Lesson 1 I What to buy and why

Watch the lesson for free on our YouTube channel

This is a video and blog series teaching the fundamentals of drawing in an easy to understand way. The series consists of 15 lessons presented by artist Lillian Gray.


Hi. I’m Lillian Gray, South African fine artist, and owner of the Lillian Gray fine art school. I’ve had a few calls of anxious, stressed out, overwhelmed students calling me from art stores, feeling overwhelmed. And they ask me “Lillian, please just tell me what do I need to buy and where do I start”. This is what this video is about! What to buy and why when you want to start drawing.

Quality Drawing Pencils

First up is your quality drawing pencils. There are various sets on the market and it can be overwhelming, with different brands. If you are on a budget the best brand to get is your Faber Castell. Another great set and my personal favourite, the one I recommend is your Derwent Pencils. The reason for this is that this beautiful set comes in quite a variety of different pencil grades. As you can see here in the box, there are twelve different variations of darkness that you could use. The other great thing about this set is that it comes in this beautiful protective tin that really helps to protect your pencils from breakage. 

Drawing Surface

Next up is your drawing surface. Which sketchbook or drawing pad will you be using? My personal favourite sketchbook is a ring-bound book that you can keep in your bag so you can draw at any time. More about sketchbooks in my next video. Another very important thing is your drawing pad. This is what we’ll actually be using to do all our drawing exercises in this course. 

A Variety of Erasers

Rubber Eraser

Putty Eraser

Electric Eraser

A variety of erasers is essential for any drawing kit. We’ve got the standard school eraser that we all know, but this one from Faber Castell is dust-free, which is really really great if you don’t want all those little flakes on your page, or brush them away that could potentially smudge your artwork. A must-have is a good putty eraser.

Try and find one that comes in a container so that it doesn’t dry out and lose moisture. Your putty eraser can mould to any shape and pick up graphite from your page in a really great way. Great for mark-making. And the absolute Rolls-Royce of an eraser is an electric eraser. When this came out and the first time I saw it I thought, oh my word what are they gonna come up with next. But now this is an essential part of my drawing and I cannot actually live without it. 

Paper Stumps

Paper stumps are great for moving materials around on your page, smudging, and creating beautiful marks. We don’t want to use our fingers because you’ve got last night’s McDonald’s on them or maybe this morning’s breakfast, so we don’t want to get our oily hands on our artwork. This is why paper stumps are essential to blend. 

What to buy in order to start drawing
Essential Drawing Supplies according to artist Lillian Gray

Additional Extras 

Now that we have covered the essentials there are a few extra things you can get if your budget allows it. 

Drawing Board

Number one is a great drawing board. I’ve just got a masonite one with two bull clips. But you do get professional ones at Art shops. What this artboard allows you to do, is you can just clip your paper on and you can draw anywhere, in any position and you have it on-site to draw from life. 

Drawing board

Art Storage Bag

Another thing to get is a proper art storage bag. They do come in various sizes. Just remember, if you don’t respect your art nobody else will. So how you treat your artwork is essential.  Please store your artwork and keep your old sketches. It is great to look back within a year and see your progress. It makes a really good laugh as well, sometimes. 

Art Storage Bag

Shop Online with us. 

To make your life easy you can shop our Drawing Kit online with us. A special box with all the supplies curated by me. Look at the link below and you will receive all the drawing goodies covered in this video.

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