What Other Drawing Tools You Need

More Drawing Tools | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step By Step Drawing Tutorial Now you have drawing paper and your chosen pencil or pencil set, there are just a few more drawing tools you need.

However, these things don’t have to cost you anything if you don’t want to spend any more money just yet, as you may be able to improvise using items you already have about your house!

Though I do suggest you invest in the real McCoy at some point down the road, using the alternatives while you find your feet is certainly no problem.


1.) Putty Rubber


Putty Rubber, also called Kneadable Eraser, is a very soft, tacky eraser which can be pulled apart and kneaded into shapes very much like Blu-Tac.

You use the putty rubber to erase guidelines, errors and to apply highlights to your pencil drawing. I talk about highlights during Step 1.

The way it works is the rubber becomes soft and tacky using the heat from your hands as you knead it into shape. The tacky-ness pulls the lead off the paper, rather than rubbing it, so you use the putty rubber by dabbing it.

The cost of Putty Rubber varies between brands, typically £1 to £5 and some of the lesser known brands make some really bad putty rubbers so avoid them.

What Is The Alternative?

Blu-Tac. If you already have some Blu-Tac lying around then this can work in a very similar way to Putty Rubber, although it can also cause smudging so be careful here!

2.) Blending Tool

A Blending Tool is used to, well er… blend the different shades of pencil together!

There are two options of tools available for this, a Blending Stump and a Tortillon; Not your finger!

Blending Stump

A Blending Stump is made from soft paper and moulded to form soft points either end to enable control over blending the pencil.

They can be purchased in a range of different widths and lengths.

They can also be sold in packs, which can save in the long term since you will use a fair amount of these as a pencil artist.

A typical pack of 2-4 Blending Stumps costs around £3.

What Is The Alternative?

You can save money on a Blending Tool right mow, by checking out my ‘Make Your Own Blending Stump In 60 Seconds Hack’ from the HTD Toolbox!

3.) Graphite Stick


If you chose to just use the one mechanical pencil, then you will probably need a Graphite Stick to accompany it.

Graphite Sticks are pure graphite, also referred to as ‘Woodless Pencils’, and are great for adding tones with your Blending Tool.

I use my Lyra Titan 2B Graphite Stick by scraping the graphite off using a blade (kids- ask an adult!) onto a spare sheet of scrap paper, and then applying the dust powder to my paper minimally with my blending tool.

They are cheap, costing around £1 per pencil, and a great tool to have in your drawing kit.

What Is The Alternative?

To carefully scrape the point of a wooden pencil! …This may take a little longer, but the results are very similar.

4.) Clear 1″ x 1″ A4 Acetate Grid


This is a grid for your photo which will act as a guide, and help to scale and position your pencil portrait. This is called the Gridding Method.

Unfortunately, I can’t for the life of me find anywhere that sells these ready-made, and have always made my own using A4 Acetate Sheets and printing the grid onto these.

You can get a copy of my Free 1″ x 1″ Grid Template to download and print your sheets from my Free Resources section in the sidebar.

What Is The Alternative?

To manually draw the grid lines onto your copy of your photo. This can omit vital parts of the picture though, and potentially ruin the whole portrait.

5.) Fixative Sealant Spray


Due to the nature of pencil being dusty, it is very easy to smudge and remove.

Applying a Fixative Spray on completion of your portrait seals the lead and protects the drawing, minimising any accidental smudging.

Fixative Spray costs around the £5 mark, and is available to purchase online or from a good Arts & Crafts shop.

What Is The Alternative?

Hairspray. It does exactly the same job since Hairspray contains a type of adhesive too. Hairspray is more flammable, however!

Anything Else I Need?

There are a couple of things you will need, and include;

  • A Ruler- For drawing guidelines!
  • Craft Scissors- For scraping graphite dust powder!
  • Tissue Paper- For resting your wrist on to avoid smudging!

Optional Extras

1.) Sanding Paper Block

More Drawing Tools | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step By Step Drawing TutorialA Sanding Paper Block is used to shape the point of the pencil to help gain a better control over your drawing.

They are available to purchase online from Buy-For-Less Online in the Amazon Marketplace.

2.) An Easel


An Easel is used to help artists draw in a comfortable upright or standing position.

The Table Easels are great, because they also act as a storage box for your materials.

They are available to purchase online from Amazon.com.

3.) A Portfolio

More Drawing Tools | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step By Step Drawing TutorialIf you want to keep your artwork safe, then I strongly suggest investing in a portfolio. They are great for keeping your artwork protected and warp-free!

I own one similar to the A2 Royal & Langnickel one on the left. The size is sufficient enough for me, since I rarely do portraits any larger.

This one is available to purchase online from Amazon.com.

4.) Artist Mannequin

 More Drawing Tools | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step By Step Drawing TutorialA mannequin is not compulsory, but they can help immensely when learning to draw.

You can bend the figure into your desired position which help to build shapes as a foundation for your drawing.

They are available to purchase online from Amazon.com.

Can We Start Now?

Now we have all our drawing tools and you have downloaded your Free Progress Journal from the HTD Toolbox below, we can learn some pencil art techniques in Step 1.

Progress Journal

These Progress Journal will help you throughout the tutorial – so get it now! I’ll wait…

So, good luck; remember to exercise patience and to take rest breaks regularly, and I will see you on the other side!

Choosing Drawing Pencils | Go Back!Step1 to Step 5 Overview | Go To!