Best art supplies for beginner to intermediate artists. Budget vs. Quality art supplies.

Being an artist isn’t cheap, markers can be upwards of $6 each, a set of 10 pens can be $30. It’s hard out there for a artist on a budget, or anyone trying to get their hands onto different mediums without breaking the bank. Unless you’re in an art class, it can be hard to have access to a bunch of different materials, and I think it’s important for any artist wanting to grow and perfect their craft to have access to different mediums. In this list I have compiled some budget products and some quality ones, and we’ll take a look at what’s right for you. Because, sometimes it’s better to invest in the more expensive yet quality product. Just keep in mind these are my personal recommendations, if you have a different idea of what is quality then that’s fine too. In fact, let us know in the comments what you think and what products you suggest!



A sketchbook is not always necessary to be high quality, if you use your sketchbook for pencil and ink drawings I would suggest just buying a cheap one. I find it easier to play around and get creative in a cheap sketchbook because I don’t feel like I’m “ruining” the sketchbook.

If you use your sketchbook for markers I would suggest using the Rendr sketchbook. If you use your sketchbook for heavy media like oil or acrylic, use a sketchbook with thicker paper like a watercolor sketchbook. Watercolor sketchbooks are also great for watercolor, obviously. For watercolor, the thicker the paper the better. Here are my picks for sketchbooks for multiple mediums.


Watercolors are another thing you can buy a budget version and not miss out on too much. If you want to step up your watercolor game, it is best you buy yourself a quality watercolor set. You also want as many colors as possible because mixing colors too much can desaturate them, the colors will never be as good mixed as they will be straight out of the pan/tube.


Quality markers are better in the long run if you want to make quality marker drawings. Copic is the most well-known brand. There’s also Winsor & Newton ProMarkers and Prismacolor markers which are still pretty high-end. I would suggest Rendr sketchbooks for sketching and Canson Illustrator paper for finished pieces.

The benefit of buying Copic markers is that refills are available that are about the same price of buying a marker, and the refills can be used multiple times depending of the size of the marker you’re refilling.


Ohuhu markers

ohuhu markers


For a good liner, you want it to work with multiple mediums such as watercolor, markers, and pencils. You want them to not loose their pigmentation when erased when used over pencil. Copic multiliners are specifically made to be compatible with markers, but there are other types of pens that are compatible with them such as the faber-castell pens. I would not recommend micron pens for Copic markers or any other alcohol-based pens, they also erase away a little bit, but they are a good starter set for lining on a budget.


Copic Multiliner

Copic Markers 9-Piece Multiliner Inking Pen Set B-2, Black (MLB2)


Pencil set:

It’s hard to go wrong on a pencil set. You can easily use a cheap set of #2 yellow pencils for school for graphite drawings. If you want to take that to a level and get a set of pencils of varying lead softness, and charcoals then it’s time to get yourself a nice pencil set.

Colored pencils:

Colored pencils are also very hard to go wrong. The differences with quality colored pencils comes with the ability to blend the colors easily and nicely. There’s no shame in buying a budget set if you’re just starting out. If you’re ready to move on to the next level, then invest in buying a nice set like from the brand Prismacolor.


Prismacolor 48 count

Prismacolor colored pencil 48 set





Brushes are one of the art tools I would say it’s very much worth it to invest in the quality ones. Cheap brushes tend to shed, once you get little hairs all over your paint and in your paints they are very hard to get out. Also, quality natural hair brushes last longer than most synthetic cheap brushes ever could.


Acrylic paint:

Acrylic paint has some nice budget brands that compare nicely to quality brands. Liquitex basics is one of those brands. It was highly recommended by one of my art professors in college and I think it’s great for the price. If you’d like to try something a little more high-end, Golden is one of the more raved about brands I know of.


Liquitex basics

Liquitex basics acrylic paint



Golden acrylic paint

golden acrylic paint



Gouache paint:

Gouache is a more opaque kind of watercolor, sort of like a hybrid between watercolor and oils. Much like markers and colored pencils, it’s a very popular medium on social media that you might have seen a few times. I personally enjoy using higher-end gouache.


Reeves 24 pack 10ml

Reeves gouache 24 set



Oil paint:

Just like any other paint, the best pigmentation is what you get right out the tube. The more you mix the colors, the less saturated the colors become. So it’s nice to have as a many colors as possible, and unless you’re experience with oil paints, it may be more worth it you to start out with a budget set.

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