I have found sketching to be one of the most beneficial (and fun) ways to continue developing my skills as a painter. Whenver I can squeeze in some sketch time in the morning, I know the day is off to a great start. 

Over the years, I've tried a LOT of products for sketching. Out of all the pens, watercolors, and sketchbooks I've tried, there have been some standouts that have become part of my sketch routine.

Below are some of my go-to tools for sketching. Get the complete list by downloading my FREE Sketch Materials Checklist PDF.

Satchel or Pencil Holder

This one's kind of a no-brainer. You need something to put your stuff in, right? I recommend keeping this item small. Find something that's big enough to hold your pens and such, but small enough to toss in a backpack or purse. It's also nice if whatever you choose is something that speaks to who you are as an artist. Mine was given to me by my mom who is also an artist and the one who taught me for many years.


A good sketchbook is like gold. And once you find one, you probably won't want to let it go. But I do like to try different sketchbooks now and then. Interestingly, I've found that certain sketchbooks influence my sketching in surprising ways. For instance, one that has a lower quality paper helps me stay looser and more whimsical in my sketches compared with a sketchbook filled with high-quality watercolor paper. When you're looking for a sketchbook, you'll want something to try a variety of papers. Sometimes you'll want something with a nice tooth, other times something smooth will suit your needs better. If you're doing any watercolor, just know that if your paper is thin, it may bleed to the other side of the page. I don't mind this, but that's a personal preference.

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Monsieur Notebook Leather Journal


When choosing pens, I like to have a variety of tip sizes to give me options in my sketches. I'm also looking for a pen that feels good in my hand. So it should have some grip to it—not too much. But I also don't want a pen that might slip out of my hand. 

Inking pens (AKA liners) will give you a line that you can count on. They are set at standard sizes and you can choose whichever one suits your needs best in that moment. A fountain pen, on the other hand, will give you more of a weighted line feel. Mastering these pens can take a little time, but it's so worth it!

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Copic Markers 9-Piece Multiliner Inking Pen Set

Pilot Namiki Falcon Collection Fountain Pen

These are just a few of my go-to sketch materials. But I have a free PDF checklist that contains the full list with links where you can grab them yourself. Download my free Sketch Materials Checklist here!

What are some of you favorite sketch materials? I would love to know. Drop me a line in the comments!