Essential Materials for Drawing and Illustration

September 5th, 2016

Essential Materials for Drawing and Illustration

When you get into sketching, drawing, and illustration, having the best tools in hand makes the job way easier. There is a good chance that you will be confused with the amount of stationery that is available online and in stores. Don’t worry about that! We have compiled a list of what we think are the best ones to use when you get into sketching and illustrations. They range from easy-to-carry notebooks and the best pens you need to get into drawing mode.

A Good Sketchbook/Pad Matters A Lot


This is the most important arsenal in every artist/designers/illustrators kit. Having a quality sketchpad is something of a necessity for every artist. It is even better if these notebooks are small and portable so that you can carry it around wherever you go. You never know when inspiration might strike.

Sketchpads come in various sizes and types. You can use a big one for a complete sketch, a small one for quick jotting down of ideas and concepts. There are plain notebooks, ruled and square and dot grid notebooks; each one of these can be used for different purposes. You also have notebooks which are useful for making light watercolour washes and paintings.

Some of the well-known brands are Moleskine, Field Notes, Canson Sketch Pads, Baron Fig, Piccadilly, Whitelines, Leuchtturm, Fabriano, Fiorentina, Strathmore, and Rhodia. There are many more brands out there, but these are what we feel stand out from the crowd.

Of all the brands mentioned, Moleskine is the leader in sketchpads and notepads. They have a huge collection of notebooks in all sizes and types. They have plain, ruled and square grid notebooks; they also have pads for both sketching and watercolors. They may be a little on the expensive side of things, but these are the best in the market. Their range of notebooks start from as low as $4 and their sketchbooks start from $7.95.

If you are looking for alternative notebooks to the Moleskine, you can check out Baron Fig (starts at $16), Field Notes (starts at $9.95), Piccadilly (starts at $3.60), and Leuchtturm (starts at 3.95; sketchbooks start at $17.50).

The Next Important Thing - A Good Quality Pen

A Good Quality Pen

Everyone has a different method to draw and sketch. Some start out with pencil sketches and then fair it out using pens; some start directly with pens. Sketching with pens can give you great texture, and add a rustic element to your drawings. The sense of freedom you get from drawing straight with a pen is quite unmatched.

Now yes, there are plenty of pens available in the market. You can easily get lost and confused with the amount you see online and in the stationery store. Every pen has its pros and cons, but ultimately it’s all upto you. You can try out each one of them and see which one fits your needs, depending on whether you are into sketching, drawing mandalas, simple doodling or illustrations and more.

All these pens come in various nib sizes ranging from really tiny ones at 0.05, which can be used for really minute details to bigger nibs at 0.8 (or more) for outlining and sketching. Some of the well-known brands in Pens include Copic, Staedtler, Sakura Pigma Micron, Faber Castell, Stabilo, Rotring, Pelikan, Schneider, Prismacolor, and Sharpie. Each one of these pen brands produces the best pens to use for your drawing activities.

Of the complete list we have mentioned, Copic is considered one of the best brands of pens. They make high-quality pens, sketch pens, brush pens and more. They have been around in the market for a while and there are many designers who swear by them. Of course, with great quality comes a big price. They are quite a pricey set of pens, but the pens are an absolute joy to use. Rotring Pens have also a great command in the market, being well-known for their technical pens for really precise drawings and details.

Sakura, Staedtler, Faber Castell, Stabilo all are worthy competitors to the Copic pens. They are all very popular in the world of art and design supplies and you can as well go ahead and use these pens if you don’t want to invest much on the expensive ones. They will not disappoint you at all.


Of course, every artist/designer has his or her own preferences when it comes to materials and tools for drawing/sketching. It’s all upto you on what tools you would like to use when it comes to starting out. There might be many other brands out there who make good quality material, so feel free to try out things before settling on a choice of tools and materials. Through this, you will understand what material is suited for what form of art/drawing, and soon you will be able to judge and use the best materials for your work. 

There are many online stores like Blick, Utretchart where you can buy top quality art material at good prices with many ongoing offers and discounts.

unmatched there are plenty of pens available in the marketCopic is considered one of the best brands of pens
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