Guide to Basic Beginner Drawing Supplies to Get You Started as a Pro

What do you need to start drawing?

Basic beginner drawing supplies for drawing and sketching you should get. Listed materials are essential to start drawing; those are the most common drawing supplies among artists.

 

  1. Drawing pencil 4H, 2H, HB, 2B, and 4B.
  2. Bristol Paper vellum or you can go with smooth also. Must be above 90 lb (for more understanding, continue reading)
  3. Erasers. Kneaded eraser, vinyl eraser, gum eraser.
  4. Blending tools. Blending stumps
  5. Sharpeners. Handheld or electric will do.
  6. A place to draw, flat surface.
  7. Sketchbook. One small and one bigger
  8. Good lighting conditions

The foundation of art is a drawing; everything starts from simple lines. Drawing is not just a one graphite pencil and a paper; it is much more. The biggest challenge for beginners is to choose the right medium to create with and learn to use. 

As you grew and develop your skills, you will choose better materials. And the materials that you will use will become more critical and will define your level. You will find your favourite brand and become confident.

Give your time into it and learn all the fundamentals. Like shading, proportions, and different drawing techniques, you will have a fantastic medium for creating artwork.

What does numbers and letters on a pencil means

Numbers and letters separate tonal range, and you are probably familiar with HB pencils.

Artist pencil sets have more values, like H, B, F, HB, H means hardness, and they will have a solid lead. B is for blackness, and they are very soft, which is why they last less. F is for a fine point. HB meaning is hard black, most common among students.

Graphite grading scale

On every pencil, you will see numbers that indicate the degree of pencil hardness. What do those numbers mean?
Because there are more values of B pencils, they need to have numbers. For example, 7B is softer and darker than 2B. Soft pencils create contrast on your drawings, and hard pencils are for lighter works on a drawing.

In general, there is no need for all pencils; five of them will be your favourite with time. But if you never had a complete set of graphite pencils, then it is recommended to try them all.

You will find your progression of values that works the best for you, and probably you will have had to test with a few brands.

Recommended values are 4H, 2H, HB, 2B, and 4B. This combination of graphite pencils gives the best tonal range, and frankly, that is all you need.

Paper for Drawing with Graphite Pencils

When it comes to a paper, it is a very delicate topic because quality can make a big difference in your drawing. Don’t draw on print paper; it is a no-no! Choosing drawing paper is like choosing your style and technique because papers dictate how you will approach drawing.

You will use different techniques on your drawing, and some paper can’t take those techniques. And then the question will come, “What is wrong?” but all you have done wrong is choosing paper that is not for graphite pencils.

And it is tough to say to beginners which one to choose, because if you ten artists who to choose you will end up with eight different options.

The best way is to test as many you can, and you can do that by not breaking the bank.

Which paper is then for graphite pencil drawing?

There is no right paper for drawing with graphite pencils or any other medium you pick; there are only guidelines. You will need to explore, get different types and brands, and decide what works best.

Guidelines to Choose Your Paper for Drawing with Graphite Pencils

What you must look at when picking drawing paper?

  • The weight of the paper must be over 90lb, don’t go belove. The heavier the paper, the paper will be thicker.
  • Tooth of the paper. Every paper has a texture; paper with less tooth is smooth. Paper with more tooth is rough; that way is grabbing more graphite.
  • Archival level. If you wish to store your drawings for a long time, you should buy acid-free or pH-neutral paper. This type of paper doesn’t become brittle or fall apart over the years.

For drawing, the best choice is to get Bristol paper. It comes in two types vellum and smooth.

What Is Bristol Paper

Bristol paper is a heavyweight paper, mostly from 90lb-110lb (approx. 180-260). They are produced as a single paper or with 2,3, or 4 ply-s.

Bristol vellum paper

is created for dry media artists. With moderate tooth, it’s perfect to “grab” dry media. Bristol Vellum paper is also used for other mediums like coloured pencils, charcoal, pastels, and crayons.
The benefits of using vellum paper are that you can apply more graphite layers, and you can achieve a greater depth of tones.

Bristol Smooth paper

comes with less tooth, and that is perfect for drawing even tones. But with less tooth, less graphite on paper. You can’t go with many layers on this type of paper. You should use darker pencil tones to avoid this problem.

Types of the Eraser to Use with Graphite Pencils

On the artist art box, you find many different types of erasers, and that is because one is not enough for all the tasks they have.
Erasers are not used just for erasing; they do much more in the artist’s hand.

Blending tools

For nice even shading, you can use different types of tools. Most common are blending stumps, cotton buds, fine brushes, and DIY materials. You can use even a tissue for blending, especially for big areas.

Blending stumps for drawing with graphite pencils

 

Blending Stumps

Blending stumps are one of the most common tools among artists. Made from tightly compressed paper with two pointed heads; smaller ones sometimes come with one point. 

It is a very simple tool but very effective, it will make your blending much easier.

They come in different sizes, to use for different tasks on the drawing. Big ones are for bigger areas like the cheek, and smaller ones blending around smaller places.

Blending for graphite pencils

With blending stumps, you can blend small areas where precision around details is crucial. Blending tones and creating smooth transitions between different values will be comfortable to create with stumps.

A good alternative for blending stumps is cotton bud for ears. It will do the job just fine, and many artists use cotton buds.

Cotton buds for blending graphite

For What We Use Erasers in Drawings

  • Erasing – the first job it to remove graphite when is necessary when we make mistakes         
  • Highlighting– is the same as erasing accent is drawing highlights like in eyes or the reflection on the lips.
  • Drawing – you can draw with an eraser over graphite surfaces

It is recommended to have all erasers from this list and trust me you will need them all. Like with every tool for drawing I have mentioned with erasers it the same, they have different purposes.

  1. A kneaded eraser is also known as a putty eraser and art eraser; it can be shaped in any form. So you can work in small detailed areas and even for larger sizes. You just shaped them by need.
  2. Vinyl eraser – the ones we used in school, they are also handy in drawing
  3. Gum erases – great eraser for large areas
  4. Tombow Mono Zero eraser– I’m mentioning brand because this is the only option worth getting; it is a must-have eraser in the artist box. You will use it for making details, and performance is much better than from pencil-shaped erasers.
  5. Pencil type erasers– they are mostly used for fine details.
  6. Battery operated eraser – the last one; it is the best one compared to removing the paper’s medium. It is used mostly for a specific task if you have to be very precise. Like for instance, you have to make a little dot.

Sharpeners for Graphite Pencils

Pencil sharpener for graphite pencilsI have written many posts about pencil sharpeners, and one thing I’m sure of. If you know how to use a craft knife for sharpening pencils then do it. That should be your primary way of sharpening pencils. If you wish to know more about benefits you can check my post “How to Sharpen a Pencil without a Pencil Sharpener

Using a craft knife or box cutter for sharpening is dangerous,  if you are not comfortable with knives then use standard pencil sharpeners.

Always have one handheld pencil sharpener for backup, and use an electric pencil sharpener as the primary way of sharpening. It will save your pencil, and you will always get a perfectly sharp tip.

 

Once you get beginner drawing supplies make sure to start drawing, and don’t stop. Good luck with your art journey!