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Essential Art supplies for your toolkit!

Updated: Jun 13

The complete guide to my recommended essential materials and equipment supplies for artists.

Essential Art supplies for every artist's toolkit.

Want to know the essential Art supplies to have in your artist toolkit? Look no further, here is my guide talking you through all my recommendations on what you need!

Essential Art supplies: Sketchbooks

A definite essential for any artist is a surface to work on. I would recommend a sketchbook to record all your ideas, observations and experiments, keeping them all in one easily accessible space.

If you will be using paint or inks in your sketchbook, I would recommend one purposefully made for these materials or mixed media. The paper will be thicker and so will be able to handle the water, etc. The gsm number lets you know how thick the paper is, the higher the number the thicker the paper. I would recommend at least 190gsm when using wet media and materials. Watercolour paper will be either hot pressed (HP), cold pressed (NOT) or rough. The difference between these are:

  • HP is the smoothest of watercolour paper, it gives a fairly flat surface.

  • NOT has a medium textured surface, it gives a soft textured surface.

  • Rough is the most textured watercolour paper, it gives a heavily textured surface.

One of my favourite watercolour sketchbooks is either Bockingford HP or NOT. Bockingford holds up well with wet on wet watercolour techniques.

Here is a link to my recommended brand in a practical size: A5 Bockingford sketchbook

I also love these Studiobooks from Print Urchin based in Cardiff Wales. Created by Wendy Roberts at her Press & Bindery. Wendy creates made to order and custom bound sketchbooks in Arches, Saunders & Fabriano papers (Excellent quality paper). I love my own sketchbooks from Wendy at Print Urchin.

Here is a link to my recommended brand Print Urchin's superb sketchbooks: Print Urchin


Essential pencils, rubbers, sharpeners and rulers

Basic essential Art supplies for your toolkit are pencils, an eraser, sharpener and a ruler. I have heard some beginner artists have been told not to use a ruler. If it helps you then use it! Don’t listen to others that are trying to bring negative rules into such a broad field.

I would recommend a good quality sharpener and eraser. Try to avoid plastic based erasers as they can smudge your artwork. kneadable erasers are a firm favourite in many artist’s toolkits. I however prefer a more solid eraser the Derwent soft Art eraser is one of my favourite.

Here's the link to my recommended brand: Derwent soft eraser

B and 2B pencils are the two grades of pencil that I regularly use to sketch with. Pencils are graded using the graphite scale. The graphite scale lets you know the softness/hardness of the graphite. The B grade pencils have a softer graphite which is why I recommend them for sketching. The higher the number in the scale the darker mark they make.

Here's the link to a handy pack of my recommended: 2B pencils

If you haven’t already tried woodless, solid graphite pencils you need to. I love the feel and weight of these type of of pencils. They are definitely an essential for your toolkit, you might love them that much you never go back!

Here's the link to a set of graphite pencils I would recommend: Woodless graphite pencils


Art pens

Most creative people that I have met LOVE stationery and Art supplies. Having a stash of excellent pens for your artwork is an essential for most artists. I have tried and tested many pens throughout my journey as an artist and teacher, here are some of my favourites.

Muji pens are fabulous however their price point is quite high, especially if your are a beginner and just finding your own style. These pens are a perfect alternative. Much kinder on the price, excellent super fine 0.35mm tip perfect for details. The black gel ink is waterproof and fast drying, perfect for sketching or detail work.

Here's the link to my recommended brand handy pack of : 0.35mm Black Gel Ink pens

This pen is perfect for beginners. It looks like pen but writes like a brush. Water based ink with a fine tip, this again is perfect for sketching. Also comes in a small range of colours, I love this graphite/ dark grey tone.

Here's the link to the high quality brush pen I recommend: Kuretake brush pen

Finding a brilliant white pen for sketching and artwork is like finding a needle in a hay stack. These Sakura Gelly Roll pens contain pigment based archival quality ink, which is waterproof and fade resistant. Perfect to use for sketching or adding details to your artwork.

Here's the link to my recommended brand: Sakura Gelly Roll pen

Another firm favourite in many artist’s toolkit, Micron fineliner pens. These pens are reliable with permanent pigment based ink. Perfect for using with wet media as they are waterproof and fade resistant.

Here's the link to my recommended brand of essential: Micron fineliner pens


Coloured pencil crayons

I cannot stress enough how much I LOVE these pencil crayons, they are an essential in my Art supplies. There are some things that are worth investing in higher quality materials as it will make all the difference. Faber-Castell Polychromos Artists’ colour pencils are something you won’t regret investing in. They feel so smooth to use, their colours are vivd and blend so well. I and everyone I have ever recommended them to love using Polychromos pencils to sketch with!

Here's the link to my favourite tin of 24: Polychromos pencil crayons


Essential paint supplies

I would recommend investing in a pan watercolour set, these are essential Art supplies for any artist. Pans are more economical and portable. When starting out you can purchase a smaller half pan set. As you want to extend your colour palette you can buy individual half pans, swapping and changing them in your set. This pocket set by Winsor & Newton is a great starter watercolour set:

Here's the link to the my recommended practical set: Winsor & Newton watercolour set


Paintbrush supplies

Firstly you should experiment with a range of different paintbrushes such as round and flat. I prefer round brushes, I find them easier to use. I would recommend having brushes in at least the sizes 1, 4 and 6. Synthetic brushes from mid-range brands such as Winsor & Newton are great essentials for your toolkit.

Here's the link to a set with my recommended sizes: Winsor & Newton 4 pack paintbrushes


I hope you've enjoyed reading my recommended essential Art supplies for your toolkit. If you have please comment below and check out my other blog posts such as ‘5 reasons why you should learn to draw and paint’. So you don’t miss out on my blog updates make sure you subscribe to our mailing list!


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