Different Types of Art Supplies

Different Types of Art Supplies
Different Types of Art Supplies

Having a full complement of art supplies will enable you to cover the most creative eventualities. What follows is a comprehensive out of all of the various kinds of art tools that you can purchase for artistic pursuits of all descriptions.

What Art Supplies Do Artists Use?

What types of art supplies do artists use? Well in order to answer that question I have focused on describing supplies that I use frequently.

In addition will describe have I have found them useful and the reasons I use them. To answer this question in more depth I will describe particular brands of supplies and items which I believe to be stand-out items that you may wish to look at further.

Please look at this drawing and sketching video course I have createdUse this link.

Graphite Pencils

Graphite Pencils
Graphite Pencils

Graphite pencils are an important piece of equipment that every artist needs. From sketching out ideas to creating highly detailed drawings, a basic graphite pencil is an invaluable tool for many.

When selecting and purchasing graphite pencils it is important to buy the correct types of pencils.

Artist's standard equipment is a great investment for the hobbits who are looking to create professional standards of drawing and want their equipment to last longer without breaking.

Graphite Sticks

Looking to create an expressive drawing with a border and a more expressive quality of line? You will be able to immediately create more intensive types of drawing to you choose to opt for graphite sticks and pencils.

I have found graphite sticks to be a highly versatile medium for drawing with which can be employed in a variety of manners from frottage rubbing, smooth shading, and textured surfaces.



The trick to outstanding how to use your eraser is understanding they can be used to more than eraser lines.

Kneaded Erasers

Putty rubbers or kneaded eraser can be formed into many different shapes and even to a fine point. This makes them an excellent tool for applying highlights to your drawing. The kneaded eraser comes into its own when used in connection with charcoal or graphite sticks.

Vinyl Eraser

The standard eraser used by regular erasers is synthetic rubber and soy-based gum (cheaper models) and vinyl, plastic, or gum (pricier or specialized ones).


Charcoal pencils provide the artist with the ability to create deep areas of value in their drawings as well as the control a pencil can provide. Charcoal enables you to create intense areas of value, depth, and shadow in the images you create.

Charcoal sticks contain all of the positive attributes of a charcoal pencil as well as the ability to create larger more expressive drawings. Often I will employ the side of a charcoal stick to fill larger areas on a page.

Willow and Vine charcoal stick. One benefit to this is that it can be drawn onto paper easily and erased just as fast. Since there are no glues or binders, it’s a favorite for artists.

However, it does have downsides since it smudges very easily.



Graphic pens and ballpoint pens are an effective way to produce and add fine lines and enhance the level of detail generated in your drawing either from observation or drawing directly in a sketchbook or journal.

Fine Line Pen: If you are looking to include a fine quality of line in your drawing and to create fine line pens is an excellent way in which to create immediate results on paper.

Brush Pens: Brushpens will introduce a bolder line into your artwork. I personally find these types of pens very comfortable to draw within that they are relatively easy to control and regulate the amount of pressure you draw with.

Water-Based Markers: Enjoy drawing with brilliant colors, then water-based markers are going to be your best buddy. Have you ever looked at an ink drawing and questioned how striking the colors are?

Well, you can achieve the same level of color intensity by using water-based pens. You can achieve intense color saturation very quickly when you are using quality artist markers.

Board Nips: Want to create bold and expressive lines Board Nips are a great choice if you want to consolidate fine lines with a contrasting broader alternative.

This has the added advantage of adding visual diversity to your pictures.


Patels are an excellent choice to create a drawing that is inherently spontaneous and expressive. Working with pastels is a direct experience that requires no prior underdrawing. Note that graphite as a medium often will bleed through oil pastel in particular.

Chalks Pastels 

Chalk pastels are an excellent medium for the drawing of landscapes and abstracts. The blending of the color is easily achieved with chalk pastels several. 

Graduating and blending chalk pastels can create very effective results visually when paper templates are used to separate areas and zones of color.

If you are looking to create crisp edges with your pastel work, the use of a template is an excellent idea.

Oil Pastels

The trick to using oil-based pastels is developing the skill to blend combine various color schemes together. Additionally, you will need to understand have to achieve tint and shade by layering black and white with color.

Additionally, oil pastels can be applied by adding separate marks onto your work surface, paper, or canvas board.

Linseed oil or white spirit can also be applied to the surface of your work to aid the blending of oil pastels.

With soft pastels, it's normal practice to work dark to light. It's also crucial that you avoid overdoing an oil pastel drawing. 

Oil pastels are renowned for their ability to blend together. But, if you work them too long, they will blend into a muddy mess. 

Waterbased Oils Patsels

As a school-based art supply, water-based oil pastels offer a simple, cheap solution to the artist who doesn't wish to work with white spirit.

These oil pastels generate rich color schemes and are remarkably easy to work with on a paper surface, offering the beginner an easy path to accessing this sometimes tricky medium.

Premium Colored Pencils

Characteristics: Pricer colored pencils have several recognizable features:

A high-quality barrel will compose high-quality materials. This protects the core of the pencil if accidentally dropped. 

Also, an artist's grade pencil will be lacquered to the same color as the pencil core and contain the pigment code and a lightfastness rating.

Low-Quality Alternatives

When purchasing cheaper varieties of color pencils, you will need to consider the following points.

Mixing Pigment. How well can you combine layers of pigment and mix a range of different colors together? Often cheaper pencil varieties will not perform this technique very well due to the pigment quality in the pencil core.

Blending Colors. If you are looking to create impressive-looking color pencil drawings, you will need to blend a wide range of colors on the surface of your paper. 

Frequently low-quality pencils will contain a reduced or low-quality pigment which results in a low lightfast rating. This means the colors will deteriorate over a short space of time.

Liquid Art Supply

Drawing Inks

Sepia Inks create a walnut finish creating a vintage appearance.

Sepia inks are great for producing a tonal setting or illustrative brushwork where black Ink is too harsh.

Raw Sienna Ink, a great alternative to Sepia Ink, is Raw Sienna Ink. Excellent for producing stunning colored backgrounds in your artwork. 

If you are interested in testing a limited pallet, this ink is a solid option.

Chinese Ink. Are you looking to add textural characteristics to your drawings? Using an old paintbrush with Chinese Ink is a great way to add character to add image.

What Kind of Sketchbooks Should you Get?

There are many varied kinds of sketchpads on the market that differ in both quality and price. Sketchbooks can also be spiral-bound, which means that pages can be turned easily without tearing the page.

The quality of the paper inside a sketchbook can vary enormously. A cheaper cold press sketchbook contains low-quality paper, which is ideal for drawing and sketching in.

However, a higher quality paper sketchbook supplies the artist with heavy-duty paper, perfect for mixed or wet drawing media.

What Are Traditional Art Supplies?

Paint Brushes 

Buying high-grade paintbrushes is a worthwhile expense because if they are cared for correctly, they will last for years. 

Quality watercolor brushes will last you for a long time, given you take care of them.

Oil and acrylic paints offer artists unique abilities, but they also tend to ruin brushes if you aren't careful.


Watercolor is a versatile medium that can be combined with both ink and graphite. Watercolor sets are available in a variety of sizes varying in quality.

One of the real benefits of watercolor is the variety of results color washes can produce when applying with brushes, mist spray,


Watercolor is ideal when used in a portable set on location painting and sketch landscape or urban scenes.


Canvas is the media support of choice for artists who work in oils and acrylics. Canvas will also support various media such as graphite and oil pastels.

Canvas Boards

For mixed media artists who need and more rigid surface with less give, canvas board is an excellent choice. Canvas boards are available to buy in a variety of sizes, from A4 to larger-scale canvas. 


Easels are used extensively for drawing and painting both in-studio and on-location when working directly from observation.

Easels are available in many shapes and sizes, from the larger heavyweight H frame easel to lightweight aluminum portable designs.

Mahl Stick

The artist primarily uses Mahl sticks to steady the hand and arm as they paint using an upright easel.

If you are producing an exceptionally detailed painting and need to apply minute levels of detail, steady detailed brushwork is needed. A mahl stick will help you accomplish this job a lot more easily.

Specialized Art Items

Camera Lucida

A camera lucida is a specialized item of equipment from which artists can transfer and ghost image of what they are drawing onto the paper.

This tool was developed by the old masters the help them draw correct perspectives and proportions in their drawings and paintings.

In the modern context, excellent draught people such as David Hockney have studied the benefits of using a protection device to create a drawing. To find out more, read my detailed post. How to draw with a Camera Lucida. Use this Link.

Drawing Easels

Drawing easels are suitable for artists who want to draw and paint vertically for instance when figure drawing or drawing a landscape scene on location. Drawing using an easel will bring a new dimension to your drawing technique. What Is The Best Drawing Easel?

Create Art With My Favourite Drawing Resources

General Drawing Courses. I like Udemy if you want to develop your knowledge of drawing techniques. Udemy is an excellent choice due to its wide range of creative courses and excellent refund policy. They often have monthly discounts for new customers, which you can check here. Use my link.

Sketching and Collage. Take a look at this sketching resource I have created. Use this link.

Proko. Is one of my favorite teachers who surpasses in the teaching of Anatomy and Figure drawing. Prokos course breaks down the drawing of the human body into easy-to-follow components aiding the beginner to make rapid progress. For this, I really like Proko.

Art Easels. One of my favorite ways to draw is by using a drawing easel, which develops the skill of drawing on a vertical surface. The H frame easel is an excellent vertical way to add variety to the style and type of marks you create when using a drawing board.

To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations, check out this resource I made for you.


Ian Walsh is the creator and author of improvedrawing.com and an Art teacher based in Merseyside in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE in teaching Art and Design. He has been teaching Art for over 24 Years in different parts of the UK. When not teaching Ian spending his time developing this website and creating content for the improvedrawing channel.

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