Almost everybody loved drawing when they were a kid. It was fun, relaxing, and satisfying. Back then, we would just grab any pencil and start doodling. Just that would be enough to have a good time.
But a pencil won’t take you far if you want to start taking art seriously. It’s still fun to doodle on random paper, but you won’t be able to truly express yourself or create works of art that you can be proud of.
The tools that we use are very important in how the final product comes out. You wouldn’t want to get in a car made out of wood, right? Materials matter! The same goes for art, you can’t create your masterpiece with a basic pencil and notebook paper.
That’s why we put together this list of the 7 essential drawing supplies for beginners. No matter your age, you’re sure to find the right drawing supplies for getting serious about art.
1. A Sketchbook
Sketchbooks are essential to your growth as an artist. Much like how basketball players need to practice their free shots to excel in real games, you need to practice technical drawing skills to be more comfortable drawing.
Sketch paper is the best material for your pencil. It has the perfect texture, resistance, and thickness. Any paper could do just fine, but sketchbook paper is the best for artists.
Another thing about sketchbooks is that they can be learning tools. You can look back on them to see what you need to improve on, what has already improved, and your general progress. One of the most satisfying things as an artist is flipping through a completed sketchbook.
We recommend this Strathmore Sketchpad. It’s 11 by 14 inches—Perfect for beginning artists! With 100 sheets, you won’t be running out of drawing space anytime soon.
2. Drawing Pencils
Any pencil is capable of creating art, but it may limit your creativity. You can’t do complex shading or coloring with any old pencil.
In school, every multiple-choice test required a number 2 pencil. That’s because the machines were only able to read that specific hardness rating. What’s a hardness rating?
Every pencil’s graphite core falls on the graphite grading scale. These numbers and letters indicate how dark the marking of the pencil is going to be.
For artists: this means that you should be using pencils with different hardness ratings. It’ll give you more freedom in how dark or light you want your markings to be. Harder pencils are good for early sketches and lighter lines. Softer pencils can give you a rich, dark color.
We would recommend these drawing pencils from Derwent. They’re sturdy, reliable, and range a large variety of options.
3. Regular and Kneaded Erasers
Erasers could fix any mistakes while drawing. But a typical eraser might tear your paper or leave a stain. It could potentially dramatize the mistake and ruin the drawing.
Artists need more control when drawing. They need a reliable option for tweaking parts of the drawing.
We recommend always having two types of erasers: plastic/rubber (what’s most popular) and kneaded erasers.
Check out this plastic eraser from Staedtler. It’s reliable and gets the job done.
Kneaded erasers don’t feel like normal erasers. They feel like putty. These erasers are soft and squishy because they don’t use friction to remove pencil markings. They pull the graphite from the paper and absorb it.
You can knead the eraser (hence the name) to shape it into whatever size you need.
4. A Pencil Sharpener
Since you’ve invested a good amount of money into your drawing pencils, you should take care of them. A good pencil sharpener can extend a pencil’s lifetime.
We would suggest this one from Prismacolor.
If you prefer a manual pencil sharpener, then invest in a sturdy metal one. A cheap, plastic one could sharpen your pencil poorly and shorten its lifespan.
5. Colored Pencils
Colored pencils can be found almost everywhere. But not all colored pencils are made equal.
You want a nice set of colored pencils that can create a rich, beautiful drawing that perfectly expresses what you had envisioned.
These Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils do a beautiful job of coloring the page. The pencils layer nicely on top of each other. They feel like butter on paper and are super soft. Keep in mind that they break easily, but only because that’s what makes them effective.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, then this Tombow Color Pencil Set has all the essential colors a beginner would need.
6. A Stainless Steel Ruler
A ruler could help you draw straight lines. They can also help you measure lines (which you will very rarely need to do, if ever).
They are an essential drawing supply for beginners, as it makes straight lines so much easier. But any stainless steel ruler could do the job. They’re easy to clean and are sturdy enough to put pressure against.
7. A Drawing Board
A drawing board could provide a sturdy surface for you to draw on. They’re necessary if you like drawing outside or on your bed.
If you have a nice desk, then feel free to skip out on this one.
This drawing board from Drawing Advantage is nicely sized, affordable, and has useful clips with a rubber band.
Not-So Essential Drawing Supplies for Beginners
These drawing supplies aren’t absolutely necessary, but they’re still nice to have.
The first is a dedicated drawing space. Just a little spot for creativity and drawing. It could be a desk in the corner of your room or a spot outside where you find inspiration. If you have a desk with drawers or a shelf nearby, then you can keep your sketchpads there to be reminded of your progress.
The second is a color wheel. A color wheel is a wheel with different colors on it, displaying the relationship between colors. If you find yourself asking, “What color would look nice here?”, check the color wheel! You can just print out this picture here or download it to your phone.
Being a new artist is definitely intimidating. There are a lot of new things to consider. But it’s all worth it. When you complete a piece of work you’re proud of, it’s incredible.
We hope that this list helped you! If you’re reading this for an aspiring little artist, then check out our guide on teaching kids to draw.