8 Must Have Art Supplies

As an artist, you probably have hundreds of art supplies in your cupboard which you’ve somehow collected over the years. Some of them you use on a daily basis, and others that just sit there collecting dust year after year. I too have the same dilemma. I make many purchases on discount art supplies and most of the time, I only use a select few.

Below is a list of my 8 must have art supplies. You can click on the images/links for more details. You will be redirected to Amazon in a new window through my affiliate link. Any purchases you make through the link will support RapidFireArt at no addiitonal cost to you :) If you decide to purchase through the link, thank you very much for your support!


must have art supplies pencils

I use this set of Soft Derwent Graphic pencils for most, if not all of my work. For detailing, I use a regular 0.5mm mechanical pencil with a nice grip. I always remove the lead that it comes with and change it out for a 4B or HB by Pentel.

On Amazon, it looks like Derwent has made some changes to the graphics on the tin casing. The pencils are still the same though :)


Mechanical Pencil Leads


– 0.5mm 4B and HB Lead by Pentel: I use a size 0.5mm lead with a hardness of 4B or HB. The 4B is a much darker lead than HB and I use it for tight areas that need dark or final detailing work (eg: eyelashes).


Blending Supplies

– Tortillions and Paper Stumps: These tools are used to blend, smudge or smear your medium to create all sorts of effects. Paper stumps give smooth textures while tortillions give rough textures which you may prefer to use when creating textured fabrics or backgrounds.

– Sandpaper: This is used to sharpen the Paper stump as well as get rid of the layer of graphite/charcoal buildup. This is important, as you need a clean paper stump to avoid transferring the medium when going over lighter areas of your artwork.

– Tissue Paper: I mostly use this to smooth out charcoal or when going over light areas of the skin, I just brush the tissue over the paper in a swift motion.




strathmore drawing paper best paper for drawing portraits

Strathmore Series 300 Drawing Notebook: I’ve used this for 70% of my speed drawings. It picks up the medium very very well, as the paper has a lot of texture to work with.

canson recycled bristol paper best paper for drawing portraits in graphite

– Canson Smooth Vellum Recycled Bristol Pad: I just discovered this paper and LOVE it! It is extremely smooth. I like to use the flip-side for larger drawings because it has a little more texture on the surface. I’ve noticed that erasing dark marks on this paper is not easy, but the thing I like about it is that I can draw with greater detail. The smoothness of the paper allows me to add additional tiny details to my drawings. I don’t mind using a smaller lead size when drawing on this paper. This is the paper I used for 90% of the tutorials on my site.



PrismaColor Kneaded Rubber Eraser: I love these erasers! I prefer these over solid ones especially for erasing tight spaces or using it to pick up a layer of graphite without having to completely remove the medium and then reapplying it. The kneaded eraser does an excellent job at picking up the graphite particles with just the slightest touch.


Blick Art Materials