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  • Writer's pictureKonstantin

My Top 8 Tools For Beginners and Advanced Drawing Artists

Updated: May 27, 2020

What are the various materials for drawing and what are the best ones?

In the world of art, you can quickly get lost in the number of tools you can find for that hobby. I want to give you a clear overview of the most important tools in drawing and what the best drawing tools are.

What are the most important drawing tools for beginners?

1. Pencils

2. Blending Stumps

3. Sharpeners

4. Erasers

5. Right Paper And Sketchbooks

6. Charcoal

7. Colored Pencils

8. Art Folders

I'll tell you exactly what my favorite products of each category are and how/where you can get them. Read all about the best tools for drawing beginners and more advances pencil artists in today's article.


I. Introduction

II. Tool Categories And My Favorites

1. Pencils

2. Blending Stumps

3. Sharpeners

4. Erasers

5. Right Paper And Sketchbooks

6. Charcoal

7. Colored Pencils

8. Art Folders

III. Conclusion

I. Introduction

You're here... that's great! This means you are now getting really serious about your hobby that has maybe already become a passion. If you're just getting started with drawing or you want to know how to get started with drawing you don't need special tools at all.

To get going you merely need something that can make marks and something to make marks on. That's it.

If you're still here, you definitely are already a drawing artist for a bit of time and you're about to get more serious with your work. Maybe you plan on selling your art at some point or you just want to step up your drawing game.

Whatever your reason is to look for the different kinds of drawing tools there are, here you will be able to read about which sketching materials I personally found most helpful since I started to draw at the beginning of 2019.

II. Tool Categories And My Favorites

Here is the main section of this article which represents the thing you initially came here for, right? The 10 most important drawing supplies and my personal favorites in each category.

Here we go.

1. Pencils

Maybe it is already too obvious but that's also the reason why we're starting off with this category now. Pencils are the most basic tool you can use to draw of course the most important one. There are a whole lot of them out there.

Which is the best graphite pencil? What differences are there between normal pencils and what about these strange letters on those tools?

I've talked about the letters on pencils in another Mac H. - Creative article. If you want to learn about these and more about beginner tips for sketching click here.

From hard to soft or "black" there are many gradations and you should own multiple exemplars of everyone. Pencils are consumables, so you have to have many of them if you're drawing a lot or at least on a regular basis.

At the beginning one harder, one HB and about 4 softer pencils (2B, 4B, 6B) are sufficient. However, if you're serious about all this you should consider buying more than just those few.

My number one recommendation—and I know many professional drawing artists will agree with me on that—is whole pencil sets from the German brand Faber Castell. They often contain the perfect amount of pencils and this brand is known for its high quality.

However, I wouldn't recommend buying many exemplars of the same set at once because often they include more blacker/softer pencils than harder ones. You won't use every pencil of a set equivalently.

If you use for example the 2B and 4B pencil more often than the other ones (that's what I do because they are best for sketching) and you've purchased multiple sets at once you will have a huge 2H pencil excess lying around and too few 2B ones after a certain amount of time.

Buy one mixed pencil set for a start and then add sets of the softness levels that you use more than the others. For example, you can buy whole sets only containing 2B pencils on Amazon here.

2. Blending Stumps

A blending stump is a brilliant tool for every drawer at every stage. There are many ways you can use a paper blending wiper, such as smudging, blending, and shading. They don't only work with graphite and charcoal pencils but also with colored pencils and give every drawing a more realistic look when used correctly.

Besides buying a paper blending stump you can also learn how to build your own one actually. Did you know there is a post on Mac H. - Creative that provides instructions on how to craft your own blending stump? You can check it out here.

Anyway, if you are too lazy now to build your own one or you just want to get guaranteed high-quality stumps you can always buy some online or at local supply stores. They are almost always really cheap since they are basically just tightly rolled, soft paper.

They are so simple and yet so clever. It's always the simple solutions in life that have the greatest impact, right? So, if you're lazy just like me you will want to stay at home and order some blending stumps on Amazon. There is not really much you can pay attention to since they are almost always the same. I bought mine right here.

Nevertheless, if you learned about using blending stumps correctly in this article, you probably remember that you have to maintain your stumps by cleaning them because they get dirty really fast at the top. In some blending stump sets, there are also sandpaper blocks included for you to clean the tip of your tools.

Get such a set also on Amazon here. This one also contains a special extension tool you can use to put graphite wipers in it and hold it more firmly. At first, I thought this had to be a really unnecessary add-on to get more buyers.

Now, after using it myself for a few weeks, I have to admit that it feels really good and definitely makes a difference in the handling of smaller stumps and tortillons. Also, it doesn't appear to be such a low-quality product that I expected it to be at first. I haven't had any problems with it so far. Get it for yourself here.

3. Sharpeners

Let me be frank with this tool since it's not much you can do wrong when you're buying a sharpener. However, there are some pretty cool (sharpening) things that can upgrade your drawing sessions extremely.

Sharpeners are very general and common tools among every kind of artist and we've been made familiar with them already in elementary school or even in kindergarten. They are tools that sharpen any kind of pencil, whether it's a colored pencil, a charcoal pencil or just a regular graphite pencil.

Generally, there are two kinds of sharpeners. You can divide them into the regular manual sharpeners every child knows and then there are also the electric sharpeners.

You can get my favorite manual sharpener on Amazon here. I always have at least 2 or 3 of them around for one reason. At some point, they always break apart in the middle section that connects the two parts... It has been like that since kindergarten and I think you know what I mean if you had these in your kindergarten, too.

Besides that tiny disadvantage, these sharpeners (also from Faber Castell) represent a real high-quality product.

There are a lot of low-quality electric sharpeners out there, so you have to watch out what you're about to buy. But there are especially two I can recommend to you. One of them is a bit more expensive but let's start with the more affordable one right now.

This sharpener is called Oladwolf Electric Sharpener and it succeeds at what it is supposed to succeed in. It sharpens my pencils pretty fast and hasn't been broken yet after using it for a month.

Unfortunately, most of the other electrical sharpeners I used, wanted to be thrown away within the first days of using them... This one, however, is the first one I have no complaint about at all. You can get it here.

The other one I've already announced at the beginning is something you can really step up your sharpening game with. It is a fully automatic pencil sharpener called Westcott iPoint that gets your pencils to the optimal sharpness within a few seconds.

It doesn't belong to the category of the most necessary sketching tools but if you are able to afford it and you're serious about upgrading your drawing environment I can only recommend buying the sharpener.

It looks extremely beautiful on every desk and will probably last for years. You can also get this sharpener on Amazon right here.

4. Erasers

Everyone makes mistakes, even very advanced and professional artists. Pencil sketching is basically all about making many mistakes and rough, unprecise lines to refine them over and over again to finally define the subject.

Erasers are one of the most essential tools for sketching at all that every beginner, intermediate and professional pencil artist needs to be part of his or her equipment for drawing.

Are there different types of erasers? If so, what are the differences between them?

First of all, yes there are different types of erasers that include the regular rubber eraser, kneaded erasers, vinyl erasers, and eraser pencils.

We will now quickly go over the different types of erasers and what makes each of them special, what disadvantages and advantages they all have. If you're a beginner drawer you definitely don't need all of them and a simple rubber eraser is completely sufficient for great first artworks and even the first few hundred drawings.

The rubber eraser is the basic eraser every child and office worker uses all the time to draw first scribbles in kindergarten or erase wrong account numbers as I always do...

They are very cheap and you can literally get them anywhere, where you can buy drawing utensils. Another option is to buy them on Amazon. There is basically not much else to say since you clearly have used this kind of eraser yourself a lot of times.

Through rubbing on with graphite or charcoal filled area this tool erases the marks on that area. End of story.

We're continuing with one of my favorite tools overall, the kneaded eraser. The special this about this drawing accessory is that it is kneadable as the name already reveals. You might wonder now, what there is so special about kneading an eraser.

Well, the simple and quick answer is that you can adjust this tool to your exact needs. If you're about to erase wide areas of your drawing, maybe a region you have shaded incorrectly or you're not content with you can knead your eraser to a larger size.

If you want to merely erase tiny parts from your drawing you can form the eraser to a very pointy one. There are generally no limits for your eraser. Just knead it until you have the most suitable size for your purposes.

You can get a kneadable high-quality eraser from Faber Castell here. Watch out for a few things while using a kneaded eraser that are mentioned in the video below.

The vinyl eraser is something I haven't used myself yet but I can tell you what I've heard about it from my friends who are also drawing a lot and use the vinyl eraser mostly.

99% of my friends who use vinyl erasers swear on their tools and would never exchange them for anything in the world. The most brought up argument for vinyl erasers is the high efficiency of the drawing material.

The vinyl eraser is so effective that it can even erase colored areas in your drawing without much effort. This is probably the most obvious reason for using that type of eraser but make sure to not use it too roughly. It might tear apart your paper.

If you want to see if these statements are true, you should try it yourself. I've just ordered my very first vinyl eraser here to try it for myself.

The eraser pencil is something I really love to use. It is a very precise tool to undo your mistakes on paper. You can use it so extremely precisely because it is an eraser inside a pencil-shaped holder.

This form makes it very easy to handle it and it is comfortable to work it with even in extraordinarily long drawing sessions. So if you're interested in drawing multiple hours at once and expect to make many mistakes—which is perfectly normal in longer drawing sittings—I recommend such an eraser pencil to you.

Get your own pencil eraser here. They are also from Faber Castell and are therefore high-quality sketch tools.

Another great thing about them is that you can sharpen them just as you sharpen normal graphite pencil. That makes an eraser pencil the most precise erasing tool I have ever used for my drawings.

5. Right Paper And Sketchbooks

Besides the object you can make marks with, you also need a usable surface to make these marks on, obviously. If you don't want to use simple low-quality copy paper you have to steal from your printer anymore, you definitely need a great sketchbook.

There is a ton of sketchbooks out there that you can perfectly use for your sketches and having one of these is almost mandatory for every artist in the world. You can differentiate between sketchbooks by looking at the paper properties.

The surface your drawing on is crucial depending on what mark-making tools you use, whether you want to use paper blending stumps, and how the drawing should look like when it's finished.

You mainly subcategorize paper into three types:

  1. Charcoal Paper

  2. Bristol Paper

  3. Drawing Paper

1. Charcoal paper is a very light kind of paper that is a bit rougher than the other kinds of paper you can find in quality sketchbooks. It is optimally used with charcoal but also graphite drawing can look amazing on this kind of surface. Get it here.

2. Bristol paper is generally very thick and heavy paper that is very smooth. If you want to use very smooth and soft lines in your drawing and shade your subjects with a paper blending stump, this will be your best choice! Get my favorite here.

3. Drawing paper is just something in between. It is not extraordinarily rough or smooth and is not perfectly suited for only one drawing medium. You can use this kind of paper with any medium you like to use. Get my favorite drawing paper sketchbook here.

6. Charcoal

Charcoal is the medium you can use for very detailed figure drawings for example when you're already an advanced pencil artist. Nevertheless, you can also start off with charcoal as a complete beginner.

I will upload a complete guide on charcoal drawing one day which I'll link to here as soon as it's published.

Just let me sum up the most important things about charcoal and what you should pay attention to when choosing the right charcoal. Using this medium enables you to draw with a wider range of value than with a common HB graphite pencil.

Charcoal doesn't need gradations like graphite (From H to B) and can be easily adjusted by the pressure you exert on the stick or pencil. This is the next thing I want to mention about the medium.

Charcoal comes in the form of sticks and pencils. Further, you differentiate between vine and compressed sticks. Vine sticks are known for granting the artist the ability to draw lighter lines whereas compressed sticks create darker strokes.

Charcoal pencils have the great advantage that they can be sharpened just as normal pencils or eraser pencils we've talked about earlier today. For charcoal drawings, I use the Mont Marte Charcoal pencils. You can get them here.

7. Colored Pencils

Maybe you don't only want to create pictures in black, white and gradations of gray in between but you want to add color to your art.

That is not exactly my kind of art I enjoy most but if you are, I can once again only recommend that you pay attention to quality most of all. Faber Castell is always a good choice and not only when it comes to buying a good drawing pencil for beginners but any kind of pencil.

You can buy colored pencils in hard and softer versions. Softer pencils are always easier to smudge and shade with blending stumps and harder pencils can create lighter lines just as harder graphite pencils.

Just as in figure drawing you should experiment a lot with your colored pencils to create different astonishing results. If I create colored drawings (emphasis on if) I always use Faber Castell pencils. You can get them here on Amazon.

8. Art Folders

These are one of the less important accessories for drawing but a perfect tool to store all of your artworks completely disregarding the tools you use to draw with. It doesn't matter if you're a painter or drawer.

As long as your artworks are thin and created on paper or at least paper-like material an art folder is a wonderful add-on to your drawing routine. If you are a sculptor you won't want to get yourself a folder for your artworks obviously but if you were mainly a sculptor you probably wouldn't read these words right here.

However, you can get yourself the Exacompta Drawing Folder that definitely has enough space for any kind of DIN A4 and DIN A3 work of yours. Its dimensions are 50 cm in width to 70 cm in height. Enough for everyone, I guess, plus it has a really cool color and stands out from the ones of your friends or colleagues! Get yours here.

IV. Conclusion

Concluding you can say that most of these tools are mainly directed at intermediate drawing artists who start to get serious about their hobby.

So, if you see drawing or painting not only as a hobby but as a passion or even an obsession you can't get enough of you can definitely start considering to buy some more tools for your drawing desk.

My absolute favorite tool is the kneaded eraser that I think every artist should own sooner or later. It is adjustable to everybody's needs. Furthermore, I really like to use paper blending stumps to shade and blend my drawings to create more realistic looks.

You can learn how to make your own blending tool by following the very easy-to-follow instructions in this article on Mac H. - Creative. Get yourself enough material for sketching so you feel comfortable and all-time ready to create something new.

What tools do you find unnecessary and what tools do you think are completely irreplaceable? Is there a tool you will buy right now to expand your equipment?

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