Drawing Tools: Best Art Drawing Supplies for Beginners

You might find yourself overwhelmed by the plethora of drawing tools available. Fret not, because this post is crafted specifically for you, the beginner artist, eager to embark on a journey of artistic discovery.

Drawing, at its core, is one of the most accessible forms of art. It’s a personal journey that allows you to translate your thoughts and visions onto paper. However, the key to a successful start is choosing the right tools.

Just like a chef needs the right ingredients to create a culinary masterpiece, an artist requires the right supplies to bring their vision to life. But with so many options out there, where do you begin?

This blog post aims to demystify the world of art supplies for beginners. We understand that starting can be daunting, and that’s why we’re here to guide you through selecting art supplies that are not only of great quality but also friendly to the novice hand. From the humble pencil to the digital drawing tablet, we’ll cover all the essentials you need to kickstart your artistic journey.

Whether you’re doodling in a sketchbook or creating your first masterpiece, the right tools can make all the difference.

So, let’s dive in and explore the best art supplies that will help you unlock your creative potential and set you on the path to becoming the artist you aspire to be!

The Basics of Drawing Tools

The Basics of Drawing Tools

Basic Art Concepts and Terms

Before diving into the world of drawing tools, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some basic art concepts and terms. Understanding these fundamentals will enhance your ability to select and use drawing tools effectively.

  • Line and Shape: The most fundamental elements of drawing. Lines create shapes and define boundaries in a drawing.
  • Texture: This refers to the perceived surface quality of a drawing. Different tools can create different textures.
  • Shade and Tone: Variations in lightness and darkness in a drawing, are often used to create depth and dimension.
  • Perspective: The technique of representing three-dimensional objects on a flat surface to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position about each other.

The Role of Different Tools in Drawing

Each drawing tool has its role and contributes uniquely to the creation of an artwork.

  • Pencils: For sketching outlines and adding fine details.
  • Erasers: Not just for correcting mistakes, but also for lightening areas, creating highlights, or softening lines.
  • Blending Tools: Like stumps and tortillons, used for smoothing out textures and blending pencil marks.
  • Sharpeners: Essential for keeping pencils in the best condition for precise work.

Pencils: The Foundation of Drawing

Pencils The Foundation of Drawing

Types of Pencils

Pencils are the backbone of drawing and come in various types, each serving different purposes.

  1. Graphite Pencils: The most common type, perfect for general sketching and detailed work. They are graded according to hardness and softness – ‘H’ pencils are harder and lighter, while ‘B’ pencils are softer and darker.
  2. Charcoal Pencils: Ideal for expressive and rich black tones. They’re great for quick, loose sketches or adding dark shadows and dramatic effects.
  3. Colored Pencils: Used for adding color to your drawings. They come in a wide range of colors and can be blended for various effects.
  4. Mechanical Pencils: Offer consistent line width and don’t require sharpening. Excellent for detailed and technical drawings.

Brand Recommendations and Pencil Grades

  • Graphite Pencils: Look for brands like Derwent, Faber-Castell, or Staedtler. Beginners can start with a range from 2H to 6B to have a good variety of different shades and line strengths.
  • Charcoal Pencils: General’s and Derwent are popular choices. Beginners might start with soft and medium charcoal pencils to experiment with the range of shades.
  • Colored Pencils: Prismacolor and Faber-Castell offer high-quality colored pencils that are favored for their rich pigments and bendability.
  • Mechanical Pencils: Pentel GraphGear and Rotring are excellent brands offering precision and comfort, especially for detailed work.

Paper: Choosing the Right Surface

Paper Choosing the Right Surface

Importance of Quality Drawing Paper

The choice of paper is as crucial as the choice of drawing tools. Quality drawing paper can significantly enhance the appearance and longevity of your artwork. Key factors to consider include:

  • Weight: Heavier papers are durable and can handle more erasure and heavier drawing applications.
  • Texture: Smooth papers are great for fine details, while textured papers are ideal for expressive marks and shading.
  • Acid-Free Options: Acid-free papers prevent yellowing and deterioration over time, ensuring that your artwork lasts.

Recommendations for Paper Types

  1. Sketchbooks: A staple for any artist. They are versatile, and portable, and come in various sizes and paper types. Sketchbooks like the Moleskine Art Collection or Strathmore series offer excellent quality for both graphite and colored pencil work.
  2. Loose Sheets: Ideal for larger projects or final pieces. Brands like Arches or Faber-Castell offer high-quality loose sheets in various textures and weights.
  3. Different Textures:
    • Smooth (Hot Pressed): Best for detailed work and fine lines.
    • Medium (Cold Pressed): A versatile texture suitable for various drawing styles.
    • Rough: Great for bold, expressive strokes and heavy shading.

Erasers: More Than Just for Mistakes

Erasers More Than Just for Mistakes

Types of Erasers

Erasers are an essential tool in drawing, not just for correcting mistakes but also as a creative tool.

  1. Standard Rubber Erasers: Good for general erasing, but they can be abrasive on some papers.
  2. Kneaded Erasers: Soft and pliable, perfect for lifting graphite or charcoal without damaging the paper. They can be molded into any shape for precision erasing.
  3. Mono-Zero Erasers: Extremely precise, they allow for erasing tiny details like highlights in hair or reflections in eyes.
  4. Electric Erasers: Offer clean, consistent erasing with minimal effort. Ideal for large areas or repeated corrections.

Creative Uses of Erasers in Drawing

  • Highlighting: Removing graphite to create highlights or lighten certain areas.
  • Refining Edges: Cleaning up the edges of a drawing for a sharper look.
  • Texture Creation: Using different erasers to create textures, such as the stippling effect for skin textures or the illusion of foliage in landscapes.
  • Subtractive Drawing: Starting with a fully shaded area and using the eraser to draw by removing graphite, creating a unique effect.

Sharpeners: Keeping Your Pencils Ready

Sharpeners Keeping Your Pencils Ready

Manual vs. Electric Sharpeners

The choice between manual and electric sharpeners largely depends on personal preference and the specific requirements of your drawing practice.

  • Manual Sharpeners: Offer more control and are less likely to break the pencil lead. They’re portable and easy to use anywhere.
  • Electric Sharpeners: Fast and efficient, ideal for sharpening a large number of pencils quickly. However, they might be too harsh for softer pencils.

Recommendations for Durable and Gentle Sharpeners

  • For manual sharpeners, look for brands like Kum or Staedtler, which offer precision and durability.
  • For electric sharpeners, the X-ACTO School Pro and AFMAT Electric Sharpener are popular choices, known for their reliability and gentleness on pencils.

Advanced Drawing Tools

Advanced Drawing Tools

Gelly Roll Pens, Perfection Erasers, Indenting Styluses

These advanced tools bring a new level of detail and professionalism to your drawings.

  • Gelly Roll Pens: Ideal for adding bright white highlights or fine details that regular pencils can’t achieve.
  • Perfection Erasers (Pencil Erasers): Look like pencils but function as erasers. They are perfect for lightening areas with precision and achieving subtle gradients.
  • Indenting Styluses: Used for the indenting technique, where lines or textures are created by making indentations on the paper, which are then left white when the area is shaded over.

How These Tools Enhance Drawing and Detailing

  • Gelly Roll pens add crisp, vibrant whites that can make elements like reflections or light sources pop.
  • Perfection erasers allow for fine control in tonal adjustments, helping in creating more nuanced and detailed drawings.
  • Indenting styluses enables artists to create intricate textures and patterns that would be challenging to achieve with traditional drawing methods.

Blending and Smudging Tools

Blending and Smudging Tools

Introduction to Blending Stumps, Tortillons, and Simpler Tools

Blending tools are essential for achieving smooth gradations and transitions in your drawings.

  • Blending Stumps: Rolled paper tools that are pointed at both ends. They’re used to blend and smooth out graphite or charcoal.
  • Tortillons: Similar to blending stumps but usually smaller and more tightly wound, allowing for more detailed blending.
  • Tissue Paper: A more accessible tool for larger, softer blending.

Tips on How and When to Use These Tools

  • Use blending stumps for smooth transitions in shading, especially in areas like skin tones in portraits or skies in landscapes.
  • Tortillons are best for smaller, more detailed areas where precision is key.
  • Tissue paper is excellent for large areas that require a softer touch, like backgrounds or soft shadows.
  • Remember to clean these tools regularly for consistent results, and have different stumps for different shades to avoid unintentional mixing of tones.

Digital Drawing Tools

Digital Drawing Tools

Overview of Digital Tablets and Software

Digital drawing tools have revolutionized the way we create art, offering new dimensions of creativity and convenience.

  • Digital Tablets: These come in two main types – graphic tablets, which connect to a computer and monitor, and tablet computers, which are standalone devices like the iPad with drawing capabilities. Popular brands include Wacom, Huion, and XP-Pen.
  • Software: There’s a wide range of software available for digital art, each with its own set of features. Beginners might start with user-friendly programs like Adobe Photoshop, Procreate (for iPad), or Autodesk SketchBook, which offer a good balance of functionality and ease of use.

Pros and Cons for Beginners

  • Pros:
    • Unlimited resources (no need for physical art supplies).
    • Easy to correct mistakes and make changes.
    • Offers a vast array of tools and effects that would be impossible or time-consuming in traditional media.
    • Great for experimenting with different styles and techniques.
  • Cons:
    • Can be expensive to get started with good-quality equipment.
    • Requires time to learn the software and get used to drawing on a tablet.
    • Some artists feel that digital art lacks the tactile experience of traditional drawing.

Affordable Options For beginners, affordable options like the Wacom Intuos or Huion H610 Pro offer a great entry point into digital art. Free or low-cost software like GIMP or Krita can also be excellent for those just starting.

Setting Up Your Drawing Space

Setting Up Your Drawing Space

Tips for Creating a Conducive Environment

Your drawing environment can significantly impact your creativity and productivity.

  • Lighting: Natural light is ideal, but if that’s not possible, choose a bright, flicker-free artificial light source. Good lighting reduces eye strain and helps you see true colors.
  • Comfort: Invest in a comfortable chair and a table at the right height. Ergonomics are important to prevent strain during long drawing sessions.
  • Distraction-Free Zone: Try to set up your space in a quiet area or use noise-canceling headphones to minimize distractions.

Organizing and Maintaining Art Supplies

  • Storage: Use shelves, drawers, or containers to organize your supplies. This keeps your workspace tidy and ensures that everything is easily accessible.
  • Maintenance: Regularly clean your tools. Sharpen your pencils, clean your brushes (if you use them), and keep your erasers dirt-free.
  • Display Area: Have a space where you can display your finished works or works in progress. This not only adds an aesthetic element to your space but also keeps you motivated.

Final Words

Remember, every artist’s journey is unique. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different tools and techniques to discover what works best for you. Digital tools offer a modern twist to traditional drawing and can be a great addition to your artistic arsenal, but there’s also unparalleled charm in the tactile feel of pencil on paper.

Your drawing space is your sanctuary; keep it organized and conducive to your creative process. And most importantly, practice regularly and be patient with your progress. As you continue to explore and learn, your unique style and preferences will emerge.

Art is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy every stroke, every line, and every moment of your creative exploration. Happy drawing!

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