Drawing How to: Materials

Armand Cabrera

There are a lot of things you can draw with; Charcoal, pastels, pencils, pens, felt markers for the sake of brevity I am going to focus on pencils.

There are a few basic things you need to have.

A kneaded eraser is a great eraser; I like them better than the hard pink ones. The eraser keeps things crisp and your whites white. I let the blank paper be my white but it helps to have the eraser to pick out areas that might smudge when working. A separate piece of paper works as a hand rest to reduce smudging also.

Pencils come in different lead grades and these control how dark of a mark you can make. I like a very dark one and a medium one. With those two I can get any tone I want. I like a 5 B and a B but try a variety and see what works for you. I use Derwent Graphics, Berol and General Artists Series
A small utility knife for sharpening your pencils is a very important part of your tool set. When you sharpen them do it so you have about an inch or more of lead showing. That way you can get a fine line or a very broad stroke. In the beginning you will go through a lot of pencils when you sharpen them this way because you will break them often. Practice on some cheap pencils first.
I keep everything in an old pencil box. It is the kind that has three tiers of compartments and a sliding lid. It’s compact, light and efficient. I can keep all my drawing supplies in it when I’m traveling and it will fit easily in a pack.
I use sketchbooks with smooth paper in them and buy them in bulk online. I am constanly buying sketchbooks. Crescent black books are my favorite but again try some different things and see what works for you. I know some people take a hundred pages of their favorite paper into a FedEx Office Store and have them bound into spiral sketchbooks for a couple of dollars. It’s a great solution if you can’t get the exact kind of paper you want already in a sketchbook commercially.
Next week, I’ll go into process and some ways to approach a drawing.

8 thoughts on “Drawing How to: Materials

  1. Jason,

    Thanks. I'm old, they were popular back in the fifties and early sixties and probably before that. I think they still make a two tier version. I found mine online for a couple of bucks.

  2. Great advice. Kneaded erasers are a must, I agree. having paper bound at fedex is a GREAT idea!!

    The pencil box is brilliant – I have not seen a three tier one like that before. I must find one – any tips on who used to make them?

  3. OK, thanks. I use Faber Castell lead holders – 3.?? mm leads – 4B and 6B a lot – love 'em. Looking forward to you next post! Jon

  4. Great post Armand! Pencil drawing/sketching has always been a simple pleasure.
    I have difficulty sharpening the lead the way you mention,(snap! darn!) but I can do it.

    Thanks for all your posts!

  5. Bill,

    It takes some getting used to but it keeps your hand in a better position for drawing and once you have it under control it gives you more variety than sharpening the normal way.

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