Beginners Guide to Sketching Tools

If you're looking to start sketching but don't know where to start, stop scrolling! Whether you're tackling landscapes, still lifes, or portraits, choosing the correct tools such as graphite pencils, erasers, and paper can make all the difference in your artistic journey.

To assist you in finding the perfect tools and materials, scroll through this week's field-guide Friday. We'll help you navigate the vast array of options to ensure you're able to set yourself up for success in your drawing endeavors!


What you’ll need to get started with sketching:

  • Graphite pencils
  • Sketchbook
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Erasers
  • Blending stumps
  • Charcoal
  • Fixative spray


Graphite Pencils


Graphite sets are a great option for beginners, as they typically encompass a range of graphite grades, from harder graphite (for lighter, sharper marks) to softer graphite (for darker marks).




To begin your drawing journey, it's important to have quality drawing paper. You can choose between sheets of paper, sketchbooks, or pads.


Pencil Sharpeners


For those new to sketching, a metal two-hole sharpener is ideal. Depending on your personal preference, you may opt for one with or without a shavings collector.




Erasers not only eliminate pencil marks but also can lighten or blur areas in drawings. There are various kinds available, such as the traditional rubber eraser and the versatile kneaded eraser. Beginners should opt for one of each of these.


Blending stumps


Blending stumps, also known as tortillons, are tightly rolled paper formed into a cylindrical shape with tapered ends (similar to a pencil). They are used to blend, smudge, and soften.




Natural charcoal is a piece of willow wood that has been carbonized, while compressed charcoal refers to charcoal powder that has been compacted into blocks or sticks. Charcoal is versatile and easy to use and manipulate.


Fixative Spray


Once finished, protect your sketches by using a fixative spray. It's particularly essential when working with charcoal or pastels, as it stabilizes the medium and prevents smudging or fading.


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