Education

5 Best Drawing Tools – Must Haves to Draw Your Best

Whether you are drawing with graphite or colored pencils, there are tools that can make your drawing sessions go more smoothly. But what are those tools and where can you get them?

This article assumes you already have the essentials – pencils, paper, blending stumps etc. What this article will discuss is 5 best drawing tools you may not have thought of or know about and how you can purchase them.

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Tombow MONO Zero Refillable Eraser - Round
Mono
Zero by Tombow

This little known gem is in my opinion a must have. It is a mechanical type eraser but a lot smaller allowing you to get into those very tight spaces and erase only what you want to erase.

I learned about the mono zero a few years back watching a tutorial by Darrel Tank, a great drawing artist. I purchased one then and now it is one of my best drawing tools in the art box.

The size of the eraser is a very fine round shape with a diameter of just 2.3 mm. They also offer a rectangular shape that measures 2.5 x 5 mm. They sell refills, too. The erasers are very easily and quickly replaced with refills.

They are made of a synthetic rubber which erases without needing heavy pressure. Erasing is done very easily and efficiently and without tearing your paper.

One of the best advantages of this eraser is using it as an art tool for removing or lifting fine lines (like whiskers) or for precision erasing a stray mark in a hard to get at space. Particularly if you tend to work smaller with your drawings, you will find this tool so useful.

I simply cannot work on any art drawing project without a mono zero anymore
(click here to check it out
). It’s like the advent of anything new- the smartphone, backup cameras on your car, etc.; once you use this tool you won’t want to be without it.

Visual Edge Slant Board

This is more of a piece of equipment that is great to have if you are working on a project for any length of time. This board which I reviewed separately in another article entitled Best Art Drawing Board – Visual Edge Slant Board, is a must have for your ergonomic health and to maximize your drawing accuracy.

This board is lightweight and has fold out legs so it travels and sets up easily.

It also comes with dual clips and the board is actually a dry-erase board and is magnetic.

You can purchase them through Amazon. There are several cool colors to choose from as well!

As well as saving you from neck and upper back strain, this board will help you render more accurate drawings as well.

How? Well, with the board at a slant, it will help you avoid picture distortion because at the 22 degree angle of the board, you are seeing the picture at unchanging perspective. When you work flat, you are seeing the image with changing perspective which can lead to inaccuracies in drawing.

And lastly, it provides the optimal surface necessary for colored pencil drawing – an extremely smooth, hard surface! For more information on Basic Colored Pencil Techniques, click here.

Spatter Screen

This little gadget is traditionally used for spattering watercolor or very fluid acrylic paint, by painting the screen then tapping the screen over your art surface to get the spattered look.

But did you know you can also use them for colored pencil backgrounds? True! You can check out demo pics on my post entitled “How to Create Backgrounds in Drawings – 3 Unique Methods for Colored Pencil Drawings.

And not only backgrounds, but you can use it to “tone” or “ground” different areas of the paper with an under layer and then layer more on top of it. This is a real time saver!

To use it the spatter screen, you would simply scrape the colored pencil back and forth against the screen several times. You will then see very fine colored “powder” falling through the screen. You can do this either onto scrap paper or directly onto your art surface.

To apply, use a cotton ball or (q-tip for small, tight spaces) and swipe through the powder to pick it up and begin rubbing gently (circles are best) on the area you would like colored. Or if the powder is already on the art surface, just begin rubbing the powder around to tone the paper. To make darker, simply add more powder.

Tip #1: This takes a little practice with how much to scrape and how to apply. Please practice to get comfortable with this technique on scrap paper before doing it for real on your art piece.

Tip #2:. When you are done scraping the color across the screen to create the powder, swipe the screen with a cotton ball to force the rest of the powder through the screen as some will remain on the screen.

Tip #3:. Residue will remain on the screen until you wipe it well with clean cotton to remove it. Therefore, it is recommended to clean the screen between colors or you may get some unintended color mixes!

This tool can also be used to make loose graphite powder for soft toning, shading and blending. The process and application

be the same as for colored pencil. Plus you can use tortillons and blending stumps as well with the powder.

These spatter screens can be found at Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff. They come in two different shapes – circle and rectangle and also different mesh densities.

Other retailers may call them splatter screens. But, if truth be known, you could easily use a simple kitchen cooking spatter screen, too!

I love using this tool for drawing media. It is a super time-saver for backgrounds, underpaintings or anywhere you wish to “tone” or “ground” the paper.

Proportional or Scale Divider

As we all know when we are transferring lines, angles, shapes etc. from a reference photo to our art piece, proportion

Derwent Scale Divider
measurements are essential to the accuracy and final outcome of our drawings!

And undeniably, this may be the most tedious and unenjoyable part of rendering the art piece.  At least it is for me!

Trying to approximate by eyeballing and free handing doing the best you can to get the proportions right may work for some simpler pieces or for some people, but you may end up regretting not going for more accuracy in the end if your picture looks a little “off”.

Using grids or algebraic equations is labor-intensive and time-consuming. There is a better and easier way with the right tool!

The proportional, also called scale divider is shaped like scissors with two pieces that crisscross. Derwent sells one pictured here.  Click here to check it out.

How it works is you can take a measurement from your reference photo with one end of the divider which will make the other end automatically separate and give you the correct proportional measurement for what you need to draw. Plus, you can easily adjust the tool for different ratios.

Double Ended Stylus

Loew-Cornell Double Ended Stylus
 If you have never heard of “impressed line” technique, let me inform you it is simply making a fine “groove” into your art paper. it’s like scoring paper but not for the purpose of folding. Instead, this technique can be used in order to make fine whiskers, hairs, veins in leaves and fine details in flowers, etc.

After these “impressions” or impressed lines are made, any application of color will glide right over the grooves and not deposit color into them, thereby creating the look of fine details.

The double-ended stylus pictured here is a quality tool made by Loew-Cornell (click here to check it out) with a comfortable wooden grip and sturdy metal styluses on both ends that will allow you to easily make your impressed lines with consistency and accuracy.  Also, the two different sized styluses gives you a choice to make thicker or finer lines.

Great tool!

Please add to list!

Well, there you have it. These are 5 best drawing tools that I have in my artbox that make my drawing life so much easier and efficient. And here’s the best part: except for the Visual Edge Drawing Board, each of these tools are under $10!!

I’m sure there are other great tools you have in your artbox. What are they? Feel free name at least one in the comment box below.

Thanks for reading and have an artful day!

Elaine

 

 

 

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