Basics: Supplies: Drawing

What drawing materials do we generally have on hand? Here’s a list. Anything to add? Leave a comment!

Crayons: While beeswax crayons are great, especially for smaller hands (we have both sticks and blocks), there’s nothing wrong with a box of Crayola crayons, either. We have a couple of baby wipe containers full of standard crayons. They get used all the time. (But cheap, no-name crayons are just frustrating, and the block crayons really are the best for doing rubbings.)

Colored pencils: This comes down to preference, but definitely have some on hand. They’re easier to draw with than crayons. I can’t remember my six-year-old ever drawing with a standard, erasable pencil; he sets right in with his colored pencils. I love the confidence displayed with that decision. He’s been working with a set of Faber-Castell pencils that he was given. The supply list from the boys’ school requests Crayola brand, because, they say, they’re easier to sharpen. (I’ve never had a problem with others, but perhaps they’re easier for the kids to sharpen?) I do like the Lyra chunky pencils, especially the shorter ones for smaller hands.

Markers: We don’t use these often, but we have a set of Prismacolor permanent markers, the kind with a fat tip on one end and a skinny tip on the other. I also have some extra-fine Sharpies for drawing. I don’t like washable markers; they smear. We’ve had a set of permanent markers since my oldest was about four. At first he used them with supervision, as did his younger brother when the time came. But it didn’t take long for either of them to be able to use permanent markers on their own in a completely trustworthy way. Right now, they’re on a shelf my two-year-old can’t reach.

Pastels: Crayola oil pastels are inexpensive and easy to hold. Pastels also come in a chalk variety. We all really enjoy drawing with the pastels.

Colored chalk: We have both the blackboard kind, and the drawing kind. Be aware that anything that says “drawing” generally isn’t recommended for chalkboards.

Conte crayons: I just like these, and they’re a nice addition if you’re experimenting with various media.

Charcoal: Black, white, pencils, sticks, vine, willow. Get an assortment and experiment.

Drawing pencils: I’m not a big fan of erasable pencils. I think it can lead to overthinking and trying to reach perfection—I think when the option to erase exists, it will be taken, until a child gets so focused on getting that one detail just right that he loses perspective on the drawing as a whole. That’s not to say that your child might behave differently, or that at some point a drawing pencil really is going to be just the right tool for the job. (We used them, for example, for our shadow drawings.) So what you need to know, if you are looking to buy artist drawing pencils rather than the standard office-supply #2 pencil, is that they’re rated according to hardness. If you like a very soft pencil, go for the B side of the scale; the higher the number before the B, the softer it is. If you like a hard pencil, go towards the H end of the scale–again, the higher the number, the harder it is. 2H roughly corresponds to a basic #2 pencil. (For another take on not using pencils, see this post–and comments–on Deep Space Sparkle.)

One of our sets of sketching pencils (out of order)

One of our sets of sketching pencils (out of order)

Explanation of pencil hardness from inside the tin of the pencil set.

Explanation of pencil hardness from inside the tin of the pencil set.

I think that covers the basics. Please add to this list in the comments, if you have a favorite drawing material I haven’t included. And happy drawing!

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5 Responses to Basics: Supplies: Drawing

  1. Michelle says:

    Hmmm . . . I’ve always wondered why the drawing stuff isn’t for blackboards. Is it more like chalk pastels? I have trouble finding good board chalk locally, so we started using the sidewalk chalk for form drawing on the board. It’s chunky and oh so smooth. No crazy screeching noises. It’s probably ruining my board somehow, though. Oh well, my board could stand a new coating anyway.

    • I think it has to do with the pigment. When I called to ask Sargent what would happen if I used drawing chalk on a chalkboard, I was told using it a couple times, probably okay, but eventually it wouldn’t wash off anymore. The drawing chalk is also really smooth on paper. I have NO idea what the difference between chalk pastels and drawing chalk is. I know they’re a different shape! ;)

  2. Bells says:

    i meant to tell you I bought some of the fat chalk – did I tell you? – and it was a huge hit. I drew a star and she said ‘star!’ which none of us knew was a word in her vocab! So thank you so much for that. Crayons next I think!

  3. Pingback: {Art Together} Looking Closely | kids in the studio

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