Starting an art practice may seem like an expensive prospect. Along with obvious tools and materials like easels, pencils, brushes, and paint, art stores stock an array of esoteric items to tempt novices and professionals alike. It can be hard to know what you actually need and what you can work without.
The following list will guide you in purchasing—and making—a functional yet minimal toolkit to embark on a drawing or painting practice.
What you’ll need for drawing:
These soft charcoal sticks are capable of a range of expressive marks, from delicate, modulated lines to smooth expanses of tone.
Artists’ quality pencils
Seek out graphite pencils ranging in hardness (H) and blackness (B). H pencils are good for crisp detail, while to B pencils make softer lines and darker patches and textures. Four pencils, 2H, HB, 2B, and 4B, will be enough to create a broad tonal range.
This lifts both graphite and charcoal.
Cheap sharpeners tend to break graphite rather than honing it to a fine point, so splurge on a quality sharpener from the art store. Or, use a craft knife to whittle the pencil into a long, sharp point.