As a child, I remember receiving a new box of crayons or colored pencils with drawing paper as a gift. I would get so excited. I couldn’t wait to create something fun and colorful. My creation might be something as simple as a doodle of my name on the page, but I loved using those brand new art supplies. I have seen this same experience with my art students.
At the beginning of the year when all the art supplies had been purchased and brought to class, I see the excitement in my students’ eyes. The children can’t wait to break open their boxes of watercolors or colored pencils. They are proud to bring the supplies to class and place them in their art bin.
I have seen how art supplies can spark a child’s creativity. I feel that children need many different supplies to help encourage their desire to create. Art supplies can get very expensive if you buy professional quality. I feel that you can start out buying the cheaper brands for your child. Let your child find out what they like to work with. If they have a knack for a particular medium then you might want to spring for some more expensive brands. High School students in particular may need some better quality paper, paints, and paintbrushes.
Most of the supplies that I tell my students to get can be purchased at stores such as Walmart, Target, Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. I am not suggesting any particular place to buy your supplies.
If you plan on saving your child’s work I suggest that you buy acid free paper. That way the work will not turn yellow with age. The higher the weight of the paper the better the quality also. 50 lb. paper is much thinner than 90 lb. paper. To paint with watercolors you need at least 90 lb. paper. I personally use 140 and above.
Here is a list of supplies that will come in handy for parents, grandparents, teachers or homeschoolers. I am dividing the list by age group. Keep these supplies on hand to support your child’s creativity. You don’t have to run out and buy every supply on the list. You can start accumulating the supplies gradually so as not to hurt your pocketbook too badly. You may have many of these supplies already.
K- 4th Grade:
2 – #2 pencils (I don’t like mechanical pencils for drawing because you can’t shade with them very well.)
1 hand held pencil sharpener
1 eraser – pink pearl
1 package of 12 colored pencils
1 package of crayons
1 package of 8 – colored markers – washable classic colors
1 – 8 color watercolor set with paintbrush. My favorite student grade brand is Prang, but Crayola works well also. Some people buy glitter paints, but that limits what you can do with them. Go with the basic blue, red, yellow, green, orange, purple, and black. You can buy the glitter or different colors in addition to the basic colors if you wish.
computer paper for drawing
Drawing paper 9″ x 12″ for larger projects – acid free, 50 lb.
1 package of Colored Construction Paper – 9″ x 12″
5th – 8th Grade:
Same supplies as K – 4th grade with one exception.
Get 1 package of 12 oil pastels instead of crayons.
1 – kneaded eraser
1 – Bottle of Glue
1 – Spiral Bound Sketchbook – 8.5″ x 11″ or larger – acid free – 70 lb. paper or higher
1 – Sketchbook – 18″ x 24″ – acid free, 70 lb. paper of higher
Watercolor Paper – acid free, 90 lb. – 9″ x 12″ – 12 sheets
1 – drawing board (A piece of masonite from the hardware store will work nicely – 18″ x 24″ is a good size.)
9th – 12th Grade:
Same supplies as K – 4th and 5th – 8th.
Get package of 24 colored pencils instead of 12. For really good quality, I would go with Prismacolor. They are expensive though. You can buy a few Prismacolor pencils individually just to try out. If colored pencil isn’t your child’s thing then buy the cheaper brand.
Synthetic Paintbrushes for watercolors:
Rounds – #12, #8, #4
Flat – 3/4″
Watercolor Paper – acid free, 140 lb. – 9″ x 12″ – 12 sheets
2 large sheets of watercolor paper – 22″ x 30″ (Sold as individual sheets)
1 – package of 12 watercolor pencils
1 – package of 12 soft pastels
1 – black marker – permanent ink
There are many supplies that I could add to the list but it would seem endless. I did not list acrylic or oil paints. I did not use oil paints in my classroom because of the smell and clean up required. Getting those types of paints would require many other supplies in addition. If your child wants to upgrade with watercolors in a tube instead of the pan paint, start out with a yellow, blue and red. Those three colors are the primary colors. Your child can mix most colors needed with just those three. I do not suggest using any white watercolor paint. I’ll explain that in an article later.