12 Types Of Drawing Tools Essential For Artistic Careers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 28 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Drawing is the foundation of many creative processes and professions. If you work in any artistic profession, you might use drawing tools to express your ideas and plans and excel in the job role. Learning about the various sketching tools can help you understand which tool to use and improve your drawing skills. In this article, we discuss what drawing instruments are and list tools that artistic professionals might use for creating visually attractive drawings.

What are drawing tools?

Drawing tools helps an artistic professional in designing, drawing and draughting. These tools help measure and create layouts of drawings using a pencil, pen, airbrush or other paint tools. Some professionals that might use these drawing instruments are:

  • Animator: An animator is an artist who creates multiple images that give an illusion of movement for television and movies. They typically sketch the drawing by hand and then transfer them to online graphic design software.

  • Illustrator: An illustrator is another artist who creates two-dimensional images of various industries. They might create images for magazines, school and children's books and advertisements.

  • Calligrapher: A calligrapher uses drawing instruments like a pen or marker to create calligraphic drawings and prints.

  • Cartoonist: A cartoonist is a professional who creates comics and cartoons. They help in creating ideas, plots and stories.

Related: How To Become A 3D Animator: Skills, Salary And Duties

12 tools for drawing

People working in the artistic profession require various tools to complete their job duties. Choosing the right tool can expand your skill set and ensure you create visually appealing drawings. Here are some commonly used drawing instruments.

1. Pens

Artistic pens come in various varieties and you can choose them depending upon your requirement. For instance, architects prefer using a fine-tipped microns pen, whereas a calligrapher might use a brush tip pen. Some other drawing pens can include fine-tipped, square marker, hard and round-tipped and brushed tipped pens.

  • Brush-tipped pens: Those who are new to drawing can use a flexible brush tip instead of a hard round tip pen because it helps them make an impression of what they see. The harder they press, the more ink gets delivered, resulting in thicker lines.

  • Fine-tipped pens: These pens create thin line strokes and help capture the reader's attention.

  • Hard and round-tipped pens: These pens create thick line stokes, giving you the effect of using four or five pens and then drawing with them.

Related: What Is A Bachelor In Fine Arts Degree? Definition And Careers

2. Pencil

Drawing and artistic professionals often use pencils to create different artwork. Graphite pencils are available in a different range of hardness, ranging from 10H to 12B. While B represents the level of graphite blackness or smoothness, H represents the pencil's hardness. Often, soft pencils create a darker and heavier line, while a hard pencil might smudge because of its light and precise lines. If you are a beginner, focus on using pencils that fall in the mid-range of the spectrum.

A soft pencil that makes a range of marks depending on how hard you push them. Avoid an overly soft pencil because it might crumble if you press hard. When you try different varieties of pencils, it adds to your creativity. Most artists recommend buying a pencil box comprising pencils from both the spectrum.

Related: How Much Does An Animator Make? (With Job Duties And Skills)

3. Pastel pencils

Another useful drawing instrument is pastel pencils. Though these pencils resemble coloured pencils, they do not work like one. An artist uses a pastel pencil to create thin line strokes and fine line works. Apart from helping create sketches quickly, pastel pencils give the finishing touches to a drawing. As pastel pencils are water-soluble, it ensures a smoother colour blending, making them less chalky.

4. Erasers

Erasers are essential drawing instruments because it helps artists rectify their mistakes. Some commonly used erasers are:

  • Kneaded eraser: A kneaded eraser lifts material from the surface without using friction to remove it. These erasers help remove and highlight pastel, chalk, charcoal and graphite mediums.

  • Rubber eraser: Rubber erasers are standards for removing graphite. The eraser requires friction and rubbing to remove the graphite from the surface.

  • Gum eraser: Gum or art erasers are soft and translucent and they help remove substances from the surfaces prone to tearing. Though the eraser uses friction to remove the spot, the eraser crumbles and preserves the paper from tearing.

  • Sand eraser: These erasers use silica and latex. These erasers can even erase ink, colour pencils mark and marker ink.

5. Transparent ruler

A transparent ruler is an essential drawing instrument that helps designers draw lines and measure different things as they draw. Using the transparent ruler, designers and illustrators can create shapes with ease. An opaque ruler might work well to draw lines on the canvas. It might block the view of what you are drawing. So, most artistic professionals prefer using a transparent ruler over an opaque one.

Related: What Is An Animator? Definition, Qualifications And Skills

6. Pencil sharpener

A pencil sharpener is another essential tool for drawing. It is good to have a sharpener nearby because it helps sharpen the pencil. While using a pencil sharpener, focus on getting one that has sharp blades because it offers a smooth, sharpening experience. You can even use an electric pencil sharpener that buzzes when in use, unlike a manual sharpener where you twist the pencil using your hand to sharpen. A pencil sharpener makes a neat point and is ideal for graphite pencils. Many artists even use sandpaper for keeping the graphite sticks neat and pointed.

7. Drawing paper

Apart from having a good quality pencil, having a good quality drawing paper is equally important. As a beginner, start by working with any paper. After gaining some experience, you can work with different textured and toned paper. Instead of working on loose sheets, use a book to ensure that you do not lose your essential drawings or sketches. Whatever paper you use, ensure it is completely matte and acid-free.

You might choose different types of paper based on whether you use pencil, paints or crayons for your drawings. Often, professionals might use pastel paper that captures and holds the tiny particles of colour. One side of the paper has a texture and this is the side on which you can draw, but you can even use the other side.

8. Charcoal

Another essential yet overlooked drawing instrument is charcoal. Charcoals help create light and dark marks in your drawing. You can use charcoal pencils to create a thin line of strokes or if you want to add extra details to your drawing. Artistic professionals use a charcoal pencil to create crisp and fine detailed drawings and offer control over your marks. The charcoal pencil offers a fine texture and perfect capability for shading. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, using a charcoal pencil would improve your artwork.

9. Pencil pouches and cases

Zip pouches and cases help professionals prevent drawing instruments from getting lost, scratched and broken. You can even store sharpeners, erasers, rulers and brushes in these pouches. When you have all the tools in one place, it becomes easy to draw or sketch anywhere.

10. Drawing compass

A drawing compass is an essential technical instrument that allows an illustrator or animator to draw circles and arcs on different materials. The compass has two legs, one leg has a sharp and pointy part at the end and you attach a pencil or pen on the other end. On moving the compass legs apart or together, you change the size of the circle or arc you create.

11. Stencil and protractor

A stencil provides you with templates to create drawings, shapes, figures, text and patterns. For using a stencil, place it on the drawing surface and create an outline inside and outside the stencil boundaries. While a protractor is an essential drawing instrument that helps artistic professionals measure angles. It is usually a semi-circle with an inner and outer scale having markings from 0 to 180 degrees.

12. Fixative

Fixative is a resin that artists spray over a finished piece of artwork or drawing to prevent the drawing or sketches from getting smudged. This is a resin-based solution that gets dissolved in a spirit solvent. When sprayed on an artwork, the solution evaporates, leaving behind a coating of resin that helps in binding the pigment. Once the spirit gets fixed, even an eraser cannot alter the drawing.

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