top of page

Brushes, Paints and Pencils for the Gemstone Artists - All of the materials I use in my drawings

Updated: Jul 31

I'm often asked about my journey as an artist, which began during the pandemic in 2020. With many jewellery stores closed due to lockdowns in the UK, I found myself with ample time at home to explore a new hobby connected to gemmology.

The first step was to determine which medium worked best for me. As a self-proclaimed Amazon fan, I quickly stocked up on art supplies with just a few clicks.

I experimented with various materials, including pencils, watercolours, gouache, acrylics, and marker pens. However, my favourite is the Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils, which produce vivid colours and are easy to blend.

For those interested, here is a list of the drawing and painting materials I use.

I have also included an Amazon link to the products for easy purchase.


The Classic Black Pencil (Your best friend)

I use Staedtler Mars Clutch 2mm Pencil.

This is a fantastic and affordable pencil that will last your a very long time. I got mine from Amazon for £8.00. Refills are 6 in a pack for £5.00

  • Leadholder for drawing, sketching and writing

  • For 2 mm leads e.g. Mars carbon 200

  • With metal clip, push-button and grip zone

  • Integrated lead sharpener in push-button

  • HB lead

  • Hardness-degree indication on clip

Link to Amazon Product - Pencil -

Link to Amazon Product - Refills -


The Must-Have Sharpeners

This is a must if you use Coloured pencils as if you aren't sharpening them, your lines are not going to be refined. I use 2 sharpeners, the first one is by Staedler for my Black Pencil, and the other one is by Faber-Castell for all of my coloured pencils

Faber-Castell Trio Pencil Sharpener Tub Box GRIP 2001 Silver

  • Trio sharpening box for graphite and colour pencils, standard and jumbo sizes

  • Ergonomic triangular shape

  • Large container for sharpening

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £5


Staedtler Mars Lead Pointer Tub - Sharpener For 2mm Pencil Leads

  • Sharpener for 2 mm leads

  • Automatic sharpening stop

  • With measurement device for adjusting sharpening cone

  • Metal lead sharpener

  • Integrated dust wiper

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £10



Image - Amazon

This is so important to me as without it, I could not complete one of my drawings. This Electric eraser from Amazon brand Eono is super fun to use and takes seconds to remove the excess pencil marks and any mistake lines you may do (we are not perfect so it's normal to make mistakes)

Here is a bit more about this eraser:

  • Good quality, reliable and comes with 22 replacement refills (Diameter 2.3mm 10 pcs and 5mm 12 pcs), easy to remove and replace.

  • Controlling it with a small button, and a light touch are all required to remove marks, The ergonomic plastic handle makes the electric eraser very comfortable to hold.

  • Whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist, the Electric Eraser is equally suitable for hobby artists and professionals alike --Powered by 2 AAA batteries (not included).

  • Suitable for graphite, coloured and pastel pencils, Ideal for small highlight, work well for drawing, office or school work

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £8


Faber Castell Kneadable Art Eraser

Image - Amazon

After I draw my facets and the lines of the project I'm working on I tend to remove most of the pencil marks with this Kneadable Eraser from Faber-Castell by simply dabbing the eraser on the lines and you see how they disappear.

  • Ergonomically shaped quality eraser for soft corrections, which is smudge and PVC-free

  • KNEADABLE – This eraser is extremely kneadable and absorbent. It can be used for cleaning slides and final drawing touch-ups.

  • Ideal – This eraser is ideal for graphite and coloured pencils. It is the perfect drawing eraser choice for artists, sketch pencils and drawing supplies. It can correct and lighten Charcoal, pencil and pastel work

  • Essential – This is a must-have

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £3


Art Paper

Paper is very important when it comes to working with different mediums. I have tried quite a few but keep coming back to my first which is by Clairefontaine and it's called


A real mix-media, this paper is suitable for drawing with pencil, felt-tip pen or pen but is also perfectly suited to gouache, ink or acrylic. This PEFC-certified paper is acid-free and pH-neutral for perfect preservation of drawings over time.

MATCHING PAINTON PAPER: this 100% cellulose paper is THE perfect compromise between dry and wet techniques! Thanks to its heavy weight, this versatile paper resists scratching and supports several coats. It also has good absorption capacity.

Did I say that this paper is also available in different colours and sizes? I tend to use the White A4 size and if I need an A5, I just cut the A4 in half.


Clairefontaine - Ref 975410C - Paint'ON Multi-Technique Assorted Colour Paper Pad (24 Sheets) - A4 Size, 250gsm

Great for beginners as with this pack you will get 6 different colours to work with

Image - Clairefontaine

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £10


Clairefontaine - Ref 96537C - Paint'ON Multi-Technique Glued Paper Pad (40 Sheets) - A4 Size, 250gsm

Image - Clairefontaine

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £10


Clairefontaine - Ref 975169C - Paint'ON Multi-Technique Black Paper Pad (20 Sheets) - A4 Size, 250gsm

Image - Clairefontaine

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £10


Clairefontaine - Ref 96540C - Paint'ON Multi-Technique Naturel Paper Pad (30 Sheets) - A4 Size, 250gsm

Image - Clairefontaine

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £10


Clairefontaine - Ref 975809C - Paint'ON Multi-Technique Grey Glued Paper Pad (30 Sheets) - A4 Size, 250gsm

Image - Clairefontaine

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £10


Coloured Pencils

I'm obsessed with the Faber-Castell Polychromos Coloured Pencils as they are so vivid

Image Faber-Castell

and very easy to blend, I've been using them pretty much since day one and am so used to them. Practice getting the right pressure and coverage right.

Faber-Castell Polychromos artists' colour pencils from Faber Castell are of the highest quality. Their soft waterproof waxy leads are smooth and resistant to smudging.

Polychromos artists’ colour pencils are valued for their matchless quality by professional artists around the world. Their high standard ensures that Polychromos artists' colour pencils are ideal for use in the graphic arts, for free artistic expression, and for the precise colouring of plans. Faber-Castell's quality standards are applied consistently throughout the manufacturing process.


Download a FREE Polychromos Colour Swatch here to print at home

Polychromos Pencils Chart - Swatch by Gemmology Obsession
Download PDF • 120KB


Here are some images of my Ruby drawing showing the different stages and how vivid the Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils are.

Purchase Ruby Print Here

TIP: You don't need to splash out hundreds of pounds to get the full set of 120 pencils (You probably won't use half of them) Invest in the 24 Pack which is around £30 and every time you need a colour, purchase them individually. Also, there is a pencil chart inside the box with all of their colours, I tend to tick each one I get so I don't double up. A good tip is also to purchase a pencil case like the one above

Amazon Link to Product -


Use a makeup brush when drawing with pencils to sweep off any excess pencils on the paper. This way you won't smudge or leave any marks (I used to use my hand or blow on the paper and that didn't go so well)



Who is a fan of Stencils?

I love working with stencils due to the perfect lines you get and the no time spent on trying to draw a circle. The stencils I use are by Liquidraw and are made specifically for Jewellery Designers. One of my favourite stencils is the Round Brilliant cut - Art No 2015 with the face-up and pavilion view and carat chart.

Image by Liquidraw

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £8


This Stencil is great for all around Gemstone shapes

Image by Liquidraw

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £12

They do get a bit pricey when you purchase them in one go, but it's something you will have for a very long time.

Here is Liquidraw's Store on Amazon so you can see their full collection


Waterbased Fineliner Pens

Those Fineliner are great to add touches of bright colours to your artwork or why not draw completely with them, the choice is all yours

ARTEZA Fineliner Pens Inkonic

  • Fine Precision Tips: These colouring pens have 0.4 mm fine tips that are clad with hard metal casings for precision & durability. Perfect for fine, detailed work with rulers & stencils.

  • Smudge-Free & Acid-Free Ink: These colourful artist fineliners contain acid-free ink that dries quickly without smudging. Perfect for lefthanded artists too

Price: Around £30 for a set of 72

Link to Amazon Product -



The term gouache was first used in France in the eighteenth century to describe a type of paint made from pigments bound in water-soluble gum, like watercolour, but with the addition of a white pigment in order to make it opaque.

This is a medium that I don't have much experience with due to my personal preference towards coloured pencils. But that said, I have tried a few times to paint with Designers Gouache and the colours are stunning (when you get the consistency right).

Here is an Emerald cut Emerald I painted a few years ago using Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache. I would say you have to practice, watch plenty of beginner's videos and sign up for a course if there is one near you. Once you master it, there will be no stopping you :)

Purchase Emerald Print Here

Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache

Winsor & Newton have been producing Designers Gouache since 1935 and to this day they continue to offer the finest artists' gouache range available.

Designers Gouache colours are a range of opaque water colours, mainly used by designers, illustrators and commercial artists to create vibrant illustrations in solid colour. Gouache is also widely used in fine art as an opaque watercolour.

The Designer's Gouache range benefits from significant developments in technology and is smoother, flatter, more opaque and more brilliant than ever before.

This ideal starter set has a selection of ten 14ml tubes including Primary Yellow, Permanent Yellow Deep, Spectrum Red, Primary Red, Ultramarine, Primary Blue, Permanent Green Middle, Yellow Ochre, Ivory Black, and Zinc White.

This set will be perfect for a beginner, also there are many more colours you can purchase individually via Amazon or from your local Art store

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £30



Image Winsor & Newton

Watercolours are a great choice to paint too for many designers. You can mix them with gouache and coloured pencils mediums and they are all around great choice to have in your stockpile

  • FINE ART PIGMENTS-Cotman Watercolours uses fine art pigments with a reduced pigment load than the Professional Watercolour range, making them an accessible choice while still uncompromising on quality.

  • TRANSPARENT COLOUR - Formulated to create uniform consistency, the transparent quality of Cotman Watercolour is perfect for new users.

  • LIGHTFAST AND PERMANENT - Rated AA and A for Excellent and Good lightfastness, Cotman Watercolour gives artists the reassurance expected from a quality watercolour range

  • Half-pan colours are ideal to use whilst travelling. Half pans are popular with artists who paint infrequently, as the paints may be left for long periods of time between uses, without affecting their quality

Winsor & Newton, Cotman Watercolour, 'Studio Set', 45 x Half Pans

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £40



My favourite brushes are by Winsor & Newton (I'm sure you can see a brand theme going here) and they are called - Winsor & Newton, Cotman Watercolour Synthetic Brushes, Short Handle, Pack of 7

  • Mixed fibre widths give excellent spring and superior paint loading. Perfect with Cotman watercolours.

  • Cotman watercolour Brushes are very popular, due to their blend of differing thickness fibres. The thicker fibres give strength and spring whilst the thinner fibres improve colour-carrying capacity.

Image by Winsor & Newton

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £20



Palettes are a must when painting, there are so many plates you can use from your kitchen, but there is nothing better than having a palette that you can close and go back to the colours after a few days. I found this pallet below to be very useful and it's also leakproof and stylish.

Image by Manci

Keeps Paint Fresh – This palette has a silicone seal on the lid, which is great for keeping the paint moist. Simply use it as a storage of your colours protected from light and in a dust-free environment. Wet the colours with a sponge when dry and simply reuse them

Easy to Clean - super flat, non-porous surface allows you to easily wash out and clean colours on your palette without any residuals. So you never have to worry about your new colour being impure

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £17



I have 2 all-time favourite books when it comes to Jewellery design

Jewellery Illustration and Design: Techniques for Achieving Professional Results

Image by Promopress

This book analyzes the fundamental aspects of graphically depicting a wide variety of jewellery. The relationships of volume, the balance between the full and empty, the treatment of metal surfaces, warm and cool materials and the relationship between the support and the stone are explained in depth along with ways to illuminate jewellery, treatment of light and chiaroscuro play to add depth. The book begins with simple geometric structures and moves on to explore more complex forms through a range of distortions and multiplications. The goal is not to show finished pieces of jewellery but to provide the tools that will enable readers to acquire a work method that allows them to represent their ideas effectively.

by Manuela Brambatti (Author), Cosimo Vinci (Author)

Image from Book

Image from Book

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £25


Jewellery Illustration and Design, Vol.2: From the Idea to the Project

Image by Hoaki

Having learned about geometry, perspective and representation of materials in the first volume, this second book in this two-part series delves deeper into the process of designing jewellery, from the first sketch to the final representation, with special emphasis on how to work on ideas, plan a collection, and design and depict a wide variety of pieces. The fundamentals of drawing different pieces, such as necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets, are carefully explained and illustrated in the book, which includes all the technical details to be taken into consideration when planning a jewellery piece, from the executive point of view. While the first volume focused on the tools needed to be able to accurately convey ideas, draw different materials, facets and effects, and master the use of colour, this publication tackles the process from the initial idea, based on natural or geometrical forms, to the final drawing of the completed piece, including illustration techniques and sources of inspiration, all aspects that will stir up the reader's creativity. It is the ultimate tool and resource for jewellery students and professionals, and even illustrators in search of professional guidelines in freehand drawing and painting techniques when representing jewellery.

by Manuela Brambatti (Author), Cosimo Vinci (Author)

Image from Book

Link to Amazon Product -

Price: Around £25


Thank you for reading my blog on "The Gemstone Artist's Brushes, Paints and Pencils" I

really enjoyed writing this up and I'm so glad I did it.

Feel free to share my blog and don't forget to tag me


PS. Please only use my images with permission!

P.S x 2 - I have purchased each item above and none of the products is given to me to promote them. All of the above are my opinions. Some text is used from the items description on Amazon.

*Disclaimer: I'm part of the Amazon Associates program and I earn a commission on the items purchased above. This way you are helping me run Gemmology Obsession and I can continue doing what I love. (And buy more books and Instruments for me to review)

bottom of page