Close this search box.

Hand-Drawn Sketches in Detail: Basic Materials for Sketching – Episode 3

There are many materials available for different sketching techniques, and we can list all of them here at once. However, we know that it can be overwhelming for beginners to navigate them all. In this series, our goal is to build a sketching habit that is enjoyable and stress-free, both psychologically and economically. At the end of the day, whether we are architects returning after a break or trying to become one, our aim is to improve our drawing skills so we can express our ideas more freely.

Regardless of the materials we use, the key is to improve our hand-drawing skills or learn to sketch without stress. Let’s focus on the basic tools you need: simple and straightforward, just essential pencils, a putty eraser, a sharpener, and a sketchbook.

Essential Pencils 

To start working on your sketching skills, a set of HB, 2B, 4B, and 6B pencils is sufficient, but you can prefer to buy sets as well. These pencils offer a range of tones for different shading and drawing techniques. We recommend purchasing from known brands like Faber-Castell, Derwent, Staedtler, etc., to ensure consistent quality and better leads. Each pencil typically costs between £1 and £3.

Putty Eraser

A putty eraser is a flexible tool that is highly kneadable and absorbent, lifting graphite gently from the paper. It’s excellent for creating highlights, lightening areas, and correcting mistakes without damaging your paper. It can also correct and lighten charcoal and pastel work. Unlike regular erasers, it doesn’t leave crumbs, keeping your work area tidy. It can take different shapes and be used to erase tiny areas precisely. You can find a quality putty eraser for around £1 to £3.


A good sharpener is essential to keeping your pencils in optimal condition. Any sharpener you already have will do as long as it works well to maintain a fine point for detailed work. If you do not have one, you can purchase one for around £2 to £5.


We recommend starting with a simple, affordable sketchbook rather than an expensive one, especially in the earlier days of your sketching journey. A sketchbook with 80-90 gsm paper is sufficient for most sketching needs and would be suitable for pencil drawings. When it comes to choosing the right size, we can talk about A3, A4 and A5 size sketchbooks. If you plan to work on your sketching skills on your desk, A3 would be a good choice. You will have a larger canvas to experiment and exercise on your sketchbook. However, if you like to be more flexible in the places you draw, then an A4 sketchbook will provide ample space for detailed work, and its size would be suitable for carrying in any backpack. If you prefer to sketch on the go, we recommend A5 size as it is more portable.

  • An A3 sketchbook typically ranges from £10 to £15.
  • An A4 sketchbook usually is around £5 to £10.
  • An A5 sketchbook has prices between £3 and £8.


Once you start using your sketchbook, you always need to remember that your sketchbook is a place to learn, experiment, take notes, and try new techniques. It doesn’t need to be perfect or pretty. The price of the sketchbook will vary from size to size.

Where to Buy

You can purchase these sketching materials at various art supply stores and online retailers. Here are some of the best-known and easily accessible options, but feel free to explore other sources that might work better for you. As we are in the UK, these links are specific to our location, but you can search for similar retailers in your country:

  • Cass Art: Known for a wide range of high-quality art supplies.
  • Ryman: Offers a good selection of sketching materials
  • Amazon UK: Convenient for finding all these materials in one place.
  • WHSmith: Another great option for art supplies, including sketchbooks and pencils.

Getting Started

With these basic materials, you’re ready to start your sketching journey. In this series, we will guide you step by step, making it ideal for those interested in sketching, arts, and architecture students or anyone eager to learn. Remember, the key to improvement is practice. So, grab your pencils, eraser, sketchbook, and sharpener, and wait for our next episode!


Leave a Reply

Sign in to continue

Not a member yet? Sign up now