Art Supplies – What do you need?

Someone who seems to be on my site regularly (thanks Ray) brought up a good point on my post about 10 Thoughts all Artists Experience, and that point was the burning desire to purchase the next shiny toy. I think this thought probably applies to most artists, from painters to writers to traditional graphite artists. My belief is that the thought of buying something new is motivating, and can make an fledgling artist feel hopeful that the new toy will drastically improve the end product.

So. Stop.

Save yourself some money and heartache.

Yes, Prismacolor pencils are going to do better things than Crayola pencils, but the artist needs to have a base to begin with. If the artist can’t draw what he/she wants to produce, new pencils that cost a small fortune aren’t going to fix that problem.

Observe.

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These are my basic tools, and even I have more than might be necessary (look up 5 Pencil Method on YouTube).

My pencils range from 6B to 6H, with an F pencil in there. I have four mechanical pencils of varying sizes/density. I have charcoal (soft and medium), a black pencil, mechanical pencil refills, a sharpener, eraser, kneadable eraser, a chamois cloth, a stick eraser (I also have a mechanical eraser, not pictured), a brush to clean off eraser leftovers, and a circle template that is used entirely for drawing eyes (the only perfect circles in nature), and a little sketchbook. Yes, most of it is all bundled up in a cloth pencil case, so you can count that, too, if you wish.

Let’s be honest here. In pencils, I probably only use 2B, 4B, and 6B for the soft graphite, and 4H and 6H for the hard graphite. It’s very rare that I use the other shades. I often use black to keep the shininess off darker areas of my drawings (such as the pupil).

In order to draw, you need something that leaves a mark (a pencil, for example) and a surface to draw on. That’s it. The rest of the tools will fall in place once the basics are mastered.

The only thing that will make an artist great is practice.

‘Drawing’ White Fur

Ever look at a drawing and think to yourself, “Wow, how did he/she draw that white fur? It looks so soft!”

It’s all an optical illusion. I’ve posted before about how the eye fills in the blanks, and that’s all white fur it. There will be a few lines here and there, but for the most part, it’s blank (or negative) space.

Here are some tips:
1) Hair casts shadows. Shading in small areas of shadow make the white parts look more real and 3D.

2) Less is more! Don’t shade in too much, or you’ll ruin the effect.

3) Draw lightly and use an electric eraser to draw out white lines for whiskers, ear hair, etc.

'Map' - graphite, white ink
‘Map’ – graphite, white ink

In the drawing above, the cat’s whiskers are simply erased area that are outlined with graphite. The ear hair is the same. The forward paw only has shading to separate the toes.

Give it a try!