Drawing Supplies.

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This is a list of all the Drawing Supplies I use. It really is as personal a choice as the clothes we wear. Budget is also a factor. Drawing and sketching can be a very inexpensive pastime or it can cost plenty. You, however, are firmly in control. You can go in and out of any drawing supplies shop or use an online store. If you are a beginner you might want to buy cheap paper and a few pencils and that's fine. My basic tutorials are mainly simple line work so anything you have will work. Buy what you need as you need it.

Pencils

I use Derwent Graphic and sometimes Staedtler Mars Lumograph. I have soft grade from 2b to 6b. Hb and 6h. 2b is great for all purpose drawing and sketching. The softer grades are for stand alone pencil drawings. The Hb and 6h are useful for drawing on canvases. I also use a mechanical or technical drawing pencil, a Rotring 0.5. I use either Rotring leads of varying grades or Pentel leads which are serviceable. I bought the mechanical pencil in 1986 and have used it heavily ever since. I think that speaks for it's quality. I use a metal sharpener or stanley knife for sharpening.

Erasers

This section is short and sweet. Winsor and Newton putty rubbers are my No 1 choice. Excellent for general use and can be shaped, torn and squashed into any necessary shape for lifting out pencil from your drawing. A great tool in itself! The only drawback to them is that they can also lift ink. If you lay ink over pencil and intend to erase the pencil please use a plastic eraser. Rotring make very good ones. Ask in any Drawing Supplies outlet.

Paper

Typing and copier papers from any stationers are good for sketching on. They vary in quality but not by much in my experience. Buy reams (500 Sheets) to save the pennies.

Cartridge paper is heavy drawing paper that comes in weights. I use 95gsm and 150gsm. It usually gives the weight on the cover. The heavier the paper the more punishment it can take. I once bought a block of 200gsm because I was told it was possible to use watercolour washes on it. The results weren't acceptable for me so I stick with pencil, coloured pencil and charcoal. I use cartridge paper for drawings that are an end in themselves. Loads of choice of manufacturers in any Drawing Supplies shop. Check out stationers for good deals.

Marker paper comes in pads. I use Goldline. This paper is very smooth and designed for pens like pantone and magic markers. I use black ink applied with a brush on this. It works a treat.

Bristol board is a card like paper. Thick and smooth it works with inks and I know one artist that slaps watercolour on it. It takes coloured inks very well. It's popular with comic book artists and cartoonists. Quite a specialized paper that most people won't need to bother with. I only use it occasionally.

Sketchbooks are an aid when working outside. I remember sitting in cafes for hours drawing and sketching the faces and forms all around me. I use Daler Rowney sketchbooks. They come in various sizes. I find A4 convenient. They are sturdy and the paper is good quality at 150gsm. There are plenty of alternatives in Drawing Supplies shops.

Charcoal

Messy and fun. Willow sticks are great. They break easily but it can work out fine even if they do. Broken sticks give the artist an opportunity to create interesting and unexpected effects. Sticks come boxed.

There are charcoal pencils which can be sharpened. The charcoal tends to be quite hard. I have used them but don't think they are particularly effective. Use them if you don't like mess.

Inks

Winsor and Newton coloured inks are mixable and can be diluted with water. I use Scarlett, Blue, Canary Yellow, Emerald and Black. They can be used with brush or dip pen. If you need waterproof black ink I recommend Rotring Drawing Ink. You can wash watercolour or dilute ink over this when it is bone dry. I have three sable brushes I use for black ink work. Size 0, 2 and 12 for large areas. I use separate brushes for colours in the same sizes.

Pastels and pastel pencils

I use Conte pastel pencils. I have quite a range of colours, too many to list here. If you want to try them out just purchase a few to see if you like the feel of them.

Chalk pastels are soft and mix easily on paper. They smudge and blend well. I rarely use them but they are easily portable if you buy a box of them. I don't have any recommendations regarding manufacturers because in all honesty I haven't found much contrast in quality whatever I buy. That goes for the expensive and the cheap.

Coloured pencils are great in that they are portable, easy to store and there is no need to use fixative on them. Prismacolor are generally regarded as the finest by most users and that includes me but I find them hard to get hold of in the UK. America tends to be the best supplier as far as I can tell. Good news if you live there. Makes them more expensive for Brits and other nationalities because of shipping rates. You may find them on Ebay. If you can afford them then please treat yourself because they really are superior in terms of colour and use.

We wont condemn other drawing supplies manufacturers though. Derwent make good quality colours and have a range of watercolour pencils that are excellent. Watercolour pencils are solvent in, wait for it... water! Very good for tinting sketches.

Pens

Fibre tip pens (often referred to as fineliners) are useful outdoors. Most are waterproof. I tend to buy black because I only use them for sketching but they come in different colours. The Edding 1800 profipen is my favourite. My sizes 0.1, 0.3, 0.5, 0.7mm. Staedtler and Zig make acceptable pens. Get them from art and drawing supplies shops and stationers but the Edding is best found online in my experience.

Dip Pens

For ink drawing. Gillot or Conte are my choice. Easy to handle, very little learning curve. Nibs are easy to change and come in many shapes and sizes. Be aware they scratch up paper and board so have a tendency to clog. Clean them quickly and thoroughly after use. Use with any ink.

Fixative

Necessary part of your drawing supplies for graphite pencil, pastel and charcoal. I use Winsor and Newton Artists Fixative. It comes in spray cans. It is not suitable for children to use without supervision and please read all safety advice before use. Make sure you are in a well ventilated room. The fixative is colourless and permanent.

It will protect your drawing from smudging.

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Chamois leather

These are the leather cloths commonly used to buff windows. I know this one might sound strange but these leathers are excellent for blending graphite pencils. Not essential by any means but I find them useful.

That's about it as far as the tools I use. Please keep in mind all the fancy drawing supplies, pens, pencils and paper in the world will not make you a better artist. Practice and a pinch of determination is all important. The tools are secondary. And remember! All the tutorials on this site are free. Use of my tutorials won't cost you a penny. You've saved money already!

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