The most fundamental benefit of drawing is creating expressionistic, handcrafted artwork. Drawing is not only a challenging and rewarding activity, it’s an inexpensive way to express a personal message as well. But it’s admittedly hard to do without access to the right skills and tools.
A beginner may struggle with consistency, for example, as well as with sketching out a pleasing composition. Even a veteran artist can struggle through the creative process, indicating that drawing or sketching — as simple as those activities may seem — requires some real effort. So what can help?
Having the right equipment can help provide a consistent, drawn composition that’s creative and expressionistic at the same time. Let’s look at which tools can help you achieve those three important characteristics of art.
The Right Paper
Before drawing, you’ll need to select one of two types of drawing paper. It all depends on your end goal. Is it to simply sketch something out for later reference, or is it to produce a framed piece of art to show at home or a gallery? If your goal is to create a reference of some sort, such as a study of nudes or still-life, use the cheapest drawing paper you can find. Newsprint paper is a great sketching surface that’s often recommended for beginning art students.
Save the high quality stuff for when you’re creating a professional drawing. High quality drawing paper, such as Strathmore, can be expensive, but worth it. It’s a durable product that resists light damage and small, accidental tears. It’s pretty thick too, meaning you can erase to your heart’s content without compromising the drawing surface.
The Right Erasers
Speaking of erasing, you’ll want to use at least three kinds. The first is the kneadable eraser. This little gem can be stretched every which way but loose to form the perfect erasing shape. It’s also great for picking up excess graphite and lightening areas that may be too dark. It isn’t, however, very effective in removing darkly drawn lines or shapes. For that, you’ll need one of the erasers below.
The next type of eraser you’ll want to use is the Art Gum eraser. This tool easily removes softly drawn lines and shapes, but because it easily crumbles, you’ll need another tool nearby: a large drafting brush. This brush effectively removes debris left from the Art Gum eraser and prevents those smudges you might get from brushing debris away with your hand.
One more eraser you’ll need is a hard, abrasive eraser, like the Pink Pearl eraser. This eraser works great for removing hard lines or extremely dark areas. Care must be taken, however, to not overuse it. This eraser is abrasive, and it will damage the drawing surface if it’s applied with too much pressure or repetitive movements.
The Right Pencils
Every artist has his or her own preferred brand of drawing pencils for some rather specific reasons. Some brands are softer than others, leading to rich, dark drawings, for example, while others are harder, leading to a crisp, cleaner effect. Whichever look you prefer, you must take care to use one brand per drawing because a mixture of brands will create mixed and unpleasant results.
Let’s say that Brand A puts a lot of wax in their pencils, but Brand B avoids it at all costs. If you draw over an area that was rendered with a Brand A pencil, you’ll see an unattractive mess of grooved lines (created with Brand B), cut through the wax coating that Brand A left behind. So for consistency’s sake, commit to one brand of pencil per drawing. One drawing should be rendered with Brand A pencils only, while another should be exclusively rendered with Brand B pencils.
You might want to go for an all-in-one solution like a sketching box which gives you all of the above.
Drawing can be challenging for any skill level, which is why using the right tools is important. So think about what you want to accomplish and then use the information above to help accomplish it.