Did you find your way here because you want to try something new, but you’re completely unsure of exactly how to start, or what supplies you may need for your new adventure? Are you trying to figure out which drawing supplies you need to get started?
Whatever brought you here, welcome! This post is for you: the beginners, who really don’t have any idea what they’re doing, but want to try anyway. Takes a lot of guts to try something new!
So where do you start when you don’t have a clue?
I’ve broken down the very basic supplies needed for getting into the art of drawing. My hope is that this list will give you a good understanding of which supplies you’ll need, and which ones you may want to wait to pick up.
That being said, keep in mind that your own personal preference is going to play into your shopping list depending on what you’d like to accomplish. What some might find useless, others may be lost without. The main objective of this list of supplies is to give you an idea of where to start.
Here are some drawing supplies to get you started
This is a given, but did you know there are different types of pencils? I’m not only talking about wooden and mechanical here. The graphite for each pencil is different. To put that simply, some pencils will appear lighter on paper, while other will appear very dark.
To get started, you don’t need the full variety at your fingertips. While a lot of places sell full sets of pencils with a range of 6H through to 8B, you don’t need all of them to get started. If you choose to buy a full set, you will be set up for a while. But if you’re a beginner looking for the bare minimum, try to get your hands on a 2H, HB, 2B, and 4B.
Pencils will be clearly marked on the side in most cases, indicating which type they are. (Little hint: H stands for “hard”, while B stands for “black”. That way you always know right away what the pencils will look like in use.)
Not all paper is created equally. Some paper is thick, some thin. Some are super smooth, others have more teeth and feel almost gritty when you draw.
Whatever drawing project you want to do, you’re going to need paper. While some people prefer working on loose sheets, it’s pretty standard practice for an artist to fill a sketchbook to the brim with graphite. The choice really is yours, whether you’d like a nice hardcover book, a coiled pad, or some printer paper.
I worked on printer paper for years. I still use it on occasion when I feel like I need to sketch something that I don’t mind getting thrown out or crinkled up. It’s a good place to start, and it’s SUPER cheap. Not that sketchbooks have to be expensive, but most people have a printer at home already that they can swipe paper from.
What’s a pencil without an eraser?
Okay, so an eraser might not be necessary for those die-hards out there who insist on perfection with every line. But the entire point of using a pencil for drawing is to have the freedom to fix any mistakes.
While you don’t need to spend a lot of money on an entire variety of erasers, it’s good to have some options. I won’t break down what each type of eraser is best for in this post. (That may come in the future.) What I will say is that I personally prefer a standard white eraser over most other types available. I have a whole stash of them scattered throughout my house so there’s always one within reach.
Another type of eraser that a lot of artists swear by is the grey kneaded kind. (I also have fond memories of my friend sculpting things out of them in high school.) I don’t have any particular attachment to this type of eraser, but they are pretty handy for detail work.
There is another type of eraser that I’ve noticed making the rounds more recently, and finally becoming more readily available. This is the black eraser. It sounds a little counter-intuitive, but these things are AMAZING. And yes, they actually are black in colour. They have been the absolute best eraser I have ever used, hands down. Seriously, they are worth buying to have in your kit.
The next thing you’re going to need is a good sharpener. As with everything else, the type and brand is up to you. And in some cases, it will even depend on what type of pencil you are using.
A good sharpener won’t cost you a lot, and it’ll definitely be worth it. You can pick up a decent one at your local box store, or go to a craft store and find something for under five bucks.
The only thing I will recommend specifically is getting one that’s enclosed. Not because they are better, but because they contain the mess created when sharpening your tools. It might not seem like much, but you’ll thank yourself when you need a sharp pencil and can’t get to a garbage can.
I’m including these on the list because I wish I had known about them when I started drawing. They have been unbelievably helpful with my art, and I believe they will be of use to you as well.
They aren’t necessary, but if you plan to do any blending in your work, I do recommend getting yourself a set. Any set of blending stumps you buy should last you a long time, so don’t worry about having to restock them too often.
Fine Tipped Pens
This is my last little addition to the list, and only because I know some of you may want to make your work pop with some darker lines. Consider it a bonus.
Pens are great for when you want to create really bold illustrations and lettering. Pencils are great for laying the groundwork for those things, but a really nice black (or colour!) line will look much more polished.
Realize that a ball point pen is not the best choice for this. I know some people who use Sharpies, but I prefer to use actual art pens for line work. This is where more money will start to come into play. While I could recommend certain brands that I have used, a lot of artists have varied opinions on which brand is best, so I’ll leave that decision up to you.
Unfortunately for you, that means that you may need to try a few different ones before you find a brand that you like. Fortunately, though, if you are just starting out, you don’t need to invest in expensive brands. I actually recommend that you don’t spend a lot of money trying a dozen different types.
The same can be said for any of the above listed supplies.
Don’t fall into the trap of buying everything all at once, or only buying the best of the best. When you are just beginning to dabble in drawing, try not to get carried away buying too many supplies. It’s not worth buying $300 worth of stuff for something you aren’t sure you’ll stick with!
So what drawing supplies do you need to get started? The choice is yours, but I hope I’ve helped narrow it down a bit!
Pssst! Did you know there’s a FREE PRINTABLE CHECKLIST with all of the above items already on it?! You can get your hands on it here!