Ever walked into an art supply store or clicked around Amazon and been like,
“OMG I WANT ALL THE THINGSSSSS!!!!!”
12 seconds later I strut outta there with a random tube of pink glitter glue, smelly felts (why??? Am I 5?), and a scrapbook I’ll most definitely NEVER use.
Please tell me I’m not alone.
As I look woefully at my new collection of awesome, but entirely useless, things…
… I wish I’d had a checklist to provide guidance (OK, and restraint) so I knew what I REALLY needed.
That, my friend, is what you’re getting here.
I’m cutting through the noise (and temptation) to give you the down-low on what you ACTUALLY need when you’re beginning to learn to draw.
There’s 5 big things you need. There’s a few sections where I give a couple of different examples – so you can get 1 for now and add to your collection later, or get the whole shebang so you’re all set.
So cancel your plans, sharpen your pencils, ‘cuz you’re gonna have all the goodies you need to draw!
Drawing pencils are the absolute best tool to learn to draw with!
They’re flexible, you can use them to create a ton of different styles, they’re erasable – and affordable.
First, you need a good set of drawing pencils so you can draw all kinds of shades… from very faint to SUPER dark.
There are larger packages with more shades, but I think you’re good to start with this 12 pack. It gives a ton of variety so you can sketch pretty much anything you want.
So it’s easy to think that all pencils are created equal. Don’t fall for that myth ‘cuz it ain’t true.
This is my fav kind of drawing pencils. Try them, you’ll become a serial lover of them too!
Tombow is LEGENDARY… and if you’ve ever tried other drawing pencils, it’s easy to see why.
- The graphite is so smooth and creamy – it just flows across the paper
- The wood is high quality too, so it’s easy to sharpen and doesn’t splinter
- The pencil shade grades are super consistent
- They blend beautifully so it makes for gorgeous artwork!
- And maybe I’m crazy – but I swear they smear less. (Other people say so too, so I don’t think it’s just me!)
You can totally use whatever 12 pack of drawing pencils you find, though I promise that having a great set of pencils is a GAME CHANGER!
2 – Sketchbooks
I’m not so much a ‘shoes and purses’ kind of gal… but sketchbooks?
That’s 1 thing I LOVE to buy!
Hey, have you gotten my free email ‘intro to drawing’ course? (You can get it when you download the free guide with a year’s worth of drawing ideas!)
If you have, you’ll know this has MANY things I look for in a sketchbook.
- The hard cover keeps your drawings protected
- The hard cover also makes it easy to draw if you’re out sketching in public and don’t have a table nearby
- The coil is perfect for laying the whole book flat… no annoying ‘bump’ in the middle like most hardbound books
- I like the size for most drawings – enough space without being too big or bulky
- The paper is acid-free so your drawing will be preserved for the long run
- I love the good-quality paper which feels really nice to draw on. (PS I recommend pencil… not the best book for ink and markers)
- The pages have small perforations near the coil so you can cleanly remove your work if you want to frame it or give it away!
I looooooove having a sketchbook on me at all times.
I’m a HUGE fan of having this one in my purse since it’s not too big, and still hardcover so it can survive being battered around in my bag.
If freakin’ da Vinci had a sketchbook on him at all times, it’s TOTALLY fair for us to do the same.
Because, DA VINCI. The original Leo. (I’m kidding, no one can replace Titanic-era Leo.)
Seriously, who does NOT love a Moleskin sketchbook? (If you don’t, we can’t be friends. Just kidding. Kinda 😉)
Here’s what I like about this one…
- Really nice quality, I love that it’s hardcover since I take it with me everywhere and it gives me a built-in hard surface
- Even with the hardcover it is still lightweight and super portable
- The elastic is great since helps keep the book closed
- The paper has a slightly yellowish tint – which is a bonus for me since it’s hard to keep paper pristine white when it’s in my bag!
- The pages are quite thick. I’ve even used ink without having much bleed. (Alcohol-based markers tend to be the most tricky.)
- Because the page thickness you can easily use BOTH sides of the paper without having the drawing from the other side show through
- The pages are super silky feeling so it’s really fun to draw on
- Has a handy pocket at the back for storing stuff
- If you want larger drawings, the handy thing is that every 2 pages are almost seamlessly connected. Perfect for larger-scale sketches on the fly!
I’ve heard this called The Mercedes of Pencil Sharpeners – and it’s true.
Seriously, a great pencil sharpener makes ALL the difference.
A crappy sharpener can easily splinter your pencil, ‘chew through it’ faster, give you the wrong tip and proportion of graphite-to-wood… all sorts of annoying.
This is the only sharpener you need. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars.
Here’s why I love it…
- You have 3 different choices! Great for short sharpening, longer sharpening, and even extra wide pencils
- Also perfect for colored pencils – even if the colored core is extra soft
- The sharpener is nice and sharp for a clean pencil sharpening… and it stays that way for a long time
- It doesn’t ‘eat’ the pencil or cause it to break, chip, or splinter
- Gives a really smooth edge on your sharpened pencil
- So good, I even use it for my makeup pencils which are notoriously tricky to sharpen (shhh!)
Nope, this ain’t no Vitamix.
W’re talkin’ about how to blend, smooth, and smudge your drawing to perfection!
I like to think of these as important as makeup brushes.
Like, you can have really good eyeshadow… but if you don’t have the right blush to blend it in and make it look good, it won’t look the way you want it to!
That’s where these babies come in.
- You get the full meal deal – a wicked selection of blending stumps, tortillions, and sandpaper so you’ve got everything you need to blend beautifully
- The stumps and tortillions are made with super high quality pressed paper so they will last
- Not just for pencil! Also use with pastel, charcoal and chalk
- You get a big selection of sizes so you have everything you need no matter what drawing project you’re working on
- Comes with sandpaper blocks for sharpening
I love this kit because you get AllTheThings for blending.
(PS… if you find yourself getting hungry after reading this one, I don’t blame ya. “Tortillions” reminds me of tortillas… which reminds me of tacos… mmmm!!)
5 – Eraser
“Oh craaaaap, I didn’t mean to do that” moments?
It’s all part of the game.
Thank goodness we’ve got great defence in our corner!
Who doesn’t love Silly Putty?
And who the knew the idea would be so freakin’ handy when drawing!
Kneaded erasers are awesome because they’re pliable. You mold it into the size and shape you need – totally unlike those rubber or vinyl erasers you used in school.
Here’s why you ‘need’ a kneaded eraser:
- Very pliable so you can easily shape it to what you need
- Durable – does’t fall apart or harden quickly like other erasers
- Not just for erasing! Also perfect for lightening tone
- Leaves no residue on the paper so it doesn’t muck up your drawing
- Great for both pencil and charcoal – and can even pick up chalk dust!
Ever wish you just had a TEENY TINY eraser to get into the tightest spots?
This is my newest eraser and it is EVERYTHING.
It’s like a mechanical pencil – the eraser version.
I’ve seen the thick ones before (which are useless for drawing, in my honest opinion)…
But this one? Is super fine! 2.3 millimetres wide. So it’s perfect for getting into tight spots.
What to love:
- Get into the tight spots you could never reach before
- Awesome for creating highlights!
- It comes with refills
- I’ve even used this on watercolour pencils
- Extreme precision for traditionally tricky things to erase… hair, fur, even technical drawings
- It’s seriously one of the simplest things which totally improved my drawings. It’s a miracle worker.
Let’s recap your must-have drawing goodies!
✔︎ Drawing pencils
Whew! Well I don’t know about you, but all this talk of drawing makes me wanna get my own pencils out and draw.
So I’ll let you go finish getting your drawing goodies!
Oh, and if you’re looking to learn how to draw, check out the Secrets To Drawing course!
It’s easy, step-by-step online training you can do anywhere… and has helped THOUSANDS of people (like me!) learn how to draw.