I like drawing as a hobby and after practising sketching with a pencil for a year or so I recently started using colour pencils and soft pastels and I was wondering what kind of painting tools would I need to create as beautiful a picture this one?

enter image description here

English is not my native language and I don't really know about artist`s terms, so please forgive any errors thank you all in advance.

  • 1
    I have a pretty good idea that this is probably digital art... Which it is. A google image search turns it up to be "Xanadu" buy Ming Fan. It can be seen along with other works of his here. This isn't to say that you couldn't create this on paper but it would likely be very difficult.
    – Catija
    Jul 19, 2016 at 19:17

4 Answers 4


While the specific example you found turns out to be digital art, the style it's reproducing is oil painting. (And acrylic, but acrylic arose as a way to paint in oils minus the long drying time.) Gingerbread Cottage by Thomas KinkadeSource

Note that a talented artist can achieve the same effect with watercolors, too:
A Cake Walk by Eric ChristensenSource

... but IMO such painting is hard enough without pushing your materials to their limits.

  • I think they may be wondering about things such as types of brushes
    – user24
    Jul 20, 2016 at 6:50
  • 3
    @CreationEdge: I meant "oil painting" as the category, complete with whatever that entails: canvas, brushes, paints, supplementary mediums (e.g. for glazes), varnishes, etc. (And if someone really doesn't know the first thing about oil painting, then it's gonna be many, many years before they can produce anything resembling these paintings.)
    – Martha
    Jul 20, 2016 at 13:25

This image was created digitally (as a few have mentioned) however, that doesn't mean that the same sort of style can't be achieved with traditional mediums. I think what it comes down to in this case is which medium do you feel like you can handle skill-wise and money-wise at this point in time.

For example- you can create the same effects in oil paints, but it can be expensive, and much more time-consuming than dry mediums like pencils. For this, you'd need the oil paints, a variety of oil brushes, a few palette knives, and either turpentine or turpenoid just to get started.

You can also get similar effects in watercolor paint. For this, get a variety of watercolor brushes (do NOT use the same brushes as you use with oil paints, as the oil and water won't mix), the paints (tubes are great), and make sure the paper you use is specifically made to handle the buckling that happens with watercolor.

However, I think a question you can ask yourself if you just started a year ago is do you want to start painting, or do you enjoy dry mediums enough that it can wait until you're more advanced? You can make similar beautiful pieces with the mediums you have already used.

This was created with ballpoint pen. This was created with pastels.

Not every artist is a painter, and not all beautiful artworks are paintings. In the interest of being well-rounded, painting is certainly a great step, and you can learn a lot doing it, but it's definitely an altogether different ball game than drawing. While the principles are the same, the techniques are completely different.


Seems a digital painting to me as well. So to make something like this you would need a graphic tablet (something like Wacom Bamboo, which is cheaper, for new users) and a digital illustration program (something like Photoshop, Paint Tool SAI or if you want something FREE you can start with the GIMP). These programs are not easy to use at first, but the web is full of tutorials that might help you learning the basics.

If you want to make something like this but with a traditional medium, I think you can do it even with pencils, if you're talented (and you have a good variety/brand of pencils). For example: http://morgandavidsonart.tumblr.com/post/155457148338/glowing-rose-colored-pencil-drawing (I know it's a different subject, but I think the style and use of pencils might be suitable for making art like the one you showed us)

enter image description here

I would say that in general, you can reach this results with many mediums, but you have to really know the tool you're using (pros, cons and limits). If you feel that you cannot do this with pencils right now, don't give up and keep drawing! That's the key to improvement and the FIRST thing that will allow you to achieve your goal.


Every gift, and talent is a gift, comes with suffering. If you are a detail oriented artist then your torture, albeit an exquisite pain, requires exceptional perspective, memory, focus and dedication. There are ultra realists who produce works in different mediums that cannot be distinguished from photographs and fantasy artists, the category I'd put your example into, who boggle the mind with detail and imagination.

Not to sound flippant but, maybe consider using a projector and any other aid to give you an absolute detailed drawing before you apply color. Commercial artists have been projecting since the camera came into the picture. (pun intended)

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