Drawing Materials

Welcome back, there are a few items that you will need to get started with drawing.
This video will show you the basic materials to get. A full list is also provided below.


Before you get started on your artistic journey, you are going to have to know a little about what materials you should be using. Walking into an art supplies store can be a little daunting at first, especially if you don’t know what you are after.
This lesson is going to be all about what materials you are going to need to get yourself started.
The truth is, you can use almost anything to draw, after all… cavemen used burned sticks of charcoal and cave walls to draw on. But if you rush out and buy the cheapest materials you can get your hands on, you will be disappointed with the results you get. There is a huge difference between the cheap materials that you get anywhere and artist grade materials.
Even though you are only learning I would recommend getting decent materials to work with, otherwise you will always be struggling to draw good marks. Cheap materials will always give you disappointing results.

So what materials should you get?
Well, Lets start with the pencils. Artists pencils are graphite pencils that are graded into different categories depending on their hardness. The grade is indicated on the end of the pencil here by either a H or a B… or both. If there is a H in the category then it is a hard graphite. The harder the graphite, the less it comes off onto the paper…therefore it will make a really light line. The hardest pencil is 9H which makes a line that is barely visible.
If the grade has a B in it, it is a soft graphite, which comes off onto the paper a lot easier and therefore makes a much darker, denser line. The darkest pencil is the softest, it is a 9B. Then there are grades all the way in between. A HB pencil most of us are familiar with from school. It is half way in between and makes a medium density line.

The brand of pencil is rather important, like I said earlier if you buy cheap brands, the results wont be good.  In the case of pencils, the cheap brands have very little difference between the grades, in some cases the hard pencils end up being just as dark as the soft ones. They also tend to break very easily compared to the artist grade pencils. I use the Faber Castell9000 series pencils, they are a good consistent pencil with obvious levels between each grade.
To get started I would recommend that you get a 2H, HB, 2B, 4B, 6B and an 8B. (the 8B will only be used for very special effects).
A lot of people ask whats the difference between a lead pencil and graphite. Well…they are the same thing. Pencils have always been graphite, but it kinda looks like lead and many people thought that it was indeed lead, so the name stuck and even today, some people refer to them as lead pencils.

Ok lets talk about our drawing paper. Firstly lets look at office paper. Office paper isn’t regarded as a good drawing surface. Firstly it is too smooth with no texture to it. This means that the pencil has to work harder to get onto the page and you end up with inconsistent linework. Secondly its very thin and gets damaged real easily. After rubbing out a few times you end up with creased and damaged paper. There is nothing worse than achieving a good looking drawing, but it is spoiled by creases in the page.
We will need some office paper though, we will use it for other things.

This is a visual diary (or sketch book) made of cartridge paper, you are going to need one of these for your practice exercises. Cartridge Paper is a lot softer and thicker than office paper…It also has a very fine grain or tooth to it which allows the pencil to grip onto the paper much better. It is made of wood-pulp which deteriorates over time and turns slightly yellowish in colour, but it is great for learning, sketching and practising. As you get to the advanced classes we will look at much better papers to use, such as rag papers.
When you are looking for a sketch book, have a feel of the paper and you will start to see the difference in quality between them. Don’t go for the cheapest one, it is usually inferior in quality. Get one that is A3 size, it gives you plenty of space to work in. Anything smaller than that will be too restrictive.

What else?
You will also need a good quality plastic eraser….and no its not cheating to use an eraser, I’ll show you that it is a perfectly normal tool in drawing. You might also want to get a kneadable eraser. If you haven’t seen one of these before, you can squish it into any shape and pick off the graphite delicately off the surface.
Get yourself a good quality sharpener, its really important to keep your pencils sharp all the time, so you’ll be using this a lot. Look for a good quality metal sharpener.
That’s enough to get you started, later we’ll look at some other materials such as charcoal, pastel, water soluble graphite, ink and paint.

        • Artists Grade Pencils- 2H, HB, 2B, 4B, 6B and 8B
        • Sketch Pad – Cartridge Paper
        • Plastic eraser
        • kneadable eraser
        • paper stumps
        • Sharpener
        • Sandpaper (240 grit)

Next – Overcoming Artist’s Block >