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Drawing Materials for Beginners (20+ Drawing Materials List)

Portrait of Lucian Freud by me (2020)

What are the best drawing materials for beginners when just starting to draw?
Having the proper materials in your hands may significantly impact your work when you’re just starting as an artist.

While you can technically create a masterpiece using a simple 2b pencil or ball point pen, having the right drawing materials will make it easier.

You will be exposed to different drawing materials and techniques and can choose which utensils you prefer as you go along and eventually create your own drawing process.

What Drawing Materials Should a Beginner Start with? – Key Takeaways

If you want to get started with drawing right away you should buy the basics (which should run you under $30 dollars):

Starting with pencils and a sketchbook is recommend for beginners before moving onto other mediums like colored pencils, pens, water color, acrylic paint, oil paint.

My own personal favorites that I have become fond of (which I also used in the portrait above) are:

  • 2B/4B/6B Pencils
  • Kneaded Eraser
  • Tortillon (Blending Stump)
  • Transparent Ruler
  • Sketchbook

Another in progress portrait attempt my me (2019)

It’s only suitable for up-and-coming artists to want the most effective materials available when they see the relationship between what they use and their finished works.

This post will introduce you to some basic and suitable materials and tools for beginners.

Table of Contents

    What Are the Best Drawing Materials for Beginners?

    When you start drawing, choosing user-friendly and practical materials is best.

    As a beginner, you may choose from a wide variety of drawing materials, the best of which will naturally rely on your tastes and the specific drawing styles you want to do.

    While learning how to draw, it’s a good idea to pick up some affordable yet high-quality, easy-to-find, and effective drawing materials, which we will enumerate in a while.

    What Are the 5 Drawing Tools

    Top five essential drawing tools/Materials

    The top 5 essential drawing tools are: 
    1. Pencils
    2. Paper
    3. Eraser
    4. Smudging Stick
    5. Transparent Ruler

    20 Drawing Materials List

    1. Drawing Pencils

    A drawing of an eye with three drawing pencils

    Drawing pencils are made from a combination of clay and graphite, an essential tool for creating art. They are available in several hardness categories, from soft (B pencils) to hard (H pencils). You can use them to make everything from simple lines to complex shading so. 

    Pencils with a higher hardness produce lighter markings. Pencils with a lower hardness make a darker one.

     2. Drawing Pencil Sets

    Sets of drawing pencils come to include a variety of pencils of varying hardness, usually in a box or a case for easy storage and organization. Pencil sets can be standard graphite, mechanical, or colored pencils. They can range in hardness from 6B (incredibly soft) to 6H (very hard).

    The sets provide flexibility to work with many tonalities and a diverse selection of mark types.

    3. Individual Pencil

    Individual pencils are bought one by one or sold separately, so you can buy what you only frequently use. Like the set ones, it might be a regular graphite pencil, or it could be a colored or mechanical pencil and also have a different level of hardness or softness.

    4. Mechanical Pencil

    A picture of mechanical pencil

    A mechanical pencil, as compared to a standard pencil, employs a thin, changeable lead.

    They are efficient since they do not need to sharpen, and the lines they produce may be pretty thin and clean.

    5. Charcoal

    Charcoal may be used as one of the drawing materials. It is created by burning wood. Drawings may be made quickly and freely with it since it is simple to erase or adjust the dark, rich marks it makes.

    Charcoal is available in a variety of forms, including sticks, pencils, and powder.

    6. Colored Pencils

    Colored pencils are pigmented rather than graphite, making them a different medium for artistic expression. They are available in a wide variety of colors and may be utilized to give character to a drawing.

    See more: Our Top Tested and Recommended Colored Pencils

    There are a few different kinds of colored pencils available, the most common of which are wax-based, watercolor, and oil-based pencils.

    7. Pens

    three drawing pens

    Pens make markings on paper by applying ink. They’re adaptable for drawing and writing and available in various styles and colors. They are smooth to handle and use and produce fine lines. 

    When it comes to drawing, you may choose from a wide variety of pens, such as:

    • Fountain pens – these are pens that employ liquid ink from a reservoir and are then supplied to the nib (writing tip).
    • Gel pens – create bold, highly pigmented lines thanks to their water-based ink, which comes out like gel-like material.
    • Ballpoint pens – are pens that include a tiny roller at the tip to help supply ink.
    • Marker pens – are pens that have the ink absorbed into the paper.  They are most effective when used to make broad, expressive strokes rather than refined, intricate lines.

    8. Transparent Ruler

    A transparent ruler

    The transparency of an acrylic or plastic ruler makes it simple to view the paper and your work below. A transparent ruler may aid in drawing and taking accurately measured lines.

    9. Other Measuring Tools – Protractor

    A transparent protractor

    A protractor is another measuring tool used to measure angles and draw them. It is a spherical instrument with a flat base and a pivot point engraved with degrees all around its circumference.

    10. Blending Stump / Tortillon

    Tortillons in a jar

    A blending stump, also known as Tortillon, is a pointed object often made from cardboard or rolled paper. It softens and mixes pencil strokes, making it helpful in achieving subtle tonal shifts.

    A Tortillon may blend and smooth out your pencil markings by simply rubbing them on your paper. Using them, you may make your drawings more coherent by blending bright and dark regions and smoothing off hard edges.

    11. Erasers

    A picture of erasers

    One of the most important materials in drawing is the eraser. Its primary function is to remove markings from the paper. It enables you to make changes and erase undesired marks or elements from your drawing, making it an instrument every artist should have in their toolkit.

    Erasers are available in a wide variety of types, including kneaded erasers, pencil erasers, pink erasers, and gum erasers.

    12. Kneaded Erasers

    A picture of Kneaded Erasers

    Kneaded erasers are the most versatile since they are so easy to form. These tools comprise a pliable putty-like substance that can be molded and stretched to whatever form and amount you like. These are also great for bringing out details and adding texture.

    Related: Here is our full guide on kneaded erasers and how to use them

    Kneaded erasers are ideal for intricate work since they leave no remnants and don’t tear the paper.

    13. Pencil Sharpener

    pencil sharpeners (manual and mechanical)

    A pencil sharpener is a device for bringing pencils back to your desired point or making them fine. It is one of the most useful materials for sketching since it keeps the tips of pencils sharp, which is necessary for making crisp lines and intricate work.

    Pencil sharpeners may be found in various forms, from manual to powered by electricity, and even those built into the pencil itself.

    14. Manual Pencil Sharpener

    Manual sharpeners, often called hand-held sharpeners, are a lightweight, portable tool and has a corresponding size to any pencil.

    Manual sharpeners generally consist of a sharpening system, usually a blade where you insert the tip of your pencil and turn it to sharpen the point. There is also a manual sharpener where you can spin the blade using a crank that rotates it.

    15. Electric Pencil Sharpener

    To sharpen pencils without using your own two hands, you may use an electric pencil sharpener. They can sharpen pencils fast and precisely compared to the manual, making them more practical.

    Pencil sharpeners like this may be faster, but they also tend to be more costly.

    16. Sketchbook

    A blank sketchbook

    A sketchbook, as its name is, is designed for that purpose — sketching.
    Artists may benefit from it since it serves as a platform for practice and exploration.

    Wondering what’s the difference between drawing and sketching – check out our post here

    Sketchbooks vary in shape, size, and design. They can accommodate a wide range of drawing materials, from pencils and pens to charcoal and markers.

    In addition, they are helpful for documentation since you can go back and see how your work and methods have changed or improved over time.

    A sketchbook can have two types of paper: sketchbook paper and drawing paper. 

    17. Sketch Paper

    Sketch paper is a thin, flimsy paper best suited for spontaneous, rapid sketching. It is produced from recyclable materials or pulpwood and is not very costly.

    However, it is less durable and can withstand excessive need of erasing than other papers. Sketch paper is an excellent option for practicing methods and testing out ideas you have at the moment.

    18. Drawing Paper

    Drawing paper is meant to be used for more detailed drawings since it is thicker and of more excellent quality. Unlike sketch paper, it is often constructed using cotton or other high-quality fibers. As a result, it is more costly.

    This paper can accommodate several drawing materials, such as pencils, charcoal, pens, and many more. It can handle intensive use and erasing better.

    19. Drawing Board / Easel

    A picture of an easel with blank canvas

    A drawing board, or easel, is a flat platform on which an artist may sketch or paint. It can be set at many heights and angles, making it convenient to draw whether you’re standing or seated. Because of this, they provide help to facilitate proper and relaxed posture.

    Drawing boards are typically constructed of wood but also come in metal and plastic and vary in size and appearance. Drawing boards may be portable (foldable) or fixed for use in your workplace.

    20. Portfolio 

    two yellow portfolios

    A portfolio is helpful material for artists since it serves as a place to gather and store pieces of work while they are not on exhibit or you’re not working on it.

    Many portfolios are available, each with its own size, shape, and construction materials (cardboard, paper, or plastic).

    It is also an excellent tool to help keep track of your drawing progress, just like a sketchbook.

    21. Reference Photos

    A woman drawing a shell with a reference photo

    There are several situations in which an artist’s reference photo might be helpful while sketching.

    Check out our massive reference photo guide for artists here with links to over 30+ reference photo sites.

    Using reference images may assist you in recognizing certain aspects and proportions while drawing so that your drawings seem more natural and realistic.

    Utilizing a reference picture improves your observational and rendering skills. It allows you to work at your pace and take pauses as required.

    22. Supplies Container

    Five metal containers full of art supplies

    Your pencils, charcoal, erasers, pens, measuring materials and other sketching implements may be kept tidy in a supplies container.

    The organization of all your tools in one location makes it simple to grab what you need. It also helps you maintain tabs on your materials and safeguard them from going missing or becoming ruined.

    23. Drawing Glove 

    A hand wearing a drawing glove

    An artist’s drawing glove is worn on the hand that handles the tool so that oil or sweat from your skin won’t be able to smear or smudge the artwork and the transfer of ink or charcoal marks on your skin.

    Typically, the two fingers that make the most contact with the drawing surface are protected by a pair of drawing gloves made from cotton or synthetic fibers.

    Additionally, those with oily skin or sensitivities to the chemicals in some drawing materials may find them an excellent solution to their problem.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    What Supplies Do You Need for an Art Class?

    While supplies needed for an art class can vary, you should be prepared for the basics including pencil sets, erasers, sketchbook.

    When I took an art class a couple years back, they provided us with a list of supplies we should purchase so while the above is recommended checking directly with the art class is best.

    What Should a Beginner Draw First?

    If you’re starting, it might be good to stick to drawing things you already know how to draw. With practice, you may gain familiarity with your tools and methods.

    Inanimate items, animals, landscapes, or even a portrait with a reference photo are all beautiful places to start for beginners.

    Still, you should always pick a subject that excites and interests you. This way, you will be more interested in and committed to learning and development.

    What Are the 5 Basic Skills of Drawing?

    The five basic skills in drawing are as follows:

    1. Edges – the apparent boundaries between various objects or sections in a drawing are referred to as the drawing’s edges. For an illustration to successfully convey a feeling of shape and depth, edge control and manipulation skills are essential.
    2. Space – refers to how different elements are positioned to one another. In addition, we are referring to the amount of space your subject occupies and the amount of space your object does not occupy.
    3. Light and Shadow – the ability to accurately represent light and shadow provide the impression of shape and depth, which is necessary for producing realistic and lifelike drawings.
    4. Relationships – how the various components connect in terms of scale, orientation, and size is what is meant by “relationships.” Drawings may be more harmonic and proportional if the artist has a firm grasp of relationships.
    5. Gestalt – Gestalt describes how our minds combine pieces of visual data into meaningful wholes. It may create a sense of connection and unity in an artwork.

    How Do I Teach Myself Drawing?

    Learning to draw on your own is something that can be really satisfying and enjoyable. Keep your first few projects simple, and use images or real subjects as references.

    You might also try to find chances to get knowledge from other artists through their online workshops, courses, or tutorials.

    In addition to that, don’t forget to practice regularly, exercise patience and perseverance, and above all else, have a good time!

    How Long Does It Take to Learn to Draw?

    On average, it takes about 2-3 years of consistent, daily practice to learn to draw. Depending on your drawing goals this timeline can be shorter or longer. For instance, if you want to learn how to draw in a photorealistic manor you can expect it to take closer to 5 years of consistent practice

    Read More: See our post here on how long it takes the average person to learn to draw

    Drawing Materials for Beginners – Final Thoughts

    If you’re a beginner artist looking to start exploring different drawing materials, this list is a great starting point. 

    The essential drawing materials for beginners are pencils, sketchbook, and erasers. If you want to include some other bonus materials you can get a clear ruler and blending stump.

    With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which of the materials is right for you. Experiment with a few of them and see what fits your needs best. 

    If you need help picking the right drawing materials or are interested in learning more about how to use them, we offer complimentary discovery calls. Book one today and let’s get started!

    Thanks for reading, and see you in the next one!

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