Coloured Pencils

There are quite a few different makes of pencil crayons or coloured pencils available. The blendable pencils are preferable and ideally the pencil lead should be soft enough to be easily blended and yet hard enough to be able to sharpen without breaking. You will need to invest in a really good pencil sharpener as the pencils need a sharp point!

After a quick Internet search I have found that the main brands available in the UK pages are Derwent, Faber Castell and Caran D'Ache. Artists seem to prefer Faber Castell as the poll on the following web page shows.

Faber Castell polychromos have a large range of colours and they last quite well however they are expensive. FC also make a pencil called art grip which is cheaper blends really well and the leads do not break so easily.

Please comment if you have found another pencil superior as these are only the opinions and short experience of a beginner.


This is a technique for colouring the back of the parchment using Dorso oil pastels (or other makes such as Faber Castell) to create soft backgrounds for your designs. The crayons are applied and then rubbed out with a folded piece of kitchen paper to give a really muted background.

Click here to link to a video from ceparching showing how to use dorsing to colour backgrounds.


I thought I would give a beginners guide to the brand names of inks and paints, pens etc and give a brief description of what they are because it is not obvious. What are Tinta inks, Pintura paints, Pinta Perla paints, Perga colours, Perga liners and Dorso crayons?

Tinta inks

There are three types, white, metallic and transparent. They all mix with water but when dry are resistant to water.
White is used for tracing. You have to shake the pot before using it.
Metallic , silver and gold, can also be shaken but the bits quickly fall to the bottom so it is best to give it a stir with a small cocktail stick or similar. Two coats are advised.
Transparent inks are available in about 10 colours and you can mix them to create the shade you want.

Pintura paints are quick drying acrylics so use a damp brush, a little goes a long way.

Pinta Perla is a water based acrylic paint which gives a pearly sheen.

Perga Color are water based felt tip pens, you can mix colours together on a palette

Perga Liners are pencil crayons, they come in oil based and water colour or aquarelle.

Dorso crayons are oil pastels and can be used to colour the back of parchment. They can be applied with zest it or turpentine.

Perforating mats and Embossing mats

I found mats quite a confusing subject until I realised that they come in various thicknesses and materials. The thinner rubber mats 1.5mm are the best for embossing and the thicker around 10mm made of dense foam are to be used with perforating tools. You can buy all the mats in A4,A5 and A3 sizes. Neither of these should be used however if you are using colouring pencils, they require a hard surface! I have also seen felt mats advertised for both embossing and perforating I have no experience of these but if they were good it could save money. Anyone used one?

Back to basics- Tracing


Starting a parchment project involves transferring an image from a line drawing or picture on to parchment. This can be done with white pencil, or an ordinary pencil, a mapping pen and white or coloured inks, or a micron pen.

White pencil – this seems to be the most used method. The benefits are that you can emboss the picture on the back and then turn over and rub out the pencil easily.

Ordinary pencil can be used if there is, for example, perforations to be made within a certain area and white pencil would be difficult to see. It is of course rubbed out afterwards.

White Tinta ink- this gives a different look to the parchment. It is quite an important skill to learn how to use the mapping pen correctly.

Coloured Tinta ink- black for example can give a picture , impact.

So, to get started tracing you need parchment paper of 150 / 160 gsm and a white pencil or mapping pen and ink and a pattern or picture.

Click on the Heading above to link to a Pergamano video on tracing.

Parchment techniques: Sunday, August 01


I have just finished a rather a rather large area of grid work. A few weeks ago I was cutting quite tatty x cuts even though I had tried changing from snips to gold scissors and back again, after a lot of advice I think I have improved dramatically. I think the trick is confidence, and you only get that with practise, so if anyone is struggling with a technique, just keep trying.

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