Essential Art Tools every artist should have | ArtPlacer (2024)

Behind every great piece of art, there is a good set of physical and digital art tools that enables the artist to achieve the end result they envisioned. Of course, practice is essential, but so is having the right art supplies to work with a particular technique.

Think about it, if you try to paint with watercolors over drawing paper, this won’t be able to absorb as much water, as a result, the paper (and the image) might warp and this might even affect how the pigment works. This might result in frustration if you are beginning to experiment with this technique, and this could all have been avoided by working with the right tools for artists.

To avoid these scenarios, we have created this list of essential art tools and supplies every artist should have in their studio.

Essential Art Tools every artist should have | ArtPlacer (1)

From brushes to canvas, every artist needs the right set of art tools to bring their ideas to life.


Basic Art Tools for Artists

If you are starting your path as an artist and want to make sure you have the right art tools, or you already have some experience and are ready to update or upgrade your art supplies, check this list of essential art tools.


Pencils are the ultimate essential in your art tool kit. Why? They are your go-to tool for sketching, filling your art journal with ideas that might grow into an art piece, and of course, they might be the main tool if you want to do a pencil drawing.

What kind do you need? You can choose between traditional and mechanical pencils with different hardness: 9H (lightest) to 9B (darkest). The name tells you the type of line and effect you can achieve: hard and bold, light and soft, smearable or blendable, and even if it’s easy to erase or draw over it.

If you are just getting started you might want to get the basics: an HB pencil for sketching, a 2B for drawing details and contrast, a 6B for shading, and a 9B for darker tones and blending.


There is such a wide variety of brushes that finding the right set (or building up your own) can be a bit overwhelming. The first thing to choose is the type of bristle from natural (they are made out of animal hair) to synthetic bristles. A soft bristle provides a soft and smooth stroke while brushes with a harsher bristle create rough and thick layers of paints

The second step is choosing the right shape for the type of stroke, line, and texture you want. There are the essential brushes you need in your art toolset:

-Flat brushes: these are very versatile; they can help cover large areas with flat strokes and also (when using their edges) create fine lines.

-Round brushes: provide a smooth stroke. They are available in both blunt and pointed tips, these last ones are ideal for creating details and thin lines.

-Filberts: this is a bit of a mix, it is a flat brush with a rounded tip offering a wide variety of marks and lines.

-Fan: are looking to create a particular texture? This is your tool! A flat brush with a splayed bristle and a round tip. This type of brush is helpful for softening edges, blending, and creating effects.

-Wash brushes: these flat and wide brushes are ideal to cover large surfaces because they can hold a lot of paint. Ideal for big format paintings.

Always remember to clean them properly to maintain the brush quality.

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Acrylic, oil, gouache, graffiti, watercolors. When it comes to the type of paints artists have many options to choose from. It depends on what you want to create and the medium you’ll use.

Truth is, every artist has their favorite type and brand, each paint has different pigments and properties. If you are starting out, acrylic paint is a good place to begin, you can go for medium quality paint to experiment and then you can start discovering new materials and investing in them.

You don’t need all the paint tubes available: think about a few basics for your color palette and how you can mix them to achieve different hues.


In order to question yourself “What should I paint?”, first you need something to paint on, that’s why you need to get yourself the right blank medium to make it happen. When choosing paper, you can go with either pads or journals. Acid-free sheets are preferred by many artists because it prevents deterioration and discoloration.

Another characteristic to take into account is the weight of the paper, this term refers to its thickness. Lighter paper is thinner and might not resist wet media or using an eraser. Paper also has a texture created by its “teeth” or the little bumps you might find on its surface, which function is holding the pigments.

This is a list of different types of paper every artist should have in their studio:

-Drawing paper: this is the preferred option for finished art pieces, it’s a bit more expensive than other pads. Drawing paper is thicker (100lb/163g) with a medium tooth (bumps in the surface that create texture) and it’s ideal for dry media like pencils.

-Sketch paper: as its name implies, this thinner version of drawing paper is used for practicing and outlining future creations.

-Watercolor paper: this paper has cotton intertwined in its fibers which allows it to absorb more water. It’s thicker than drawing paper (140lb/300g) and has a bit of a texture.

-Mixed-media: this type of paper was created with the intention of providing artists with a surface that could withstand a variety of media techniques from watercolors, to markers and inks!

-Print-making: this medium is very versatile and ideal for works that require a great number of inks like high-quality prints. Its surface is coated, preventing the pigments from sinking down to its fibers, this enables you to create reproductions of your design with bright colors.

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A palette is a surface an artist uses to hold and mix their paints. Palettes come in different sizes, shapes, and materials, from plastic to glass, metal, and ceramic. This tool should be light and easy to hold, making it easier to work without constant interruptions.

The palette should have enough space to put all the colors you are going to use plus extra space for mixing and trying colors.

There is no need to make a great investment in a palette but think about something that was made to last.

Palette Knife

Palette knives are used to mix different paints in a palette to create different shades and hues, but they can also be used to apply paint over the paper directly, it provides a thicker and textured stroke of color ideal, they work well with acrylic paints.

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Digital art tools are now essential for artists for both the creation and presentation of their artwork.

New art supplies: apps and digital tools for artists

Today tools for artists go beyond the traditional pencil and sketchbook, digital tools are not only redefining what we understand as essential tools for artists, they provide different solutions and opportunities for creators.

For example, graphic or image editors are now an essential part of an artist’s work, they allow the creator to edit the image, add new layers to the design, and play around with the value and brightness of the image. And there are many alternatives in the market available.

Drawing tablets are the new canvas for many creators, its pressure sensitivity allows you to draw in detail with a pen tab, giving you the feel of a traditional sketchbook but with all the available tools of drawing software.

But what can you do when your artwork is ready to be shared with the world? Here is where digital art tools likeArtPlacer’s Room Mockupscome in handy. With a few clicks, you can: upload your artworks, “drag and drop” them into a digital mockup of a room (everything from living rooms to halls), choose or create your own frame, adjust the brightness and shadow, andcreate an image ideal for your professional website or yoursocial media profiles.

Now that you have a list of essentials it is time to get your first toolkit ready or upgrade the one you already have and start creating!

Essential Art Tools every artist should have | ArtPlacer (2024)


Essential Art Tools every artist should have | ArtPlacer? ›

The seven elements of art are line, shape, space, value, form, texture, and color.

What are the 7 essentials of art? ›

The seven elements of art are line, shape, space, value, form, texture, and color.

What does every artist need? ›

  • PAPER. There are innumerable types of artists' papers on the market. ...
  • PENCILS. Wooden or mechanical, soft lead or hard, pencils are vital components of any artist's arsenal. ...
  • PENS. ...
  • WORK LIGHT. ...
  • BRUSHES. ...
  • NOTEBOOK. ...
Nov 2, 2023

What are 5 things an artist needs to be successful? ›

The five principles for success as an artist are:
  • Charisma.
  • Substance.
  • Ability.
  • Uniqueness.
  • Work Ethic.
Feb 23, 2023

What are the three most important questions to be answered when writing an artist's statement? ›

- Who is your audience? It helps to have someone in mind when you are writing. - How can you clarify what your work is about, how can you make your work easier to understand? - If you are exploring, uncertain, or struggling to nd the meaning of your work, suitable media, a focus, etc.

What are the 7 most important elements of art? ›

The seven most common elements include line, shape, texture, form, space, color and value, with the additions of mark making, and materiality. When analyzing these intentionally utilized elements, the viewer is guided towards a deeper understanding of the work.

What are the 7 principles of art? ›

The Principles of Art (balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, rhythm, and unity/variety) represent how the Elements of Art (line, shape, color, value, form, texture, and space) are used by an artist to create a painting, drawing, or other work of art.

What is the basic tool of the artist? ›

Pencils: The Basic Art Tool

When it comes to tools of art, pencils are fundamental. They are essential tools for artists, perfect for sketching, filling art journals with ideas, or creating detailed pencil drawings.

What are some art tools? ›

From brushes to canvas, every artist needs the right set of art tools to bring their ideas to life.
  • Basic Art Tools for Artists.
  • Pencils.
  • Brushes.
  • Paint.
  • Paper.
  • Palette.
  • Palette Knife.
  • New art supplies: apps and digital tools for artists.
Jun 7, 2022

What is one thing all artists have in common? ›

All artists are highly imaginative and see beyond what everyone else does. They Are Single-Minded: Artists often find a hard time choosing something to do. However, once they like something, no one can influence their minds. They are focused and usually forget the world around them until that work is completed.

What are the 8 habits of mind for an artist? ›

(Develop Craft, Engage & Persist, Envision, Express, Observe, Reflect, Stretch & Explore, Understand Art Worlds). These are habits that artists use but they can also apply to all subject areas as well.

What does a good artist require? ›

Important Skills for Entry-Level Artists

They need to be proficient in various mediums and tools, both traditional and digital, to create a diverse portfolio. Skills in time management and self-discipline are also important, as is the ability to accept and learn from constructive criticism.

What makes an artist better? ›

Being a successful artist requires dedication, resilience, and a willingness to continuously learn and evolve. It's not just about talent; it's about honing your skills, seeking feedback, and pushing the boundaries of your creativity.

What are the 3 C's in art? ›

The Three C's in Art: Concept, Content and Context (1) – Walk the Arts (living through the arts)

What to avoid in an artist statement? ›

Don't use unnecessary jargon. Avoid words, phrases, and ideas that are so specific to your discipline that a general arts reader might not understand them. If there's a term or phrase that's essential to include, just explain it briefly. This can be accomplished in as little as a phrase within the sentence.

What are essential questions in art? ›

Essential Questions: (a) How do life experiences influence the way you relate to art? (b) How does learning about art impact how we perceive the world? (c) What can we learn from our responses to art? Enduring Understanding: Visual imagery influences understanding of, and responses to, the world.

What are the 6 rules of art? ›

PRINCIPLES OF ART: Balance, emphasis, movement, proportion, rhythm, unity, and variety; the means an artist uses to organize elements within a work of art. by the careful placement of repeated elements in a work of art to cause a visual tempo or beat.

What are the 7 elements of design? ›

7 Elements of Design and Rule of Thirds

Design elements are the basic units of any visual design which form its structure and convey visual messages. The elements of design are line, shape, form, space, texture, tone (or value) and color, "These elements are the materials from which all designs are built."

What is 7 art form? ›

Seven arts may refer to: The traditional subdivision of the arts, being Music, Sculpture, Painting, Literature, Architecture, Performing, and Film. The Seven Liberal Arts, being grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.

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