Pencil drawing kit for beginners

Various pencils: Mechanical, Charcoal, and Graphite


Here are some basic supplies to purchase if you are just starting out.

Graded pencils:  6B – 6H pencils should be sufficient for most shading lessons and drawings. The letters indicate the softness and hardness of the lead. The H pencils draw lighter lines and have harder leads in the shaft of the pencil. The higher the (H-grade), the lighter the marks will be.

When adding the values to the piece, it’s always best to start off with the lighter values and gradually build-up to the darker values. Most beginners have heavy hands and find it hard to draw light lines. (I fall into that heavy-handed category.) The pros add values in passes, starting with the lighter values and gradually building up the darkness.

Darker pencils or B grade pencils are used to add shadows and shading to the finished piece.

If you don’t want to buy a set of graded pencils, that’s fine. A number 2 pencil will suffice. Just use a light touch when starting a sketch and increase the pressure for the darker values.

Bottom line: Start your drawings with the lighter values and gradually build up darker values with softer leads. A basic set of multi-grade pencils will make applying values easier than one or two pencil grades.


Sketchbooks: The beginner doesn’t need to get all the sketchbooks on the market. A simple 8 x 11 sketchbook 100 sheets, with the acid-free paper by Bienfang, is sufficient.



There are three types of sketchbooks that are used for specific mediums: watercolor, pastels,  graphite, etc. We will do deep dive into the brands, and types of sketchbooks in a later article. The type purchased depends on the use. For example, watercolor drawings require a heavy, textured surface so that the paints don’t bleed through.

Here are the three types of sketchbooks used by professional artists.

  • smooth,
  • textured,
  • and colored papers.

Again do not worry about this now. Just stick with the basic sketchbook. As your skills and experience grow then you can purchase the other sketchbooks.

Various erasers:

  • gum erasers
  • kneaded erasers
  • pencil erasers

Assorted Tortillons: Great for shading and applying tones to drawings.

Optional: You may want to get a carrying case to store your supplies.

In all honesty,  you can get by with a simple #2 pencil, printing/notebook paper, and a gum eraser.

Caution: A common #2 pencil is a darker pencil so a lighter hand is required if you are going to draw with it. The dark lines may still be present after erasing.

What are tortillons and kneaded erasers?

Kneaded erasers are used to erase in tight spaces or small lines. It can be kneaded into various shapes to reach hard to get places on the drawing.

Kneaded eraser

Tortillons or blending stomps are rolled up pieces of paper in a tube form. They are used to shade and smooth out the lines on drawings. Blending stomps come in different lengths and diameters and can be purchased as a set.

Blending Stomps

Equipment for advanced beginners

That’s all the equipment you need for just starting out. No need to buy the expensive supplies now. When your interest grows you’ll see the purpose of the other supplies.

Here’s to good drawing!

Please comment on your favorite drawing supplies which could be helpful to other beginners.



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