Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What's in an Artist's toolkit?

For many beginner artists or hobbists they are unsure of what things to get to start creating art. Or if your someone looking at getting art materials as a gift, you may not have a clue what to get. So here is a list of basic materials depending on the medium you wish to work with. Or if you want to diversify your practise then starting with a bit of everything and it will lend itself to experimentation easier.

As some advice and from my own experience, buying cheap or 'student' quality isn't always good for those want to do well at creating. Often, lesser quality materials can create more issues for you. For example, student quality paint can be too water, lacks body, pigment and coverage. The colours tend to be off and not mix well into nice clear colours rather appear dirty.

So here is a list of things you may have as a starting point for your artist toolkit:

  • Charcoal -willow is soft in stick form and great for gestural drawing
  • Graphite - a range of tones works well for sketching shade and form
  • Ink pen - or an artline pen is good for illustration
  • Pastels - 3types to choose from; chalk, wax and oil all provide different qualities but can add colour to your drawing.
  • Kneadable rubber - like putty, it works well for picking up your powdery mediums
  • Paper stump - the pencil like style of compacted paper used for blending (use instead of your finger)
  • Tracing or carbon paper
  • Cartridge paper or pastel paper

  • Quality student grade acrylic paint.
  • Synthetic brushes - assorted sizes. Choose flat as a starting point and a liner for detail
  • Palette knifes - assorted
  • Gesso
  • Painting Medium
  • Bucket for water
  • Palette
  • Rag
  • Canvas

  • printing ink
  • Soft roller
  • Hard roller
  • Brayer
  • Lino
  • Lino tools
  • Watercolour paper
  • Clay tools (you can buy in packs)
  • Clay wire toogles (cuts slabs of clay)
  • Clay (Buff Raku, Terracotta.)
  • Kidney tool (looks as it sounds for smoothing)
  • Rolling pin
  • Boards (Plywood -for sitting clay sculptures on)
  • Sponge
  • Kitchen utensils (knife, fork, spoon)


  1. Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com

  2. Hi Melanie, thanks for your interest in my blog and this posting. I have emailed you regarding your pending question. Cheers Chrissy


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