils difficult to order as a single pencil in the UK, which is quite frustrating.

Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils
How to Buy

As a pet and wildlife artist, I get through a lot more browns, oranges, and greys than other colours. Fortunately, most pencils are available individually, so it’s easy to top up my stocks as required. However, there are savings to be made when ordering a large selection tin, so that is usually where I start; giving me a chance to try the range of colours and find out which ones see the most use. 

Angie Wallace Fine Art
Based on 167 reviews
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Andy ShovelAndy Shovel
09:47 16 Mar 24
Angie drew my cat Winky, and I honestly can’t believe how good the picture is. It captures both his every visual detail, but also his personality somehow too. I would recommend her to anyone who loves their pet!
Nicola ThomsonNicola Thomson
15:18 16 Feb 24
I Just received my portrait of Toby today and it's amazing I love it. The detail in it is spot on considering the photos i gave to Angie were really old and grainy and not great she has done a fantastic job I can't stop looking at him. Angie is a very talented artist 🎨 Can't wait to get it mounted and framed and up on the wall.
Willem S van OpijnenWillem S van Opijnen
02:53 07 Feb 24
Angie’s fabulous art speaks for itself. I’d like to compliment her on the little extras that add such meaning to her gift. The artwork is protected and wrapped in ribbon, a personalized card is included. That extra touch adds something special to the already precious gift of her artwork.
Angie captures the sweet essence of whatever she draws
Laura DavisLaura Davis
15:12 19 Jan 24
Beautiful realism. Fantastic capture of expressions. A joy to behold.
Carol DrummondCarol Drummond
22:09 12 Jan 24
We commissioned two large artworks of our dogs from Angie. Angie went out of her way to understand exactly what we hoped for and how important it was for us to have such unique portraits of our dogs in one of their favourite places.

Both works arrived in perfect condition and although we had seen progress photos, seeing the actual artworks up close and in our home exceeded all our expectations. We shall be able to admire our dogs for ever! The likenesses and details are perfect.

Angie has been a pleasure to work with throughout. I highly recommend Angie’s art and working process.
Amanda MickiewiczAmanda Mickiewicz
11:12 17 Oct 23
Arrange for Angie to draw our ragdoll cat Chelsea and could not be happier. Angie was a delight to deal with and the quality of her work is exceptional.
Peter RichardsonPeter Richardson
12:43 05 Oct 22
Words cannot express how delighted we are with the portrait of our 12.5 year old GSD Sasha, who sadly passed away earlier this year after such a short illness.

She was the most loyal and friendly fur baby I could of asked for and i so proud to be part of her life.

This drawing has now brought her back as it’s so lifelike,and will now take pride of place in our home.

Thank you so so much Angie we are humbled by your fantastic work
Jenny WoodJenny Wood
20:56 04 Feb 22
Received the portrait of our cats this week and Angie's work is amazing! She had really caught the essence of them and I can't thank her enough.

Great communication throughout the process, the artwork arrived beautifully packaged and it was lovely to see the work-in-progress images too. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Sierra ReedSierra Reed
04:28 09 Jul 21
I just received my portrait from Angie! It is absolute perfection. She was able to capture the personality and beauty of my girl Callie and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how the portrait turned out. Angie is so talented! I recently found out Callie has cancer and this portrait is going to end up as more of a memorial photo vs. one I would just have with her still being here with me. It means so much to me that Angie did this and was worth every penny. She is great with communication and always kept me in the loop. I will definitely be getting many future pet portraits by her! She is so popular that her waitlist may be a little long (I waited 2 years), but I promise she is worth the wait!!!!
Thank you a million times over Angie! I love my Callie girl 💕
Kirsty EllisKirsty Ellis
19:07 20 Jun 21
I couldn't be happier with my stunning portrait of my beautiful little girl. Angie did an amazing job of drawing her. My portrait is so life like and Angie was fantastic all the way through the process asking if I was happy so far and if I wanted any changes or adjustments done. I can wholeheartedly recommend her. What a precious keepsake to have. When my portrait arrived it was so well wrapped and packaged up. Thank you so much again Angie you have a truly amazing talent xxx
Dom CullenDom Cullen
14:47 25 Dec 20
Amazing service and quality products.
Bought my partner 'Tenderness' for Christmas and she loves it!
Highly recommended.
Emma LewisEmma Lewis
17:19 16 Nov 20
Couldn’t be happier with the two portraits Angie did of our dogs. They are absolutely beautiful and so life-like. Well worth the wait. Cant recommend enough
Heather BillingtonHeather Billington
15:53 29 Oct 20
Just received our portrait of Amber today and can honestly say it is absolutely stunning! Thank you so much Angie x
Wendy RobinsonWendy Robinson
15:05 20 Oct 20
i have brought 2 wonderful wildlife portraits from her
can not recommend her enough
Nicole HammillNicole Hammill
14:33 17 Aug 20
Angie was incredibly easy to work with and so helpful. The portraits are incredible. They look amazing, now framed, on the lounge wall and everyone remarks on them. The guy in the framing shop couldn't get over how fantastic they were and remarked that he had checked the website. Just brilliant - something I will treasure always. Thank you so much.🥰
Patricia HessPatricia Hess
11:05 14 Jun 20
From the beginning on Angie was a joy to work with. She was very kind and helpful. I loved that she kept me updated on every step of the process. That portrait itself is stunning and amazing... she really captured my dog‘s personality, spirit and especially his expressive eyes. There are no words to describe how much the drawing means to me. THANK YOU ANGIE! 💜👣👣
Rachel FoordRachel Foord
10:27 25 Apr 20
Received our fabulous portrait of our Labrador Lilly, its so amazing and life like, we are over the moon with how it has turned out, was worth every penny, thank for so much Angie😀
Mary AndersonMary Anderson
12:03 23 Apr 20
My Snow Leopard print has just arrived and I absolutely love it! The print is amazing, so life-like I feel I can practically stroke the fur. and touch the nose. I asked Angie to choose a suitable frame as I trusted her artistic eye and she has come up trumps! All I have to do is hang it on my wall. (Have to confess I was a bit worried about the delivery. Would there be any damage, for instance? I needn't have bothered worrying. The framed print was beautifully and securely wrapped and yet easy to unpack). I have no hesitation in saying "If you are thinking about getting this print, go for it. You won't be sorry!" Thank you, Angie.
Phil ShepperdPhil Shepperd
15:03 21 Apr 20
My Limited print Mountain spirit has just arrived. No words can say how impressive it is... simply stunning!! xx
Tracey NewmanTracey Newman
20:46 18 Jan 20
pictures are even more beautiful in person x love our picture xx
Hannah SouthonHannah Southon
14:26 13 Dec 19
I received one of the limited edition prints of the standing fox for my birthday. I can’t stop looking at it. There is so much soulfulness within it. It’s like it follows me around the room. Beautiful.
SCee AlliSCee Alli
12:17 12 Dec 19
I have just received my portrait in the post .
Packaged very well .. excellent professional presentation upon opening .
My cairn ‘Copper’ just comes alive .. she is so lifelike .. it’s a special moment
The attention Angie gives detail is amazing ..

I couldn’t recommend enough to anyone wanting to have a unique piece
This will now remain in my family for forever .
From start to finish Angie gives an excellent service ..
Pauline ParrPauline Parr
16:53 22 Nov 19
Her work is exceptional , so realistic you can see their souls shining in their eyes. love to see all the work in progress as well.
Philipp BernardPhilipp Bernard
21:11 21 Oct 19
Frau Piefke is still alive! Thank you for this great Portrait of her❤️❤️❤️❤️🥰🥰🥰🥰
Yours sincerely Philipp
Jo WaughJo Waugh
12:23 19 Sep 19
The whole experience from start to finish has been a joy. Angie is such a lovely friendly person who keeps you informed throughout your commission. My pencil portrait of my 2 dogs ,( Millie & Rocco) were absolutely out of this world, so lifelike. We can’t thank Angie enough, we’re over the moon with them. It came beautifully wrapped, the bow added a nice touch.
It’s now hanging on our wall & everyone who’s seen it thinks it’s brilliant.
Just wanted to let you know Angie....when we collected our portrait from the framers....he said, it was the best he’d ever seen. You are a very talented artist, Thankyou. X
Linda BlackLinda Black
14:13 17 Aug 19
Angie has such a gift, no only does she capture the animal she is drawing, but she is able to pull the personality out in her work. simply amazing. Professional product, with a collage of work in process to go with it. I LOVE mine
Cheryl BlackburnCheryl Blackburn
12:18 30 Jul 19
Angie is an amazing artist .l would put her with the "Greats" . Her work has so much detail and the care she takes when drawing a portrait shows in all that she does . The animals look like they are alive and any moment they will blink woof or move The way she captures the eyes is truly spectacular l would recommend her work to absolutely anyone .
John KimberleyJohn Kimberley
07:56 22 Jun 19
Every drawing without fail has been brilliant. Have enjoyed every one. Great admiration for a brilliant lady. Thanks for lighting up my days Angie. XX
Wendy FieldWendy Field
11:25 07 Jun 19
she has a fantastical talent!
Marrie RevillMarrie Revill
15:00 30 Apr 19
she is one very Talented Artists. I Love to see Her work.
Melissa AmiMelissa Ami
18:21 03 Apr 19
I had my first pet portrait done back in 2016 with Angie and I knew immediately I would be back again for another!

Angie's professionalism is faultless. She takes genuine interest in customer's pets making the service feel so personal which I'm sure must help capture the animal's personality.

I can't reccomend Angie enough, from day one through to receiving the beautifully packaged portrait I've felt like a very valued customer.

I don't have enough words to say just how perfect Lottie's portrait is. Thank you so very much.
Shana LeaShana Lea
16:12 31 Mar 19
Angie just recently drew my sweet Izzie for me. She was so easy to work with and communicate with. I will definitely be getting my other kitties drawn by her and I can’t wait!!
Karan Gillett BowenKaran Gillett Bowen
16:24 28 Mar 19
This was a wonderful experience from start to finish! Angie is so talented but above that wants to achieve an amazing portrait which the owner will love! Mission accomplished, I have just received my portrait of Lola and the presentation alone is amazing before you even get to the portrait itself! Beautifully wrapped and tied in a bow. Then you get to the portrait itself, it took my breath away and brought a tear it totally caught the expression of my girl. It is truly wonderful. Thank you Angie 💕
Carole GoodsonCarole Goodson
21:40 22 Mar 19
A very talented lady who has bought our Cookie back to life. Although Angie had never met Cookie it is like she knew him & you can see this in the ‘life’ she had put into his eyes. I have never met Angie but now feel I know her, as well as she knows Cookie.
Tina McCoyTina McCoy
23:11 16 Jan 19
From the onset Angie was a joy to work with, kind, helpful and very understanding. It’s clear she has a genuine love for animals. The moment the portrait arrived I could instantly see the pride and care Angie takes in her work. Not only was it well packaged but the presentation was stunning. The portrait was carefully wrapped with a personalised certificate of authenticity and instructions on how to care for it, such a special touch. The portrait of our sweet Yorkshire Terrier, Benji is breathtakingly beautiful. Angie’s talent has truly captured his spirit, personality and temperament. Benji has very expressive eyes. That intensity really comes through in Angie’s work. I can’t emphasise enough how Angie’s drawings bring the character of your pet to life. The portrait is something I will treasure for the rest of my life and I am so excited to have it framed. Thank you so much Angie for creating this amazing portrait of my boy, it has far exceeded my expectations and I could not be happier. You have raw talent and are so modest, sweet and helpful! If you are looking for a beautiful, thoughtful and quality gift for yourself or a pet lover friend then look no further ....... I promise, you will not be disappointed.
Philippa WebbPhilippa Webb
19:56 02 Nov 18
I really don't know how to express my gratitude to Angie for her absolutely stunning work. She is truly gifted. The portrait that Angie drew of my cat Peanut is absolutely perfect. I am in awe of the colouring and the detail. Angie managed to truly capture the likeness of my Peanut, and I can see her in those eyes. Those eyes! Angie's work is breathtaking and this portrait means so much to me. Angie was also an absolute pleasure to work with, lots of emails with updates and progress photos that I also cherish. Thank you again x
Jane Grey-CunninghamJane Grey-Cunningham
15:06 09 Oct 18
What a beautiful portrait we received on Monday! It took my breath away with the detail and capturing Billy’s character!! Angie I cannot thank you enough!! We are over the moon .... twice! �
Carol PowellCarol Powell
22:50 26 Sep 18
Angie is a highly talented artist. Her portrait of our dog is beyond wonderful. Everyone that has seen it is blown away. That is the absolute truth. #10!!!!
Lis van der GeerLis van der Geer
10:46 22 Sep 18
Gorgeous drawings, great artist!
Anita SheridanAnita Sheridan
13:56 01 Sep 18
Love seeing the finished portrait, but also how Angie gets there, showing part finished artwork - amazing work!
Meryl SeagerMeryl Seager
20:44 29 Aug 18
This afternoon I received Alfie's portrait from Angie, to say I am blown away is an understatement!! I'd seen work in progress pictures so knew from these that Angie had captured Alfie perfectly but seeing the actual portrait was something else entirely!! His eyes are so alive and I feel like he is looking at me!
Angie has been an absolute joy to deal with, she kept me informed through the whole process and made sure I was happy with the completed portrait before posting. The portrait was packaged so well and it felt very special unwrapping it and seeing it for the first time.
I cannot recommend Angie highly enough, her work is amazing.
Alison HallAlison Hall
07:12 01 Jul 18
This has to be the most realistic artwork I've ever seen. Superb. I love it. From start to finish the the communication was brilliant and it's been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you Angie I would give you 10 stars � x
Sybell BrettSybell Brett
23:14 23 Jun 18
Wow! I've new fb page and decided to look you up again...i scrolled through lots & lots of people's pets before I found Benji....he still has pride of place in my front room....people still admire his portrait and ask...WHO? Did it for you..im happy to say From Angie with Love...look her up on fb.....love my boys portrait very very much xx.
Magalie FrascellaMagalie Frascella
06:16 21 Mar 18
C'est magnifiquement bien fait , c'est magique il y a de la vie on dirait en définitive qui sont réel il faut continuer ça donne du rêve et dans la vie si dur on en a besoin du rêve.
Kari Owens RichardsKari Owens Richards
23:58 19 Mar 18
Just saw a picture of a Wire Hair Fox Terrier today!! It is absolutely beautiful and AMAZING!!
Jeffreys AbsJeffreys Abs
12:01 12 Mar 18
Rikita Marie PetitRikita Marie Petit
08:48 11 Mar 18
Nesro DessinateurNesro Dessinateur
20:58 07 Mar 18
Didi Dorais FréchetteDidi Dorais Fréchette
04:23 04 Mar 18
Tamara SenderTamara Sender
07:48 03 Mar 18
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