HomeArt ArticlesSkills and TechniquesBasic Art Supplies For Drawing

Basic Art Supplies For Drawing

Whether you’re taking an art class or just want to try your hand at learning how to draw, welcome to the wonderful world of drawing. Unlike other media like oil painting or watercolors, drawing is one of the easiest modes of art to pick up because you don’t need to invest in all that many supplies. Even the ones you do need to use to get started will only run you between $20 and $50 as long as you shop wisely and don’t start off with more supplies than you actually need. Here are a few of the art supplies you’ll want to pick up to start drawing and a few hints at how you can find them inexpensively.

    Drawing Paper/Sketchbook

    The first and most basic thing you will need to buy to start drawing is something to draw on. You’ll want to pick up some high quality drawing paper from an art supply store. While you’re there, you will notice that there are all different kinds of paper. Some are smooth, like the writing and printer paper you are probably used to using in everyday life, while others have a very rough texture. The “tooth” of the paper is the measurement of how rough or smooth your drawing surface will be. The type of paper you choose will determine how much graphite sticks to your paper and how easy it is to accomplish shading. When you’re first starting out, it’s best to try out a few different types of paper to see which you prefer. While buying drawing paper can be expensive, you should try to take advantage of some of the great coupons many art supply stores offer. Michaels, for instance, almost always has a coupon for 40% off one item available on their mobile app.


    When you are first getting started learning to draw, your most important tool will be your graphite pencils. You will find that there are more grades of pencil than you likely ever realized existed, and the numbers and letters on each pencil correspond to how hard or soft the graphite is. Harder pencils will create lighter lines on your paper while softer pencils will create darker lines. In general, pencils with an “H” in their name are the hardest while those with a “B” in their name are softer. Beginning artists should start off with 2H (hardest), HB, 2B, 4B, and 6B (softest) pencils. You can either pick up these pencils individually at an art supply store or buy a kit that comes with all of these basic pencils and a few more on Amazon.com.


    Even the most advanced artists make the occasional mistakes, so you will want high quality erasers to get rid of any unwanted lines. There are two types of erasers you should buy when you are starting out—a vinyl (or plastic) eraser and a kneaded eraser. The vinyl/plastic eraser will be the kind you are used to having on the back of traditional pencils, but of a higher quality. These erasers completely get rid of lines or marks that you want to eradicate from your drawing without being too rough on your paper. Kneaded erasers, on the other hand are an interesting little tool to work with in your drawings. They can be molded into whatever shape you want to erase with, and you pat them onto the area you want to erase rather than rubbing. They don’t leave behind any nasty eraser crumbs, and they can be used to lighten certain areas of your drawings without totally erasing them. Both types of erasers can be found at your art supply store, though they will also likely come standard in the kits with your pencils.


    A good pencil sharpener will be invaluable to keep your pencils in their best shape while drawing. Stay away from electrical gadgets and instead opt for the simple, old-fashioned handheld pencil sharpener. You will note that pencil sharpeners often wear away the wooden portion of your pencils more quickly than necessary. To prevent this issue, you should also buy a sandpaper block. Sandpaper blocks have pieces of sandpaper that can be torn off and discarded, and you can use these pieces to sharpen only the tip of your pencil without wearing away the wood. Extend the life of your expensive pencils while always keeping them sharp.

Once you have picked up this relatively short list of art supplies, you will be ready to start drawing like a professional. As you learn more and become more advanced, you can add to your arsenal, but this beginner’s kit should be all that you need to get started learning how to draw.

About the Author:
Clare Tames is a self-employed freelance graphic designer, formidable cook, and avid reader. She written on contemporary and classical art in various print publications, and is just now beginning a writing career online. She works out of her home office in California, where her two children attend high school.

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