Pencil Drawing Kit [FREE NATURE DRAWING LESSON]
Starting a pencil can be overwhelming at first, but having the right tools will help you start on the right foot. This cohesive list of the art supplies will help you build a pencil drawing kit that is ideal for your future projects.
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There’s more to a pencil drawing kit than one would suspect. At minimum you’ll need a decent mid-range pencil to help you get a wide range of light values, a good quality paper that won’t show signs of wear and tear while you’re drawing, and a good eraser that will help keep your work clean without creating pink smudges on the paper.
Pencil Drawing Kit
Remember those yellow No. 2 pencils from school? They might be handy for filling in a multiple choice bubble, but they aren’t the best for drawing. Artist pencils come in a wide variety of thickness, graphite cores, and even colors, each with its own special function. In fact, here’s a handy scale that helps illustrate that point. A good pencil drawing kit is more than just finding the right pencil for your work, however. In this article, we’ll dive into the different elements that make a pencil drawing kit versatile and effective.
The Hero of Your Pencil Drawing Kit
Everyone knows that the hero’s job is to save the day. The same can be said about the indispensable eraser. Erasers obviously come in all shapes and sizes, but what material is best?
The Kneadable Eraser
- The best kind of eraser for drawing with pencil. Not only can you mold it into a variety of shapes to suit your needs, they can be used for years
- The only downside is that you need to protect them from lint and dust, so keep your kneadable eraser in a plastic container when it’s not in use
- I recommend the Faber-Castell Large Kneaded Eraser
The Micro Eraser
- Great for precision removal in small areas that the kneadable eraser can’t pinpoint neatly
- Handy for adding fine details like highlights and textures
- I recommend the very portable Tombow Mono Zero Eraser
The Electric Eraser
- An important tool for removing dark graphite form the page after pressing too hard. This brings you back from the dreaded “point of no return”
- I recommend the rechargeable AFMAT Electric Eraser
Premium Pencil Drawing Paper
When it comes to drawing with pencil, never be underestimate how much your work will be effected by the quality of the paper. Newsprint is the cheapest quality paper on the market, which is why it’s sold in massive quantities to art students for the purpose of rapid charcoal studies. Printer paper is slightly better and ranges in quality, but has more limitations than benefits. Below are a few suggestions for much better options.
Hot Press Watercolor Paper
- Tough and durable, hot press watercolor paper is able to withstand the abuse you’ll inevitably put it through
- The smooth texture makes shading and blending a pleasure
- I recommend 140lb Arches Hot Press Watercolor Paper
- For larger drawings, I recommend 300lb Arches Hot Press Watercolor Paper
- Traditionally used by professionals for multimedia projects, illustration board is a tough, durable surface to work on
- The coating on illustration board makes erasing less ideal, but it allows you to add layers of paint over your pencil work if you prep the board correctly
- I recommend Crescent Hot Press Illustration Board
- Although ideal for ink drawing, bristol is a good budget paper choice for newer artists to experiment with
- I recommend Strathmore Paper 300 Series Art Bristol
The Almighty Drawing Pencil
A good drawing pencil is the foundation of your drawing and field sketching kit. Depending on your objective, you may require only one kind or many. Here are some recommendations based on the pencils I use in my professional work.
- The best generalist pencil. Not too delicate, not too bold, just right for any drawing project
- Use 2B pencils when drawing on location
- I recommend Faber-Castell 2B pencils
- I also recommend the Faber Castell Mechanical Pencil, with 0.7mm 2B graphite
- Soft, workable graphite creates bold, dark values. Great for adding dynamic range to drawings with high contrast
- Smudges very easily. Protect your work by using a piece of scrap paper to rest your hand on
- I recommend Faber-Castell 8B Pencils
9B Graphite Powder
- For adding pure black backgrounds or deep, deep shadows
- Start with a stick of 9B graphite. I recommend LYRA Non Water-Soluble Graphite Crayons
- Grind the graphite stick into a fine powder using DeWalt Universal Mesh Sanpaper
- Collect the powder in a sealable container
- Apply to work using cotton ball or a dry paintbrush brush
- Mix with refined linseed oil to create a permanent black pigment (you can’t erase this)
Blending Tools for Pencil Drawing
I arrived lated to the game where blending tools are concerned. Now they are a crucial element of my kit that help me take my pencil drawings to a higher level.
- Blends graphite to create smooth transitions between textures and value ranges
- Can be used as a delicate pencil when saturated with graphite
- I recommend Norocme Blending Stumps
- Best for utilizing graphite powder
- I recommend using a set of Winsor & Newton Winton Long Handle Brushes
Next Steps for Building Your Pencil Drawing Kit
I hope you found this article helpful! Your next step is to experiment. Subscribe and you’ll get access to one of my pencil drawing tutorials for FREE.