Beginner Art · Resources and Materials

6 Useful Items for Your Christmas List

So Christmas is coming up and it is a time when you can gain some extra art materials.  Perhaps friends and family are asking what art materials you would like?  What will you say when there are so many things you could ask for?  It is hard not to ask for something that is a bit more of a ‘luxury’ item but my advice would be to make sure you have the essentials first.

Everyone will have their own ideas about what they need materials-wise, but below I have made some suggestions of the materials that I have found most useful:

1. A Good Quality Sketchpad

A4 or A3 Sketchpad
A4 or A3 Sketchpad

If you haven’t already ask for a good quality sketchpad with thicker, grainy cartridge paper. They are much nicer to draw on than low quality sketchpads and they are made better which means they won’t fall apart when you transport them.  It will also cope will with small studies in other media other than pencil. A4 or A3 are the best sizes to go for.  Hard-backed ones will last longer and protect your work.

2. A Set of Pencils 

Again if you haven’t already get a good quality set of pencils, it’s essential!  I would recommend at least five pencils in the B grades, B, 2B, 4B, 6B and 8B as they will give you a full range of tonal values.

Set of Pencils in B grades
Set of Pencils in B grades

3. A Portfolio Case 

A portfolio case is well worth investing in, the better quality ones last for a very long time.  They protect your work and make transporting work a whole lot easier.  A3 is a good size, but if you work larger you may need A2.

4. A Drawing Board

A simple drawing board doesn’t have to cost much and is useful as it allows you to work on your drawings or paintings in an upright position.  The drawing board is a useful alternative to an easel which is more expensive if you want something lower cost or something that doesn’t take up the space of an easel. Easels are great if you like standing to draw or paint but otherwise a drawing board is a good option.

Drawing Boards come in all sorts of designs and prices
Drawing Boards come in all sorts of designs and prices

5. ‘Stay Wet’ Palette

If you like acrylic painting it is well worth getting one of these.  A ‘Stay Wet’ palette allows you to leave paint overnight if you are working on a piece and saves acrylic paint from drying out.  Acrylic paints are know for their fast-drying qualities which can be great for painting but not for use on the palette.

Invest in one of these and you will save so much paint that used to dry up on the palette. They aren’t that expensive and it is an item that saves you money in the long run.

The Stay Wet Palette
The Stay Wet Palette

6. Graphite Stick/Crayons

It surprises many beginners to find out that there are more than just standard pencils out there.  There are all sorts of ‘hybrids’ now like carbon pencils, graphite sticks, pastel pencils and more.

One such variation on the pencil is the graphite stick or crayon and these are worth trying out.  They can be slim with a pointed tip if you buy the graphite pencil but I quite like the chunky graphite stick or crayon.  They are great for large, vigorous work, I like them for life drawing classes as they really free up my style of drawing.

Graphite sticks and pencils
Graphite sticks and pencils

Merry Christmas!

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