Choose Your Practice Weapons: What drawing equipment you need in order to start drawing.

September 26, 2012 in Beginners, Lvl 0

The grace to be a beginner is always the best prayer for an artist. The beginner’s humility and openness lead to exploration. Exploration leads to accomplishment. All of it begins at the beginning, with the first small and scary step. ~Julia Cameron

The Secret Weapons of Good Drawings

Go ahead, try me.

I know what you’re thinking,

“To even start drawing, I have to have all those tools that artists have. I don’t even know what I need.  What should I buy? How is it used.  I don’t know about pencils and papers and pens. It seems so expensive. I don’t have the money to be able to learn to draw.”

Draftsmen walk around with, “The Arsenal.”  You know the one. It’s a special little art box or bag where, when opened, you see all kinds of strange pencils, markers, pens, brushes and even razor blades. These are weapons the draftsmen use to practice their art.

Not too far from that, is “The Tome”.  You know it by it’s more common name, “The Sketchbook”.  The book of secrets all artists carry around and whip out when the whim attacks.

Here, I will tell you the secret weapons that all draftsmen use to do what they need to do.  You will learn the answer to what you should use to get good at drawing.

Behold The Ultimate Drawing Weapons

The mystery revealed.

Below is a list of ALL the tools you REALLY need to learn to start drawing.  Each one of the tools below is also an affiliate link. Yes, I get a percentage of the tools you buy through the links and it will make me rich, RICH I TELL YA! BWAAH HA HA HA!

BEHOLD the super expensiveness of learning to draw. Here are the tools you need to buy:

  1. Regular Pencils– Like the ones you used in school.  Or just look around the house for ANY pencil you use to write with.  It will be fine. If you have a mechanical pencil, that’s fine too.
  2. Pencil Sharpener– To sharpen your pencils with.
  3. An Eraser– The pink kind will do for now. If your pencils have erasers, use those but sometimes they run down too fast. There are better erasers out there than the pink ones but really it doesn’t matter for you right now. As long as it erases without smugging everything, it’s cool!
  4. Some Ballpoint Pens– The cheaper the better.  They feel like pencils and control like pencils, but you can’t erase. They’re my favorite to sketch with.  You really don’t need anything fancy.
  5. Paper-If it’s blank it’s good. If it’s NOT blank, it’s STILL good.  Newspaper? Fine. Line Paper? Fine. Yellow notepads? Fine. Sticky note? Fine. Construction Paper? Fine. It doesn’t matter. If you can draw on it. It’s fine.

As you can see, I was being sarcastic when I said this was expensive.  Whatever you have around the house that you use to write with, can also be used to draw with. You DON’T need fancy drawing supplies.

Use what you have on hand. You don’t have to buy anything.

If you REALLY want to, you can buy using my affiliate links.

Okay, having said ALL THAT…I WILL be talking about color later on. This means you might want to get a hold of something to color with in order to do the exercises

What you might need is: Crayons, Water colors, or Color pencils.

None of those things should be very expensive to get (if you live in the U.S., you can get this stuff at a dollars store). Just make sure that they have the colors: Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Orange and Purple.

I will mention Color pencils in the “tracing” lesson so, just a heads up.  You don’t NEED them but they are an option.

If you plan to take this serious and you’re planning to do the Lvl 1 stuff after you’re done with Lvl 0, you can purchase the tools I recommend at THAT level.  Be careful not to jump the gun!

There isn’t a reason to, at this point.

The Myth of Tools

Here’s the truth: It’s not the tools used that makes a good drawing- it’s the skill of the draftsman.  <=CLICK TO RETWEET

Give a great draftsman a box of crayons and his drawings will still be awesome.

My Kung Fu teacher once did a weekend workshop where he simply taught general, “less flowery” self defense. In that workshop we learned all kinds a very practical things. Including. how to protect ourselves with a rolled up magazine and how to use a pack of bubble gum as a weapon.

No joke.

Ever watch Jackie Chan movies? Ever notice that when he gets in a fight in those movies and doesn’t have a weapon, he uses anything that’s on hand? Chairs, decorative antlers, shopping carts, pool sticks, a refrigerator door, a rope with a horseshoe on it, an umbrella, a ladder…etc. Those aren’t weapons until he uses them like one.

What did the great Renaissance masters have? Markers? Brush pens? Mechanical pencils?

No, they just had crummy brushes, paints they made themselves, quills and ink and rudimentary pencils. Yet, with these tools they did so much.

The point is, don’t worry about the tools. Don’t worry about getting the perfect set of really expensive pencils and a fancy sketchbook. The first thing you need to do is get used to making the pencils and pens do what you need them to do.

You can worry about getting better equipment once you feel comfortable enough with your drawing that you feel you’re ready for more.

Your Exercise

Go around your home and look for any pens, pencils and paper that you can find.  These  are your drawing supplies.  Use them to start drawing.

Pro Tip

ONLY buy expensive paper when you’re actually going to use it for finished drawing. For the most part, find the cheapest paper you can find and draw on that.  You’re going to be drawing a LOT and none of it will be all that pretty.  The more fancy the paper, the more precious you will become with what you do. Don’t be precious. Simply draw and know you’ll probably throw away that paper and your drawings when you’re done.

You’ll end up learning more when you’re under less pressure to do something fancy on fancy paper.


I can’t help you if you don’t ask.

What’s your burning drawing tools related questions?

Is there something you’ve always wanted to know about some pencils, brush, paper, pen? Ask.

I’ll give you my best answer and, who knows,  probably write a post about it.

Leave any comments and questions in the comments below.

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