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!

If you’re a complete beginner, click here to see my recommendations for you.


Must have art tools pencils for beginnersI 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.


Mechanical Pencil Leads

I use a size 0.5mm lead with a hardness of 4B or HB. The 4B is a much softer/darker lead than HB and I use it for tight areas that need dark or final detailing work (eg: eyelashes). The 4B lead is my absolute favorite pencil. If I could only choose one pencil to draw with, it’s this one.



strathmore drawing paper best paper for drawing portraits

Strathmore Drawing Pad: 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 grasp onto the medium. I recommend this for beginners. It’s very forgiving – it stands up to a lot of heavy erasing.

Best Drawing paper for beginners_Canson Bristol– Canson Bristol Pad: I just discovered this paper and LOVE it! It is really thick and has two distinct sides – one smooth and the other textured. Drawings on the smooth side look great before and even more after blending. Drawings don’t appear grainy, so it’s great for detailed, photo realistic artwork.

The quality of this paper is great for gifting or commissioned artwork because it is nice and thick which is great for framing.



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. If you want to learn more about them (like how to use one and what they do), go to this blog post.


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. You can learn more about paper stumps here. I even have a tutorial where you can make your own!

– 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.


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