The very best art supplies may cost a pretty penny, but you do not need to spend your entire savings to acquire great materials.
We have rounded up the best traditional art supplies you may purchase online, including graphite, charcoal, pastels, watercolors, acrylic, oil paints, sketchbooks, canvas, and more. }
If you are heading off to art college or you just love to make, you want quality art supplies. While artists who have made it past the”starving artist” stage may use exceptionally expensive supplies to create their masterpieces, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg onto top-tier materials. Often, cheaper options will serve you as well, as long as you have the know-how to make them work to your benefit. We’ve piled up many of the fundamental art supplies you need in your studio in one handy guide.
As someone who’s been drawing since I could hold a crayon, I have been through my fair share of graphite pencils, charcoal, sketchbooks, erasers, and paint collections. I’ve tried dozens of different brands through the years, and a few are still my favorites.
Here are the best art supplies you can buy:
- Best sketchbooks: Strathmore sketchbooks
- Best graphite pencils: Staedtler Pencil Mars Lumograph 12-Piece Set
- Best charcoal: General 33-piece charcoal set
- Best colored pencils: Prismacolor Quality Art 48 Pencil Set
- Best erasers: Prismacolor Premier Kneaded, ArtGum, and Plastic Erasers
- Best pastels: Sennelier, Van Gogh, Koh-i-noor, and Prismacolor
- Best watercolors: Winsor & Newton watercolor paint and Derwent watercolor pencils
- Best acrylic paints: Liquitex BASICS Set and Winsor & Newton Galeria Set
- Best oil paints: Winsor & Newton, Gamblin, and Williamsburg
- Best paintbrushes: Da Vinci brushes
- Best canvas: Fredrix canvas
The Very Best sketchbook Strathmore/Facebook
Strathmore makes exceptional sketchbooks with all sorts of paper, including drawing, watercolor, pastel, charcoal, and much more. }
I typically purchase the ones using recycled paper, but I’ve also used the pastel, charcoal, and watercolor pads for if I want another texture of paper. No matter what media you select, these sketchbooks can handle it.
Of course, the typical paper will warp should you watercolors on it, but for any kind of pen, pencil, mark, or a different drawing apply, it’ll do the task. The paper is a great depth and weight.
When it comes to the watercolor paper, it is sturdy and powerful enough to stand up to lots of water. The light and charcoal paper have an excellent feel to those who really works for the softer press and good blending. Starthmore’s costs are fairly reasonable, too, so that you may sketch away.
Pros: Sturdy sketchbooks, Good newspaper quality, paper forms for different websites, affordable
Disadvantages: Larger sizes cost more, specialty papers have less pages
The best graphite pencils Staedtler
The Staedtler Pencil Mars Lumograph 12-Piece Set comes with the graphite pencils you want to draw as a pro.
Should you draw with graphite pencils, you realize that not all graphite is precisely the same. This Staedtler collection includes 12 pens in various hardnesses from 8B to 6H. For the uninitiated, the greater the number in front of the B, the milder the lead. Conversely, the greater the number facing the H, the harder the lead.
Most people will utilize 2B, HB, and B the most, but should you need deep dark blacks which blend well, you’re going to need 4B and up. For hard, light lines, H pencils are perfect.
The pencils come in a tin for safe keeping, they are easy to sharpen, and they’re comfortable to maintain — even when you draw for hours on end. I have used dozens of graphite pencils, but Staedtler’s are the best for the price.
Pros: Bold graphite pencils, 8B to 6H range, affordable, long lasting
The best charcoal drawing collection
General 33-Piece Classic Charcoal Drawing Set has every kind of charcoal that you need to create beautiful work.
If you are just getting started with charcoal or you want to try a brand new medium, this General charcoal set has all you need, including 18 pencils, 12 sticks, a sharpener, an eraser, and a drawing pad.
Each pen is tagged with its hardness level, and the pair has white charcoal pencils for highlights, too. The kneaded eraser is a great mixing tool, but it may also erase any mistakes fairly well. The charcoal sticks come in a variety of thicknesses, so you may work big or small.
The sole charcoal types that are missing are powder and vine charcoal, but those are specific tools which most folks will not need right away. I have used General charcoal pens for many years, and they’re able to create some great sketches, even though they’re relatively inexpensive.
Pros: Large set with many bits, includes white and black charcoal, comes with eraser, charcoal sticks and pens, affordable
The top colored pens Prismacolor
The Prismacolor Quality Art Collection includes 48 colored pens in exquisite, bright shades. You will also get a sharpener and a Latex-Free Scholar Eraser from the set.
These colored pencils aren’t like the fundamental Crayola ones you employed in elementary school — They’re high quality, soft lead pencils with rich colours. You can produce extraordinary drawings with these Prismacolor pencils or you can colour in an adult coloring book to earn a black and white layout come to life.
These are the coloured pencils I turn to if I am not interested in black and white pictures .
Experts: Bold colors, lots of variety, long lasting, eraser and sharpener included, affordable
The best erasers
Prismacolor/Business Insider – Prismacolor Premier Kneaded, ArtGum and Plastic Erasers will eliminate any mistake you make.
I personally only use kneaded erasers, since they work with media and they don’t shed eraser bits everywhere, but also the ArtGum eraser is very good for stubborn graphite and the Plastic eraser does not drop, either.
Because this set provides you three, you can pick and choose which one you want dependent on the medium you are working with.
Experts: Three Kinds of eraser, affordable
The Very Best pastels
Sennelier makes the absolute best oil and soft pastels, however Van Gogh, Koh-i-noor, and Prismacolor are fine alternatives. }
One of my favourite mediums is twofold. The rich, bold colors and easy mixing make for the perfect drawing experience. Of all the pastels I’ve employed, Sennelier’s would be the best. Its oil pastels, particularly, are magnificent. The richness of these colours is unparalleled and you’ll be able to feel the oiliness of the pastel. I lust over them every time that I got to the art shop.
But, Sennelier’s products are very expensive, since they are one of the best in the business at pastels. Since not everybody can spend hundreds on pastels — myself included, alas — Van Gogh makes great oil pastels for less, Koh-i-noor sells wonderful soft light pencils, also Prismacolor makes amazing soft pastels for an affordable price.
I mostly use soft pastel pens, since the fine tip provides you more control over your drawing and nice detail. But when you’re working big and you want to blend, Prismacolor’s pastels are ideal.
Van Gogh’s oil pastels are nearly as pigmented and rich since Sennelier’s and they mix very well. You can even thin them with linseed oil, just like you’d oil paint if you’d like a painterly look.
Experts: Beautiful oil and soft pastels, good variety of colors, strong pigments
Disadvantages: Sennelier’s pastels Are Costly
Besides the product shown at the top, here are other Strathmore products we recommend:
- Buy two Strathmore Series 400 Sketch Pads, 9 x 12, Wire Bound, 100 Sheets on Amazon for $14.44
- Buy the Strathmore 400 Series Watercolor Pad, 9 x 12, Wire Bound, 12 Sheets on Amazon for $8.67
- Buy the Strathmore 300 Series Charcoal Pad, White, 11 x 17, Wire Bound, 32 Sheets on Amazon for $10.54
- Buy the Strathmore 400 Series Pastel Pad, Assorted Colors, 11 x 14 Glue Bound, 24 Sheets on Amazon for $12.71
The best acrylic paint
Liquitex – Galeria Acrylic Paint 10 Tube Set are great starter kits for painting
My very first pair of acrylic paints was the BASICS set by Liquitex. The set includes 12 colors that you can mix to your heart’s content to make more shades. You only need these basic colors to make every colour of the rainbow.
Obviously, this budget collection isn’t that high-end, so if you’re looking for something somewhat better, the Winsor & Newton 10-tube collection is a superb alternative. You will pay more for high quality paint and powerful pigments. You can’t go wrong with either one, really.
Pros: Strong colours, cheap options, high quality Alternatives, sets provide great value
Disadvantages: Small tubes, can get expensive
The best oil paint
Represent very different price points to satisfy any funding
The most expensive artwork you can get into is acrylic painting, but it’s also among the most powerful forms of artwork. Oil paint is more richer than oil and it stays wet longer for better mixing, blending, and use over the course of long-term projects.
Winsor & Newton make a good oil paint that is acceptable for beginners or musicians on a budget. Gamblin falls from the middle, while Williamsburg’s handmade oils are considered one of the best. They’re offered by tubes and not by places, so that you can select the colors you need.
The gaps are at the richness of the pigments, the oils used to produce the paints, and the procedure where the paint is created. You can spend hundreds on small tubes of the best oils, but these three options will serve you well until you become as famous as Picasso.
Pros: Strong colors, affordable options, high quality Alternatives, sets offer great value
Disadvantages: Small tubes, can get pricey if you go with the luxury paint
The best brushes [DaVinci Brushes]
Regardless of what medium you paint in, da Vinci Brushes gets the brush you want. There are more brushes on the market than can be set in a simple guide similar to this, but da Vinci’s wares are rather affordable and durable, so we’ve included them .
A few of the brushes are artificial, but others are created from real animal bristle and hair. There is a good deal of debate over what materials are best, but we have included a mixture at different price points.
The major advice we’ve got on brushes is don’t find cheap terrible ones which shed all over your own canvas.
Experts: Brushes for many media, comparatively cheap, no shedding, sets offer great value
Disadvantages: Real hair and bristle price more
The best canvas
Fredrix makes good canvas, and it’s almost always cheaper to stretch your own canvas than to buy pre-made ones. }
If you’re operating in oil or acrylic, it is tempting to purchase pre-stretched canvases and have it done. But you can save loads of money — particularly in the event that you paint on huge canvases — if you make your own canvases.
To do it yourself, you’ll need wood to the frame, canvas, a staple gun, and yarn pliers to stretch it properly. I’ve made canvases earlier, and it might be difficult work, but it’s worth it.
Plus, you can say you left it in the long run.
Fredrix sells canvas in several forms and sizes. You can make it primed or unprimed in case you would rather do it yourself using a giant bucket of gesso or in the event that you just want a raw yarn.
Pros: Canvas is more economical when you make your own, good quality canvas fabric, primed or unprimed
Disadvantages: Canvas is pricey, time-consuming to make
The best college supplies and dorm room principles
Sending your child off to school is nerve-wracking. The best that you can do is impart a few life lessons and outfit your child’s dorm room with all the essentials. We have rounded up everything your kid needs for their dorm room from decor and bedding to tech and school supplies.