I always get asked about the tools I use to create my art, so I made this page so everyone could see what they are. Note: I receive a tiny commission if you purchase through these links at no extra cost to you. It's a small way to help me continue to teach kids around the world.
Staedtler Mechanical Pencil Night Blue Series, 0.7mm (925 35-07)
I don't think pencils really matter. I've made great art with all sorts of pencils, cheap ones I find on the classroom floor, or pencils from fancy graphite drawing sets.
But still, this one is my favorite. I love the feel, not too light, not too heavy. Plus it feels durable with a premium look and feel, while not being expensive.
Staedtler Mars Micro Carbon pencil 0.7mm lead refill 2B
These leads pair great with the pencil on the left.
Faber-Castell Creative Studio Graphite Sketch Pencil Set – 6 Graphite Pencils (2H, HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B)
A simple sketch set like this is the ultimate gift for your young artist ,especially if they want to improve at shading.
The higher the H-number, the harder the lead, and harder you have to push on the paper. On the other hand, the higher the B numbers, the softer the lead is, which means you don't have to apply as much pressure. They easily make darker lines and darker value.
Personally, I love the darker leads (4B and up), but 2H can be useful at times too. It's fun to let kids experiment with the different types and choose their favorite.
Pens, Markers, & Brushes
Pentel Arts Portable Pocket Brush Pen (Medium Point)
I'm obsessed with this brush pen. It's the standard professional brush pen that cartoon and comic artists around the world use as their go-to inking tool. It's not for beginning artists though. It takes some hand-eye coordination and practice to get better at using. But it's so versatile, makes beautiful lines, and is fun to play with.
Pentel Arts Pocket Brush Refills, Black Ink / Value Set of 12
The pen on the left is refillable so get these refill cartridges to that when the pen runs dry, you can just screw the top off, and replace the cartridge. It's super easy. And affordable.
uni Posca Paint Marker Pen, Medium Point, Set of 7 Natural Color
These are acrylic paint pens that are so much fun to use. They can be used on more than just paper-paint rocks, wood, glass, clothing, etc. But they are as easy to control as a marker. I love using these, and the colors are just beautiful!
Tombow 62038 Fudenosuke Brush Pen, 2-Pack. Soft and Hard Tip Fudenosuke Brush Pens for Calligraphy and Art Drawings
These are great entry pens for students who are new to drawing with brush pens, beginner artists, or younger students. It's a more firm brush pen, so it doesn't require as much skilled hand-eye coordination, but still ised by pro artists all around the world (including myself). It makes a great even line, but you can still vary the line weight (thickness) when you want by intentionally applying more pressure. I can't recommend this one enough! Affordable too.
Copic Markers, 72-Marker Set, Professional Alcohol-Based Blending Markers
Only buy these if your artist is serious about art because these are a serious investment. But there are no better markers in the world. PLUS they are refillable. You can buy refillable cartridges online, and use these markers for years and years. These are the finest quality--the best most vibrant ink that never bleeds, perfect control, excellent brush tips, and by far the best blending. Sometimes you can catch them on sale for an incredible deal. Right now, as of November 10, 2022, they are half off on Amazon.
48-Marker Set of Ohuhu Markers--Alcohol-Based Blending Markers
These are the budget-friendly alternative to the more costly Copic markers. These are still a great option, and your child can make great art with these. They are a world ahead of typical markers like Crayola. They blend well and have a variety of beautiful colors.
Posca Acrylic Paint Marker, Extra Fine, White
The fine point of this acrylic paint marker provides you with the precision you need to make your mark on any surface. The extra-fine point is perfect for tight lines and intricate detailing. This white marker is great for highlights.
Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pens - Fine Point Ink Pen for Journaling, Art, or Drawing - Classic White Ink - Assorted Point Sizes - 6 Pack
Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pens are a bright, opaque white ink that flows creamy smooth onto paper. They don't bleed through paper and make a lasting mark. It's another product that's perfect for highlights.
Sakura Pigma Micron Fineliner Pens - Archival Black Ink Pens - Pens for Writing, Drawing, or Journaling - Assorted Point Sizes - 6 Pack
Sakura Pigma Micron Fineliner Pens are a great choice for drawing. The pens come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses, and multiliners are easy to control. These are very common and are used by kids and professionals alike.
Pocket Sized Sketch Book Moleskine Art Sketch Album, 72 Pages
I love my Moleskin notebooks. They are small enough to fit in my pocket and I can take them anywhere. These are great for small drawings, sketches, notes, etc.
Best Paper for Alcohol Blending Markers X-Press IT Blending Card Paper 25 Sheets
Hands down, this is the best paper for alcohol-markers (either the Copics or the Ohuhus but it's more costly, at almost $1 per piece of paper. The blending just works so well on these, and you can layer as many layers of ink as you want. I use it all the time.
This is Bristol Paper which is perfect for pencil, markers, colored pencil, and especially inking. I use it all the time since I love my brush pens so much
Loose Paper for Alcohol Markers (Awesome Deal!)
250 sheets for less than $10 USD! This is actually nice printing copy paper/card stock, but works surprisingly well for alcohol-based markers. It's definitely the most affordable blending paper and definitely works better than a regular sketch pad. You can blend well and it doesn't bleed too badly. If your child can keep up with loose drawing paper, this is a great option. I use these all the time.
Strathmore 350-9 300 Series Sketch Pad, 9x12, White, 100 Sheets
Quality, affordable paper for sketching, drawing, and coloring. The classic go-to paper.
Strathmore Marker Paper Pad 9"X12"-50lb Smooth 24 Sheets
This is my second-favorite paper for alcohol-markers, and it's more affordable than the x-Press IT Blending Card Paper. This Strathmroe paper still works great and blends with alcohol markers beautifully.
2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Wi‑Fi, 128GB)
This is what I do all of my digital art on. It is an investment, but is easy to use and is an incredible professional powerhouse of a machine for creating digital art. I use the app Procreate which is only $9.99 in the App Store. Other digital drawing programs like Ibis or Adobe Fresco/Sketch may work too. I haven't used all of them, so to make sure your child gets the full experience from my class, you would need to make sure their app has the ability to import a photo, create multiple layers, lower opacity of a layer, and use different digital brushes.
This works incredible well with the iPad Pro. It's pressure sensitive just like a real brush, which is how I create those thin and thick lines (variation in line weight) to make my characters look the way they do. It's also more responsive than a typical stylus.
Artsy Watercolor Paint Set
This one has some cool waterbrush pens. You just fill these pens with water and squeeze to get the water into the brush. You don't need an extra cup of water and don't have to worry about spills. Kids also love the wide assortment of colors.
Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour
This one comes with a conventional brush. There aren't many colors because you have to mix the colors to get the color you desire (which is what artists should eventually learn anyways).
Colorations Best Value Watercolor Paint Set
The ones above are nicer sets, so if your child might not ever use watercolor again, you might be better off just purchasing a more cost-effective set like this or another cheaper one from your local craft store.
Strathmore Paper 300 Series Watercolor Class Pack
I do recommend watercolor paper because otherwise the paper will curl and tear when water is added. Paper like this works great.
Most of what I've learned about art has come from books. Here are my favorites!
How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way
Written by the legendary comics maker Stan Lee, this book is often found in many pro illustrators' libraries. Superhero and Marvel fans will especially love this book. It is a must-have classic for anyone who loves comics.
Cartoon Animation with Preston Blair, Revised Edition
This one is a classic for illustrators and animators. Want to draw in that classic Disney style? This book will show you how. It's a little more advanced than a simple step-by-step instructional book.
How to Draw Manga: Basics and Beyond!
If your child wants to learn anime and manga drawing, this is a must-have. I've learned a lot from this one. For beginners and advanced students.
How to Draw Cute Stuff: Draw Anything and Everything in the Cutest Style Ever! (Volume 1)
Want to draw cute stuff? This is an awesome book for beginners and advanced artists. Basics, fundamentals, and advanced concepts.
Fundamentals of Character Design: How to Create Engaging Characters for Illustration, Animation & Visual Development
My favorite book for character design. Awesome visuals, great instructions and explanations, and lots of inspiration. I learned a lot from this! For more experienced young artists.
Fundamentals of Creature Design: How to Create Successful Concepts Using Functionality, Anatomy, Color, Shape & Scale
For more experienced artists who are into drawing creepy creatures. This book is EPIC. I learned a lot from it. Full of fundamentals for beginning creature designers, advanced concepts, and lots of inspiring art.
Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals
Ed Emberley taught me to be an artist as a child. So much nostalgia! This is what got me drawing as a young child. It's for beginner artists. Using simple shapes to make a ton of cute creatures and characters.