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I started drawing with pencils and paper as a kid. I always loved the feel of a fresh, new sketchbook! Since then, my collection of art supplies has grown as I've branched out to explore different mediums. Here are my must-have tools that I think you'll love!


Pencil Materials


Pencil is often one of the first mediums you may learn as an artist. Whether you're a beginner or professional artist, you'll want some pencil tools in your toolbox. I like using mechanical pencils for a few reasons but the main one is, there's no need for a pencil sharpener!

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Pencil is a great medium because it helps you easily capture ideas on the go with values. You can record the essence of a subject through the line work, while also capturing the light and shade- all with pencil alone. It's nice as well because it eliminates the complexities of color, making it an excellent choice for beginner artists. It's also one of the more affordable mediums. You can't really go wrong with graphite pencils! I love using them for more realistic pencil portraits and pencil character sketches too! I use the 0.3mm DraftLine mechanical pencil and a 0.5mm Staedtler mechanical pencil.

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Okay, maybe that sounds a little dramatic. But it's true! Have you ever used a pencil that just felt scratchy? I have, and it's not as fun! I don't know about you, but I want my art materials to be satisfying to work with! The best lead I've found which is soft and smooth is Pentel Lead. I've been using it for decades and will continue to.

0.3mm 3H Pentel Lead

In the yellow 0.3mm pencil, I put 3H Pentel lead. It's a harder lead and I like to use this pencil for lightly planning out my sketches. You can draw really faintly with this lead, which is part of why I love it. You can also draw really smooth skin with this 3H 0.3mm lead! 

0.5mm 4B Pentel Lead

In the Staedtler pencil, I put 0.5 4B lead. This is a nice opposite to my other pencil becasue this one is softer and dark!! You can press hard with this lead and get some realllly dark values when you need them! I love this pencil for sketching dark eye liner on my characters, rhythmic bold lines, and dark shadows. 

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Now paper is one of those things that's quite personal and may take a bit of experimenting to find exactly what you like. But here are two I love when I'm working with my pencils!



Strathmore Bristol 400 Series

Back in the day when I made a lot of pencil portraits, this one (and the Canson Vellum) was my paper of choice! It has a little tooth and makes blending easier than the smooth version of this paper, imo. The paper has a heavy weight to it and feels *special*:) Cover art changes pretty often on these but as long as it says 400 Series - you're good!

HP Premium 32 Paper

I looove this paper for so many things, including pencil character sketches. It's smooth and bright white and if they ever stop making it I don't know what I'll do. Because I use it for sketching with pencils, markers, even note-taking and making prints. It's the Cadillac of papers, but without a huge price tag and it's a must for me.



I like to have two types of erasers on hand when pencil drawing. I use the Pink Pearl for erasing biiig areas. Like if I want to completely resketch something, I'll grab for the Pink Pearl.


I use the grey Faber-Castell Kneaded Eraser for more subtle erasing techniques. This eraser can be used for adding textures, erasing to lighten a value, and more. 

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It took me a few years of trial and error, but here are the blending tools I love the most, (believe it or not!)

For big patches of smooth value on portraits, like skin- I'll use Puffs tissues. They're super soft and work great. 

For smaller blends, like around eye make up for example, I'll use Q-tips

For even smaller areas, for example, around the lash line or in a pupil, I'll use stumps. Art Alternatives is a great brand and I like theirs!

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I love my white gel pen and I use it all the time. I'll use it especially for little dot highlights- like in the eyes, on the tip of the nose, and on the lips. They're so fun! Lots of brands work fine, but I like this Uni-ball Signo a lot!

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I've compiled all my favorite pencil tools into one convenient shopping list (with links!) Just download the shopping list pdf with the button below!



If you're looking to make the investment into digital painting, I think the iPad Pro and Procreate App are the way to go. This medium is incredibly versatile, portable, and just so fun.

I have a couple iPad Pros. I work predominantly on an iPad Pro (12.9-inch) (4th generation) with the Apple Pencil (2nd generation.) But I've also made art on previous generations of iPad Pros and with the Apple Pencil (1st generation) as well. 


I don't think you can go wrong with this medium. Many have dubbed it a "game changer for artists" and I would whole-heartedly agree!


If you're young or just starting with digital mediums, I'd say start low cost. I wouldn't break the bank with your first iPad or iPad Pro. You'll want to make sure you enjoy it first I think. Some of the later iPad versions, you can even use the Apple Pencil! So perhaps even consider an iPad over the iPad Pro. Here's what I would recommend if you're a beginner:


Ipad Materials

If you're an intermediate or professional artist looking to get into Procreate, I'd recommend getting an iPad Pro (12.9-inch) and 4th generation or later. I think you'll like the large working area and the Pro is better for the professional. I'd recommend getting the iPad Pro with as much storage as you can comfortably afford. That way you never have to worry about your storage maxing out. You'll also want an Apple Pencil (2nd Generation.) I wouldn't skip this. The Apple Pencil was made for the iPad Pro and it works great. Below I'll suggest a couple more add-ons you may want to consider as well!


The right iPad or iPad Pro will depend entirely on you and your needs! Here are some final things to think about before purchasing. 

  1. Budget: Determine how much you're willing to spend. iPads can vary greatly in price, and your budget will help narrow down your options.

  2. Size: Consider the size. A larger screen can provide more workspace for your art (I love this!) but a small device makes the iPad super portable. 

  3. Storage: Consider how much storage you need. Art files can be large, so having ample storage is crucial. My daughter has a 64GB and it maxed out quick! I have 1TB and have not encountered storage issues. I also use iCloud storage. Just some things to consider. 

  4. Connectivity: Some iPads offer cellular capabilities, while others are Wi-Fi-only. Decide which is more suitable for your needs. I've tried both options and like both ways. 

  5. Weight and Portability: If you plan to carry your iPad around for creating on-the-go, weight and portability are factors worth considering. The smaller iPads are easier to carry around, but for me personally, having the large 12.9" screen was more important. 

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Marker Materials
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Coloring with alcohol-based markers is so relaxing and fun! 

Back in the day, I was all about the Copics, but now I'm a superfan for Ohuhu markers. I could go on and on about why I love them. They're fantastic quality, affordable, easy to use, and the color variety is gorgeous. I give a break down of all the materials you should buy (based on your skill level) in this blog post: Which Ohuhu Markers Should I Get? Here's my absolute, all time faves though.


Ohuhu Sweetness and Blossoming

I love using pastel tints when I make my marker sketches. I just love pastel color harmonies. It's so easy to make various colors harmonious when they all have that tint. And I just love the vibe of pastels. This is my favorite set. But there are tons of great ones. So check out here for more sets to fit your individual needs.


HP Premium 32 Paper

I love this paper for so many things, I use it for pencil sketches, printing, and coloring my marker sketches. It's smooth and bright white and a great paper for marker coloring. The markers will bleed through, but I just keep a little stack under my main piece of paper while I work and it works well for me. Love this paper!


Uni-ball Signo White Gel Pen

White gel pens are a must for me in my marker art. I use them especially for little dot highlights- like in the eyes, on the tip of the nose, and on the lips. They're the perfect little addition to my toolbox to make my characters pop. Lots of brands work well enough, but I like the Uni-ball Signo white gel pen a lot.



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Want a more thorough look at which markers I recommend you purchase? Then jump over to the blog for a guide to choosing your first set:



Watercolor is such a gorgeous medium and I can't wait to explore it more myself. It's one of the newer mediums I've started to play around with. So far though, here are the materials I love! I can't wait to add more to my collection of watercolor tools.


For paper, I love cold press watercolor paper. I think this texture is part of what makes watercolor so pretty, but hot press (smoother) varieties of paper are available too. I also enjoy using the Prima watercolor pans. I think they are so fun and portable too. When I'm painting at my desk though, I also enjoy using the Shinhan watercolors and I put them in a porcelain palette. I like using a variety of round brushes. These are perfect for flowers and leaves which are my favorites to paint, but are versatile too and can be used for lots of different subject matter. Lastly, you'll want paper towels and water cups on hand. For water cups, I just use whatever glass is around. But I heard a good tip- which was to have two mixing cups. One for warmer colors and one to clean off cool colors. Give it a shot!

Watercolor Supplies


Books have taught me so much! Here are some of my favorite books that have made an impact on my art journey.


Did I mention I like a lot of mediums? 😂 I love to explore art supplies. I also have just some life favorites and favorite things for my kids (art supplies included!) Also if you're interested in the production side of making art videos, I've included my filming and recording products.

More Favorites


If you want to put those new art materials to work, join me on Youtube!

Here are a few drawing and painting tutorials and guides to try:

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Amazon links are affiliate links. Meaning if you purchase after clicking my link, I make a small commission on qualifying purchases. This helps fund my business and I appreciate your support by shopping through my links! :) These are all my absolute favorite tools and supplies!

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