An Illustrators Toolbox Part 1 : Essential Drawing Tools for Illustration. Learn about essential drawing equipment and the tools I have in my illustration toolbox. Part of a series on illustration and how I create my artwork

Your Essential Illustration Toolbox Part 1: Drawing

An Illustrators Toolbox Part 1 : Essential Drawing Tools for Illustration. Learn about essential drawing equipment and the tools I have in my illustration toolbox. Part of a series on illustration and how I create my artwork

“Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make others see”
Edgar Degas

I’m sharing my essential drawing tools as part of a series of posts explaining how I create some of my artwork. As always, do share your own tools or ask any questions you have related to my drawing methods.

Your Essential Illustration Toolbox: Drawing

My Essential Drawing Tools for Illustration1. Graphite Pencils
I really like the Derwent pencils. If you’re just starting out invest in a tin of Derwent Graphic Soft Graphite Pencils, 9B-H – Set of 12 for around £8 to £11 pounds

You can then buy them as single pencils at approx £1.25 (eg Derwent 2B Graphic Pencil) when they run down. My core pencils are B, 2B, 4B, 6B and occasionally 8B for really dark tones.

2. Mechanical Pencils
I love mechanical pencils! I use them for the details such as eyelashes and hair details. Invest in a set of Rotring 801310 Tikky Mechanical Pencil – Set of 3 approx £10 – then all you need to do is buy replacement leads.

3. Kneadable Putty Rubber
Drawing is as much what you erase as what you draw. Daler-Rowney artist kneadable putty eraser – soft are approx £1 and are an essential part of an artist drawing toolbox. You can literally knead them into shapes and create different tones by ‘lifting’ the pencil from the paper without damaging or smearing it (which can happen with hard erasers).

4. Mechanical Eraser
A Tombow Mechanical Eraser is my star product for drawing hair. The fine details I can achieve are amazing. Mechanical erasers are also brilliant for creating highlights in eyes and lips. This is my favourite – Gomma Di Precisione Mono Zero Roton approx £3.99 and the refills are about £2.50 Tombow 2.3 mm Round Tip MONO Zero Eraser Refill (Pack of 2)

5. Rice paper Drawing Stumps
Smudging lines can be as effective as erasing them! I only discovered these drawing stumps last year and they radically changed the quality of my work. Try Derwent Rice Paper Stumps for Blending and Smudging – Pack of 3 approx £3.50 or around £1.50 per stump

6. Bristol Board Paper
Bristol Board is my choice of paper for it’s smooth finish. This paper is the priciest part of your illustration toolbox. I don’t like the paper texture to show when I scan my illustrations, so smooth finish Bristol Board is perfect. Plus I feel I can achieve more detail in my drawings with this paper. I use Winsor & Newton Extra Smooth Bristol Board Gummed A4 Pad which is about £7 for A4 or £14 for an A3 pad, (I often buy A3 and cut the paper in half for smaller drawings.)

7. Washi Tape Sometimes I need to tape my paper to my drawing board to stop the paper unexpectedly slipping. Especially if I’m adding paint to a drawing. I use washi tape which is not only useful because it doesn’t leave a residue and I can reposition the paper easily, it also looks pretty. The Mudder 20 Rolls Colorful Decorative Washi Masking Tape is a lovely collection.

8. Coffee & Tea in a Pretty Mug
Essential to keep me going through the day. Invest in a nice mug! My favourite at the moment is the Bombay Duck spotty letter ‘G’ mug approx £14

9. Music/Podcasts/Radio
Good tunes throughout the day is another element I can’t live without. Radio 2, Radio 4, myriad podcasts and an iTunes subscription keep me inspired.

Drawing Toolkit in Pictures

Your Essential Illustration Toolbox in pictures Part 1: Drawing


And Finally…

Let me know your creative tools of choice. Podcast recommendations or tunes that inspire you to create. Or if you have any questions about my illustrations and drawing toolbox just leave a question in the comments below.

Have an inspired day

Georgie x


Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy, it simply means I earn a (very) small amount of revenue from the sale. It doesn’t mean you pay anymore. These are genuine products I use and love. Pricing is approximate at the time of posting. Phew glad we got that out-of-the-way!

Comments 3

  1. Great post, it’s always so useful to know what other designers use. And I have never come across the rice paper drawing stumps, going to have to have an investigate!
    All the best,
    Beki – Print & Press, London

    1. Post
  2. Fantastic you giving details of the tools but you forgot the one essential you have in bucketfulls’TALENT’.

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