Guide to Drawing Materials

Oct 30 / Elina
Drawing is an enthralling art form that allows us to express ourselves and bring our dreams to reality. Every decision, from picking the best paper to selecting the best pencils and erasers, contributes to the ultimate masterpiece. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist looking to improve your abilities, choosing the correct drawing supplies is critical to attaining your goals. In this blog post, we will examine several drawing materials and explain their distinct traits, benefits, and how they might help the artistic process.

Drawing paper

Bristol board – has a smooth drawing surface; this kind of paper can hold pressure, so while drawing, it will not tear or bleed through onto the other side.

Cartridge paper – this type of paper is mainly used for illustration and drawing, its high quality and heavy paper. This is the best paper for graphite drawing. Regarding the colour of the paper, there are various white shades for which shade to choose. It’s a matter of personal taste and preferences. For example, I prefer to use off-white, which is a bit warmer, and in my opinion, it gives the drawing some extra depth.

Here are some aspects to think of when choosing a paper;

Drawing on toned paper can create a different atmosphere and mood than on white paper. Toned paper is frequently used to provide depth and mood to subjects that require a lot of shade, such as landscapes, portraits, and still lifes. When you draw on toned paper, the colour of the paper functions as a mid-tone, which means your highlights and shadows will have more excellent contrast and seem more lively. 

On the other hand, drawing on white paper may be a better choice if you want a clean and sharp look. It also depends on the media used. Some materials, such as coloured pencils or pastels, may perform better on toned paper than others, such as ink or markers.


There are a lot of brands, and it can get quite confusing when you have to choose. During four years of academic drawing, I have tried out different brands. Once more, I can tell that just like the shade of your paper, the brand of the pencils is a matter of personal taste. The safest choice and the best choice for beginners would be Faber-Castell. They offer pencils in 16 different degrees of hardness, so you will have a wide variety to select the best ones. Especially if you are a beginner, I suggest buying the whole set to try out them.

For sketching, I personally like to use 2H or H. Sometimes I also use HB, but it depends on the brand. As for drawing, I like to use B or 2B. However, it depends on the object I am drawing and the atmosphere I want to create. B or 2B are the basic ones and the ones that I use most often. As for others, for example, 4B or 6B etc., I use these when I want my work to appear more dramatical or to give some kind of special feeling.
Also, there is a mechanical pen which I suggest using only for sketching and not for drawing. The biggest issue with this is that it can be challenging to achieve the same look or feeling as you would with a pencil. In the academic drawing, shading is significant! The best shading is the one which looks natural, and this effect of natural shading can be achieved with a pencil. Still, if you try to shade with a mechanical pencil, the lines can become too visible, ruining the whole atmosphere of the drawing.


The first type of eraser to recommend would be the pen-type of eraser. Which is small, and you can be very accurate with what you erase. As well it can help create highlights in the drawing.

Then there is another type of eraser which is kneaded eraser. This one can be handy if some parts of your drawing have turned too dark. You can use this eraser to make them lighter. Ordinary erasers would leave stains if you tried to do that. Therefore a kneaded eraser can be handy in this type of situation. They may also be stretched, compressed, split, and moulded for precision erasing, pruning lines, polishing edges, producing highlights through subtractive drawing, and doing other precise work. 
  • You can use the classical pencil sharpeners; however, I suggest sharpening the pencils with a paper-knife for graphite drawings. It allows complete control of the shape and length of their pencil point. Nevertheless, it takes some time to learn how to do it correctly. 

  • It is not recommended to use rulers and other similar tools in classical academic drawing. Artists learn to draw straight lines and circles independently without any extra support.
Finally, the materials we use to draw significantly impact the outcome of our artistic attempts. Each factor, from the texture and weight of the paper to the spectrum of pencil hardness, contributes to the distinct character of our artwork. The choices are unlimited! Whether you prefer the sharpness of white paper or the moodiness of toned paper and whether you draw with precision or want a dramatic impact. Remember to experiment with different materials to determine what works best for you. Allow your imagination to fly and your artistic concepts to come to life with the appropriate tools. 

Have fun drawing!
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