Sketching is the most basic of any artist’s skill set. A good sketching set is essential for any artist, designer, or architect looking to maintain a drawing practice. Pencil sets are a portable, versatile must-have for the pro on the go. Whether you’re sketching en plein air, drafting a formal canvas, or brushing up on basics, a complete sketching set is necessary to everyone from the burgeoning artist to the expert draftsman. While we can’t promise that you’ll soon be cranking out masterpieces, practice does make perfect. Shop our picks below to find the right set for your needs.
1. Arteza Watercolor Pencil Drawing Bundle
Looking for a prismatic sketching set with multi-medium capabilities? Look no further than Arteza’s Watercolor Pencil Drawing Bundle. The set includes 72 highly pigmented watercolor pencils with break-resistant cores. Mix, layer, and blend your colors using water once you’ve laid down the lines, shading, and contours of your composition. In addition to watercolor pencils, each set comes with two 32-page pads of acid-free, heavyweight watercolor paper. Portable, convenient, and nontoxic, these pencils arrive in a handy protective metal case to keep them organized, clean, and safe.
2. Norberg & Linden XL Graphite and Charcoal Drawing Set
A classic, comprehensive kit, this drawing set is sure to satisfy all sketching needs. The set comes with 12 graphite pencils ranging from 8B (the softest graphite, which makes the darkest mark) to 5H (the hardest graphite, which makes the faintest mark). It also includes a soft all-graphite pencil; 2 sharpeners; 3 charcoal pencils in soft, medium, and hard; and 3 graphite and 3 charcoal pencils, also in soft, medium, and hard. For ease of blending, the kit includes 1 kneaded eraser, 3 paper blending stumps, and 1 sandpaper block to sharpen and clean the blending sticks. A vinyl eraser, a pencil extender, an art knife, and a 100-page sketchpad round out the kit. A folding zip-up nylon portfolio carrying case keeps the many tools in the set well organized and convenient for travel.
3. Norberg & Linden Drawing Set
For a more pared-down version of the set above, turn to Norberg & Linden’s Drawing Set. This version includes 8 graphite pencils ranging from 8B to 5H and 3 charcoal pencils ranging from hard to soft. The set also includes a 100-page sketchbook, a vinyl and a kneaded eraser, 2 sharpeners, an all-graphite pencil, and 2 charcoal sticks: one soft, one medium. While this set includes no carrying case, a gift box makes for a polished presentation.
4. AmazonBasics Sketching and Drawing Kit
If you’re in the market for a slim and serviceable set, you might want to take a look at this one from AmazonBasics. Choose from 6 graphite pencils in a range of thicknesses, and maintain your pencils’ points with the included sharpener. The kit also contains both vinyl and soft gum erasers, 3 charcoal pencils, 4 charcoal sticks, and a blending stump.
5. Studio 71 Portable Sketching Art Set
Want the top of the (graphite) line? Look no further than the Darice 30063138 Studio 71 Portable Sketching Art Set. While the kit includes 29 pieces of high-quality drawing materials, the best perk of this product is its slick carrying case. Keep your tools organized and carry them with ease via Darice’s hard silver trunk with a convenient handle and secure snap closures. Not only does the set include 9 sketching pencils, 3 charcoal pencils, 3 blending stumps, both a gum and a vinyl eraser, a pencil sharpener, sanding block, and sketch pad, this set also provides 8 soft pastels ranging from white to ochre to black, to add dimension to your monochrome sketches.