If you're considering creating some art, there are a few items I would consider essential for any beginner. Depending on your level of desire, the quality of each item doesn’t need to break the bank. Having these items on hand allows you the freedom to simply start creating.
Every artist needs a surface to create on. A simple sketchbook is a good starting point. It allows you to explore shapes, textures, practice compositions, enhance drawing and shading skills and keep your creations all together in the same place.
I recommend a sketchbook with a hard cover. If you intend on using it daily, and taking it on location, then a hard cover will help protect the pages and keep them flat. Great also if you start experimenting with different mediums.
Loose leaf paper is just as good, I even recycle my paper sometimes to sketch out ideas. Remember to clip it all together.
To draw in your sketchbook, a good range of pencils are a must. Drawing pencils range in colour from 9H (very hard and light lead) to 6B (very soft and dark lead). Using different weighted pencils is great when experimenting ideas.
For example, the lighter 6H colour can be used to sketch your ideas, then firm the concept with the darker 4B.
Experimenting with each will also help you build your skills with contrast and shading.
Erasers aren’t just to erase your mistakes, they’re good for creating interesting marks too.
It just makes sense to have an eraser if you are planning to work with pencils.
There are also different erasers for different applications - much like the pencils. A rubber eraser for example is ideal for erasing large areas, but tends to make a mess.
A kneaded eraser is great to create interesting marks on your work. It can be kneaded into different shapes depending on what you’re trying to do.
Sharpeners are a quick and easy way to sharpen your pencils. A nice sharp tip makes for very crisp lines.
Another great way to sharpen your pencils is with a knife, but this takes care, attention and some practice when executing. The benefit of sharpening with a knife is you can extend the length of the lead which is preferred by some artists for greater control and detail. It also allows you to shape the lead for your desired purpose - detail or shading.
Great when you are drawing horizon lines, structures, streets, perspectives etc.
Watercolor or Acrylic Paint
For any beginner, you can access watercolour or acrylic paint sets. A convenient container with a small range of colours to experiment and create with can be found quite easily in most department stores.
They're both great mediums for beginners as both are water based and easy to clean up.
Paint brushes come in so many different shapes and sizes, all for different purposes.
For beginners, I would suggest starting with 3-5 brushes of different sizes. There are many starter kits that will get you going, offering brushes to help with different painting techniques.
You’ll need some form of paint palette to mix your paints on.
You can purchase plastic or paper paint palettes, you can use paint trays with compartments for different colours, or you could simply use picnic plates.
The beauty of paper palette or picnic plates is you can simply dispose of them when done. No need for cleaning.
The only thing left to add to this list is perseverance. Like anything new we try, practice makes perfect. The more you create, the more you’ll discover what you enjoy, and the better you’ll get at it. Have fun with the whole process. Creativity is something we all have, we just need to tap in.