New to Art Making? Make Sure You Have These Essential Drawing Supplies

Essential Drawing Supplies

Photo: Kaizen Nguyễn
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Whether you’re a professional artist or a hobbyist who wants to get serious about your craft, you’re going to need an essential set of supplies. Drawing comes with its own list of recommended sketching utensils from erasers to pencils to tools that help you blend graphite. While this might not be the only items you need to tackle a specific project, they are some of the best to have on hand if you feel like sketching on the fly or you’re looking to complete a simple drawing exercise.

When building your drawing tool kit, where do you start? Scroll down for our suggestion of supplies to buy.


Essential Art Supplies for Drawing

With all drawing supplies, it’s best to try a few brands before you make your final decision of what will be your go-to pencil maker or sketchbook producer. They might be the same type of products, but each manufacturer will have their own formulas and characteristics you may love or hate.

To ensure you’re getting the highest quality supplies, we recommend opting for “Artist” or “Professional” grade on the label as opposed to “Student” grade. The latter tend to be made of lower quality materials which, while cutting down on cost, probably won't save you much money in the long run; they won't last as long.


A Range of Graphite Pencils

Pencils might seem dull, but don’t sleep on this ubiquitous utensil. They have serious range. Great graphite is an essential part of an artist’s tools, and there are many considerations you’ll need to make when selecting a pencil. One of the first things is to figure your personal drawing style. Are you interested in tight, detailed technical drawing, or do you prefer loose sketching such as figure drawing? Do you like making thick, dark lines or do find yourself gingerly moving your pencil back and forth across the page?

Graphite Pencil Grades

Photo: smbhax

In the course of your drawing, you’re bound to find a pencil that you like, but make sure you have at least two or three of these utensils handy. Doing this will allow you to “mix and match” the needs of your drawing. An “H” pencil can be used for light sketching while a “B” grade is ideal for capturing shadows.

We like Derwent’s set of 12 pencils. Check out our guide for more of the best drawing pencils for professionals and beginners who love to sketch.


A Trusty Set of Colored Pencils

Colored pencils are commonly associated with kids or adult coloring books, but they have proven to be powerful tools for creativity. With the right techniques, you can create drawings that boast multifaceted color and lifelike dimension. Like graphite, selecting your favorite colored pencils comes down to personal preference. One thing to look for is their materials, as colored pencil pigments can be made of either wax or oil. An oil-based pencil will effortlessly move across the page while those made of wax can be brittle and hard to blend colors.

We like Prismacolor Premier’s set of 72 pencils. Check out our guide for more of the best colored pencils for professionals artists and coloring book enthusiasts.


Next: More Essential Drawing Supplies

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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