Drawing Supplies


Drawing Basics


Lesson Info

Drawing Supplies

I'm as I said, we started out just printer paper. Use something free, get yourself going. Nice and cheap. But there are all kinds of other papers that you can use. Okay so, for drawing with dry mediums like just sketching, I like to use Bristol board. It's very heavy weight and it's very smooth, so it can really take some scrubbing, it can take a little bit of ink. I usually transfer any of my good drawings to something like that. Then, you can also use all kinds of other papers. This is watercolor paper. I like to use Arches hot press, and I draw on watercolor paper all the time because I don't necessarily know what I'm gonna end up doing to that drawing. So, I like to leave the option of it being able to take some wet medium. So I buy this in big sheets and then I cut it down. I used to use a watercolor block. This is a watercolor block, and this is the same paper only it has glue on all the edges, and so it stays down nice and flat. It's like I'm using my clipboard, only I've taped ...

down all the edges. And that's lovely to have if you're traveling or something, but it does get a little bit pricier so I just go with the plain sheets of the same thing now. If you're gonna be doing a lot of sketching, which I hope you are, you need a sketchbook. So they come in any kind of shape, size. You know you can get a nice one with really high quality paper, this is a Moleskine, and I really love these because it's kind of yellow. And so then if I do want any highlights to really I can put white on this paper. The paper's a little heavier so you're like, hmm okay maybe that might be a little bit scary to start out with. You might wanna stay with your thinner, smoother stuff. You can also get a notebook in any shape. This one would kind of encourage you to do landscapes this way, or figures that way. I personally use this kind of notebook. Just because since I draw for a job, any of my drawings usually end up on really good paper. So anything that ends up in here is just gonna be like a really basic sketch. So this has thinner paper and I can just get a bunch of 'em, one for every project I'm doing, and just they carry around really easily. You do wanna always carry your sketchbook with you. Same thing. I use these too. Another thing I really like to go over is not using a sketchbook. So any of these ones, you know, the pages are bound in, and you're stuck to one kind of paper. So this is called a Riker Mount box, and this is used for like making a butterfly collection, I think is probably the most normal. It has little pins in the side just to keep it in. You open it up and I would encourage you to think of this as your sketchbook, and put all your paper in it and carry it around. So what you can do here is, okay well sometimes I like to draw on really nice watercolor paper, I've got that cut up. Other times I like a little graph paper 'cause I'm trying to draw something where I wanted to keep it really straight. This is great for working on value studies. But I also like to just draw on found paper. Anything that you think is pretty. It kind of instantly makes your drawing better, quicker, if you already start on a really fun background. So I use any kind of little, you know, cards that I find, inside of envelopes. Envelope linings are beautiful. So what I would do is I was gonna draw on something like this, I would start my sketch and then I would probably use some white paint, like some Gesso or something just to coverup some of that busy spot, and you'll see an example I've done that later. Maps. So just put everything in there. You can get these online. And just call that your sketchbook and carry that around. You know, it's glass but so is your tablet or your phone that you're using. If you can't afford that or you don't wanna bother ordering it, this works the same way. Just like that. We're also going to as I showed you tracing paper. We've used that one. And later on when we draw our next, we're gonna use some Saral transfer paper. That's this, and it comes in all these lovely colors, and this is how you get your drawing from one place to another and move it around. This is, I think this is called Canary trace. I used to use this exclusively all the time. I just love this color and the texture. So I would do drawings on that and just leave 'em on that. Not bother transferring them to anything. Let's go through the pencil kit that we have just a little bit. Now after the break we're gonna get a lot more in depth with your pencil kit. So artist pencils come in various hardness's, if that's a word. The one we're using, usually that's called the HB. After the break we're gonna experiment and tryout all these pencils so you'll really know what they do more. And then this is a pencil extender. What is this for? This is because I have tons and tons of these little pieces, and I can't draw with them because I grip my pencil really hard. So you get a pencil extender and it just has this little slidey thing on there. You can stick your pencil in there. Sometimes you have to take it out of there to fit it in the pencil sharpener and then put it back in. Let's talk about pencil sharpen, oh wait here, this is another favorite. This is the Blackwing pencil, and these are fancy pencils, and you don't need a fancy pencil 'cause you've already done some drawings without a fancy pencil. But sometimes they just feel so good in your hand and you just love the tool, how it fits, and the shape of it. So I encourage you to treat yourself a few times. Get a nice pencil. But use it up. Don't just like, I wanna buy all the nice pencils. See if you can get a nice pencil, and see if you can get it down to a little stub. That's the challenge. So we saw the blenders. That's how you blend things. You can, as I said, you know you can blend with nothing, just push the powder around. You can blend with spit, or you can blend with maybe a little bit of paint thinner or something like that if you really wanna get it washy. Erasers. So we have this eraser. No, don't use that. Maybe on the first day when your erase just comes out of the box and it's brand new, you can use that. But you're gonna draw. See this one's doing all right. Let's see how my old one is. Usually what you'll do is just sort of draw a pinkish gray line when you use this. And that's kinda what this tool does; draws a pinkish gray line. We're using this one. It's a plastic eraser sometimes called a vinyl eraser. It's my favorite, one of the best. You do need to dust it off all the time. This is a kneaded eraser and they look like silly putty and they're fun to use. And so if you get a big, mushy mark, the reason people like these is because they don't leave any dust. That's the main reason. You can also shape 'em into a tiny little bit. I don't use 'em too much, they seem a little wobbly, but they're really good for charcoal. If you're doing a big charcoal drawing, that's what everybody uses. And then when they do get dirty like this the reason they're called kneaded is because you just clean 'em up just by doing this kneading thing and then you have this nice clean spot where you can start over. A couple more erasers, these are not necessary but I do use them all the time. These are retractible erasers so you can get a thicker one. Now, they do get a little dirty. And then you can get a thin one. This one has a thin little eraser that comes out of it. And I'll use this one if I just have a tiny little highlight that I wanna pull out of something or I've got a really nice drawing and I just wanna get a tiny little spec, I'll come in with this one. But I kinda find these work a little bit better so I just use these when I need to get into a spot. Pencil sharpeners. So, this is my favorite. This one I only have to use if I'm traveling and I really need it, 'cause that's a little fiddly for me. They tend to clog up, too. But this is a pretty good one. You can really see what you're doing better with this, and stop when you want to. That's the main thing I find with pencil sharpeners is get one that doesn't tell you when it's done. You tell the pencil sharpener when your pencil is how you want it to be. So I am a stickler for a sharp pencil. If you have one of those automatic ones. (buzzing) It stops, the pencil's not totally sharp. They stop when it has a flat end on it. I like 'em really sharp. And then there's this old way. This is the old artist way to sharpen a pencil. You got your pocket knife and you have this dull broken pencil, and you just start carving. And this is a beautiful, meditative thing. And the reason you do this is because you have complete control over what shape you want your pencil to be. There are some people, I've seen pictures, where they will carve the tip of a pencil to look like there's a little train running through a tunnel in the led. Or I have seen pencils with a little family of elephants from the momma to the baby, just carved out of the pencil led. We don't have to go that far. But what this is doing is you're meditating on the end of your pencil and you're carving it to be the exact shape you want. You get this thing to be a little bit longer than normal and you're resetting yourself. You're looking at your drawing, you're keeping your hands busy, and anytime you keep your hands busy, that's when you get your best ideas. Or you step back for a minute and you look at your drawing and you think oh, okay, I should stop now. I was just about to do that other thing 'cause I was kinda really into my drawing, but actually now's the time to put it down. So you just keep going on your pencil carefully, until you get the end nice and sharp and how you like it. That's kind of, if you wanna be like the artists wearing the smock. There's also some people use a piece of sand paper and scrub the end of it just to get that really pointed. I tend to not do that because it gets really messy and then I smear that all over my page. But you can do that if you want. That's pencil sharpeners. And then a couple of other things I have around; I always have a ruler around just in case I need it. Although I try and avoid measuring and math anytime I can. There's all kinds of tricks to avoid that, but it's nice to be able to have a straight line, especially if you're tearing paper. We talked about the dusting brush. Don't leave this on your paper to do that or to get on your hands. I just brush it into my lap. So I always stand up at the end of the day and shake out. 'Cause I could brush it that way but then usually it'll come back on my paper, so I brush it into my lap. Use this one too, that's the free one, or 90 cent version. And then I have Washi tape. I always use this because this won't rip your paper, and I always just tape down the edges of my paper with that like that. So that if you start start really smudging, your paper won't move. Okay, I think that's it. That's awesome, Cleo. Pretty portable, yeah. Totally portable. I think these are fantastic, and I actually have a couple of questions from some online students. Okay. Karen Maple's asking how about using mechanical pencils? She says that the advantage of that is they don't need to be sharpened, but do you recommend using those? Yeah, some people really like 'em. I don't use 'em because they're a very uniform shape all the time and I tend to really like that pencil reset. I like to see it sharp and get really dull, and then I know it's time to take a break and sharpen it, and I go back to a spot where I have a real highlight. So that's kind of my system as working sharp to dull, sharp to dull, taking breaks. I get this rhythm going on. But the mechanical pencil, it's great if you are traveling and you don't wanna deal with this little thing. Right, right, right. And one more question. Jackie Joyce online is asking, she says my daughter who's age six wants to know how she can start off drawing first, which I love the fact that we've got all age ranges joining us today. She said that the scissors are a little too complicated for her, do you have any recommendations for a simpler form Okay. That she could start with? Well I know if she's six she's already done this one, right? Ah, yeah. Draw your hand, make a turkey. So just have her move on to the next step. Draw around a donut or something like that and then decorate it however you want. Anything really basic. I know when my kids were learning to write they got really frustrated trying to make the letters, so I was just like okay let's just draw spirals. And you just sit there drawing spirals. It's like you don't have to worry about making anything perfect, just start with little doodles.

Class Description

Do you want to learn how to draw but don't know where to start? In this class, professional painter & illustrator Cleo Papanikolas shares fun, beginner-friendly drawing techniques that can turn anyone into an artist. This class will help you overcome your fear of the blank page and focus on putting pencil to paper so you can draw the way you always wished you could.

In this class, Cleo will cover the fundamentals in drawing including:
  • Using different pencils for line quality
  • Applying different shading methods
  • Practice measurement and proportions in your work 
Cleo will help you embrace imperfections in your work with step-by-step exercises that apply key drawing techniques. 

Join Cleo and get started drawing today! 


Rhonda Bender

This class is about two hours long. Overall it is a friendly and accessible approach to introducing some basic drawing techniques and tools that is appropriate for those who are nervous about or just novice to drawing. It lets the student jump in by tracing a basic outline which is then detailed. Towards the end the instructor demonstrates a more advanced type of tracing using a tablet as a lightpad, and there is also helpful information on how to trace one's own work to transfer it to better paper or slightly alter the drawing to be larger/wider/etc. The middle portion has overview information on types of lines and methods of shading. These aren't super thorough examinations of those topics, but should be ample to complete the exercises and drawings included and recommended in the class. Likewise, the overview of drawing tools and papers is an overview, but strikes a good balance between overwhelming with too much information, and giving students enough info to know what tools they need for basic drawing and how to use them. There is a brief overview of how to use the sight size method to draw freehand more accurately. This is a subject that could easily be an entire class topic on its own. Some will find this enough info to get going, others might prefer expanded information and more details on this. The more complex subject of ellipses in perspective is touched on only briefly. (Perspective is also a complex subject that needs a whole class of its own, so this is understandable.) In contrast to some other reviewers, I did not have a lot of issues with the filming and camera angles. A lot of time was spent on the angle of looking at the drawing in action. However, it is clear that material was edited out from the live version. The edited version doesn't follow the drawing of every exercise through to its conclusion, and sometimes segments end or start abruptly.


I like it. it's not very in-depth but it gave me the courage to start drawing, and I had so much fun. Great for beginners.