Drawing Materials by John Erickson

This is a wrap-up of the drawing supplies I use and why. The materials that work for me might not work for you, but maybe I can help you find what you need.

Table of Contents


In my experience, all artist pencils are created equal. I haven't found any noticeable difference between brands. The important thing it to get a few different hardnesses. For example, I use 2H (a hard pencil, for light lines), an HB (medium harness) and a 2B (soft pencil for dark lines)


I like Micron drawing pens, because they come in several widths, give me a consistent black line, and don't dry out quickly.

I also use a brush-tipped drawing pen, but those are harder to find. Micron makes one that's pretty good, but it's hard to find and the tip tends to fray, rendering the pen useless. I suggest either Pitt or Copic Multiliner SP.


After trying a few brands, I've fallen in love with Copic. It's a Japanese brand meant for drawing manga, but they work well for all sorts of art. Copics cost about twice as much as most other brands, but they are refillable, so over the long term, they're actually cheaper.

Copics come in a few varieties. I prefer Copic Sketch, because they have a flexible brush tip on one side, which I like a lot. It makes using them feel like a cross between drawing and painting.

My one caveat with Copics is that I wouldn't suggest buying them in sets. In my experience, they don't give you the best selections of colors. Rather, I've found it better to buy individual markers, so you can pick out exactly the colors you need. Again, this is a little more expensive, but it's worth it. Below is a list of the colors I use, which gives me all the range I need for almost anything I can think of to draw.

Primary and Secondary Colors


  • B12 - Ice Blue
  • B14 - Light Blue
  • B06 - Peacock Blue
  • B29 - Ultramarine


  • YG03 - Yellow Green
  • G14 - Apple Green
  • G17 - Forest Green


  • Y13 - Lemon Yellow
  • Y19 - Napoli Yellow


  • YR04 - Chrome Orange
  • YR09 - Chinese Orange


  • R27 - Cadmium Red
  • RV23 - Pure Pink
  • RV11 - Pink


  • V12 - Pale Lilac
  • V15 - Mallow
  • V09 - Violet


Flesh Tones & Browns

  • E00 - Skin White
  • E11 - Barely Beige
  • E13 - Light Suntan
  • E15 - Dark Suntan
  • E39 - Leather

Cool Grays

  • C2 - Cool Gray No. 2
  • C4 - Cool Gray No. 4
  • C6 - Cool Gray No. 6

Neutral Grays

  • N1 - Neutral Gray No. 1
  • N2 - Neutral Gray No. 2
  • N4 - Neutral Gray No. 4
  • N6 - Neutral Gray No. 6

Warm Grays

  • W2 - Warm Gray No. 2
  • W4 - Warm Gray No. 4
  • W6 - Warm Gray No. 6


  • 100 - Black


Card Stock

The paper I use most often is simple, cheap card stock like you can find at any office supply store. For about $20 you can get a pack of 100 or more sheets, so it's perfect for the artist on a budget. It's also a good drawing surface for pencil, pen and marker, and it's thick and stiff enough to be nice and durable.

Bristol Board

Bristol board is a good all purpose illustration board. It's great for pencil and pen, not bad for marker, and you can paint on it with acrylic. (Not sure about watercolor or ink wash. I'll update this info if/when I try it out) One advantage of bristol over card stock is that it comes in a wider variety of sizes.

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