Finding the correct art materials and tools to use for your artworks can sometimes be challenging and very costly. As an artist myself, I understand how important it is to have high quality materials, as it greatly affects the outcome of your drawing, and ultimately how others perceive it.
So, for those who are new in the art world, what is the definition of materials?
Materials is the equipment you use to create your artworks. They all have different qualities, they can be hard or soft, smooth or rough and some materials are heavier than others. You will choose a specific set of materials depending on your art medium and art piece you want to produce, even if the material is the same, the brand and quality can have an influence on the end result.
When I started purchasing art materials, I would spend hours upon hours reading reviews, watching YouTube videos to see how other artists would use them and then I would buy the materials to try them out myself. Now, since I have used a lot of different materials on different mediums, I have a lot of experience and advice with which materials are worth buying.
I will go over two art medium examples and give you my personal opinion on what materials to purchase and the reason why I prefer them. At the end, I will share different online links for the US and UK.
*Please remember this is my personal opinion and preference*
1) Charcoal and Pencil Medium
Buying the correct charcoal materials can be very beneficial for your drawings and also your pocket. In general, good quality charcoal can last up to a year or more because it doesn’t get consumed as quickly as other medium materials. There are very different kinds of charcoal sticks, some people prefer softer sticks but I believe my artworks always turn out better when I use “hard compressed charcoal sticks”.
I often get messages from my students asking me why their drawings aren’t as dark as mine and the main reason is because they haven’t bought good quality charcoal sticks. So naturally they think they are slowly improving. I normally use hard compressed charcoal sticks and many of my students buy Vine or Willow, the reason I don’t use Vine or Willow is because they are medium or soft charcoal sticks and the outcome never comes out as I imagined it.
In general, Willow charcoal comes in shades of grey and is slightly harder, which means your drawing will never have that deep dark feeling you were expecting. Vine charcoal is perfect for the basic composition of drawings, if you want to outline a facial feature or a body, I believe vine would be perfectly fine to use But I don’t use these two myself.
Two materials I suggest you purchase for pencil and charcoal drawing are “Conté à Paris 2B/3B” and “Compressed Hard Charcoal sticks”, as they will give depth to my drawings and it blends perfectly either with brush or stump blending.
I also tend to use certain brushes for my charcoal drawings. I can tell you from my experience that investing in a good quality brush is very important, I have had my brushes for years now and they still work perfectly. Don’t buy soft brushes for charcoal blending, always go for good quality Hog Brushes.
2) Colour Pencil Medium
Each color pencil brand is very different from the other, some are oil based and others are wax based. I suggest that you start with normal pencils that you can easily buy for £1, this way you can see how comfortable you feel with the pencils and start practicing your drawings. Normally when my students are new to my course and they want to try better quality brands, I recommend to buy the Faber Castell small pack of 24 pencils.
My favourite brands are Faber Castell, Caran D’ache, Derwent and prismacolor, they can becosty but in my opinion the quality is outstanding. If you feel confident with the brand, you can buy the small pack, but if you still want to try different brands and colors, another option is to buy singular pencils to feel which one suits your style better. Once you find your favourite one, you can go ahead and buy a bigger pack.
It’s important to understand when it comes to art materials, everyone is different. You need to find the materials that fit you and your drawings style the best. Go with the ones you feel the most comfortable with.
All in all, I want you to be able to find the best materials without having to spend so much money on them. Trust yourself, experiment and experience. Think about the medium you want to learn and start your artistic journey with good materials to boost your confidence and level.
I have created 2 FREE ebooks for you that cover 10 Steps to Improve your Art and 10 Mistakes to avoid in Realistic Portrait Drawing.
If you would like to gain in-depth knowledge and improve your art skills in a specific medium, I have created art courses for you that I have reduced in price by 50% for you all to enjoy during this difficult time.