Want to start drawing but not sure what you need? Here is a complete list of drawing supplies which I use from time to time.
Pencils / Charcoal
For drawing, you have two options - graphite or charcoal.
There is no inherent reason why you would choose pencil or charcoal over the other. Neither does more or less than the other, but they do have different characteristics.
Graphite is what you are probably already accustomed to. Graphite pencils are your day-to-day pencils. However for artistic purposes, it is recommended you invest in higher quality graphite pencils which are more refined and allow for smoother application onto paper.
Graphite pencils come in an almost full range of values, as follows:
9H, 8H, 7H, 6H, 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, H, HB, F, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B, 9B
You do not need a full range of graphite pencils, but it is recommended you have a general range so you can hit those different values.
Graphite pencils are made using a mixture of graphite powder and a clay filler. The hardness of a graphite pencil is determined by the ratio of powder to filler (with more filler giving a harder pencil).
Graphite pencils come in many forms:
- Encased in wood (your standard wooden pencil)
- Woodless pencil
- Stick form
Charcoal can be more messy/dusty but easier to blend than graphite.
Personally, I enjoy using charcoal for very freehand and non-technical drawings, or parts of a drawing. I prefer using graphite for more precise results.
I wrote more about artist pencils here.
For practicing, I recommend the following Newsprint Paper. This is not archival and will yellow over time, so this is not for your large studio works.
For your more serious artworks, you will need archival paper to work on. Arches 88 Silk Screen Paper is a great archival option.
A kneaded eraser is just like your standard eraser with the added benefit of being able to mould it into different shapes.
This means you can mould the eraser into a sharp edge to erase fine details in your drawing or a large mass to quickly erase large areas.
You are able to knead the eraser to clean it up a bit and dilute some of the pencil dust it has picked up.
One of your most important purchases.
You should end up having various sketchbooks to suit different needs. For example, I have a small sketchbook which is very portable. I take this sketchbook on the road.
For when I am in the studio and have more time and space, I will use my larger sketchbooks.
To strip away the wood encasing the your graphite or charcoal. This will give you a much more versatile pencil to work with. Will be able to make wide, gestural strokes with the side of the pencil. On the other hand, you can use the tip to create thin and precise lines.
For keeping your pencil sharp without stripping away further material by using a sharpener or razer.
For sharpening your standard pencils. Make sure the sharpener is not too thick or thin.
Charcoal power can be used to darken areas on your paper quicker than using a pencil. You can use charcoal power to create a soft, atmospheric effect.
Brushes (For Blending)
You can use brushes to softly blend the graphite or charcoal on your paper to soften the appearance.
A clipboard provides a portable and firm surface to draw on.
A must have for protecting your finished drawings. Your spray fixative should be acid free and archival and will protect your drawing from smudging, yellowing and wrinkling.
Most spray fixatives can also be erased if changes to the artwork are needed.
Scrap Paper Or Bridge (To Rest Your Hand)
This will help avoid smudging your art as you work.