The absolute basics! My recommended top drawing materials supplies to get you started drawing with no unnecessary fuss or massive expenditure…
This post is all about choosing the right drawing tools for you!
It’s something that’s very personal, so there’s no right or wrong thing to choose.
There’s only the thing that’s right or wrong for you – and it’s absolutely okay for that to change, either gradually over time or all of a sudden.
It’s important that you’re happy and comfortable with how you do your art…
And that it feels like an extension of who you are and what you’re about so that you get the most enjoyment out of it.
I’m also not about fancy equipment or expensive equipment…
I’ve been broke… and art paper, pens, and pencils were an expensive luxury!
But guess what? For drawing your own way you don’t need them!
Let me repeat that…
You don’t need anything fancy to get the benefits of creative and expressive drawing.
All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on. Got that? Then you’re sorted.
Having said that, your experience of drawing is always going to be far more pleasurable if you actually enjoy using your tools. So this lesson is about helping you choose what to start drawing with and what to start drawing on...
Choosing Your Own Drawing Materials and Supplies
At school, I had ‘proper’ art paper and ‘proper’ art pencils. When I got started drawing again, creatively, I was in my 40s – and I got started with a biro and an exercise book… yes, a simple exercise book with lines in it!
This is actually a great choice for starting out, because it’s what you’re comfortable with. Can you write? Yes? Good! Because drawing is just the same thing – only the communication is called a picture rather than words and sentences.
But it’s, essentially, exactly the same thing – you put your pen or pencil down on the page; the marks come out (more or less) where you intended them; and when you put them all together, they show the reader or viewer (and that might be just you) something that you were thinking about or something you wanted to tell them about.
And as you progress with your drawing, you will start to get the marks coming out where you intended them to be more and more often and you will also start to develop your own ‘handwriting’ style (think of your distinctive signature) that we call your artistic style.
So, a tool that you feel comfortable with, that already feels nice in your hand, is a grand choice to start.
Don’t draw on cheap photocopy paper if it feels horrible and scratchy to you. Choose something that feels nicer. Lined paper can seem an odd choice… but it’s likely familiar to you. And early on in your artistic journey, in particular, what’s important is the process – drawing for enjoyment and building your skills.
I love drawing on coloured card or paper (like these lovely, pink scrapbook pages right above) or on individual pieces of card.
My favourite drawing surface is to use ivory, 300gsm, smooth card, A4 size, (usually found in the card-making supplies) - see below…
Using lined, squared, coloured, or off-white paper can help you to overcome that surprisingly common artist’s fear of that blank page… where to start? Don’t worry if this happens to you. It’s normal and okay… and nothing to worry about.
You can try coloured paper, or adding a coloured wash to your page, or even a collaged background, before you start to draw… or just doodle in the corner for a minute. We’re learning to make our marks, not creating a masterpiece. And it’s the process that’s precious, not what’s on the page.
Fancy buying a smart new sketchbook..?
Author: Lotti Brown
Artist, designer, and online drawing teacher.
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