sketching should be done using appropriate tools.

Different tools that can be used for sketching

Almost all of us started drawing when we were young. Back in those days, it was not important which materials or tools we were using. Even these weren’t considered also. But a standard pencil on some notebook paper would often “do the trick”.

As we grow older and develop as artists, the materials, and tools that we chose to become more important. The relation between quality art materials and quality artwork becomes essential when the artists pamper him with the best quality products to produce the best artworks.

If you are gearing up to get started towards making your own masterpiece, irrespective of what age you are and what you had been doing, get serious about the quality of materials that you use.

1 .Quality Drawing Pencils

pencil used for sketching

Let’s start off with the most common requisite – quality drawing pencils. When it comes to sketching, pencils are a foremost requirement for any artist. 

Drawing Pencil Sets

Pencil sets generally come in a packaged form in nice tins and can be of great use as they often include the full series of graphite grades. There are many sets which include pencils with harder graphite (9H) through softer graphite (6B).  When the hardness of graphite increases the marks gets lighter and keeps a sharp tip longer, while softer graphite makes a darker mark, but needs constant resharpening. These sets provide the artist with the ability to work with many different values and varieties of the mark.

Individual Pencils

Ironically, many artists don’t use all of the pencils present in a drawing pencil set instead, they use a few of them.  For example, 2H, HB, 2B, and 4B pencils are available in a wide range which is more than in abundance for us. If this is the case, then a pencil set would not make sense. Instead, purchasing the whole pack one could buy single pencils as and when required.

2. Charcoal or Conté

charcoal as a tool for sketching

There are more options to black and white sketching other than sketching with ordinary lead pencils.  An artist’s toolkit is incomplete without charcoal or conté. Charcoal provides a broader range of value and mark-making than what’s possible with lead pencils. Charcoals are often used by artists for their varied characteristics, such as the coarse texture that can leave marks which are less permanent than other art media. It can effectively produce lines that are very light or intensely black, that can easily be removed and yet it can manage to leave stains on paper. From smooth to very coarse this dry medium can be applied to any surface. The manner in which the marks are made is different as well.

Charcoal comes in both stick and pencil form.Charcoal pencils can be sharpened easily making them great that can be used in detailing work.

 Charcoal is a burnt biotic material, while conté is made of clay particles.

When it comes to smudging or moving material around on the surface the usage of blending stumps becomes important for an artist.  A blending stump allows the artist to create gradations in value without introducing the oils of the finger (through finger smudging) which can make a drawing look dirty or uncontrolled. It also allows the artist to make modifications and smooth the areas of value where details are required, that may be hard to get to otherwise.

4. Variety of Erasers

an eraser used in sketching

eraser used in sketching


Erasers are for mistakes – right?  Think again. Erasers can be used as a great mark-making tool as well.  Each eraser posses the effectiveness to create a different mark and should be used as a necessary mode, according to the specific drawing medium.

Here are a few recommended erasers…

Rubber Eraser – It is a common eraser for erasing graphite.  This eraser uses friction to remove any material from the surface.

Kneaded Eraser – This eraser lifts material from the surface itself in place of scraping. It can be stretched and used in different forms to create distinct effects. Over time, this eraser gets dusty but it can be cleaned by pulling and “kneading”.

Gum Eraser – On a sensitive tearing surface this eraser acts a great medium for removing the marks and creating the effects as one desires. It removes the medium through friction, yet preserves the surface as it crumbles the surface on rubbing.

Vinyl or Plastic Erasers – This eraser is the toughest of the bunch.  It can erase almost anything.  

5.A Good Pencil Sharpener:

A quality Pencil sharpener is required to sharpen the pencils.If using a poor quality sharpener, you could be out of a pencil in a matter of moments.Pencil sharpeners are usually of two types-Manual and electric.

Electric Pencil Sharpeners are easily accessible in the markets in varied forms.

A quality electric pencil sharpener is smart enough to sharpen your pencil without eating it all up.Electric pencil sharpeners are nice to have for a quick sharpen the pencil.

Manual Pencil Sharpener

A manual pencil sharpener can do for most of us. They come in many varieties and in different forms.  My favorite is a simple, metal sharpener which you can hold in your hands.  It is easily available, cheap, and apt for usage and can be easily replaced.

Ideally, to sketch all you really need is a pencil or charcoal and a scrap of paper.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s