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Home > Student Art Materials

Student Art Materials

6th March 2023
Student Art Materials
Broad Canvas

If you are an art student (or about to become one), make sure you have the correct art supplies on day one of your art course, so you can get creative using everything you'll need going forward. Quite often an art course will start with an exploration of everything – painting, drawing, printmaking, textiles, graphics, modelmaking and crafts – before settling down into selected fields.

All of our dedicated Broad Canvas shop staff have experience in various creative fields, and are happy to help you out, even if you are on a tight budget. Our Student Ranges can be found here and our Student Start Bundle can be purchased here.

This list is not exhaustive, and the required materials may vary depending on the specific art program or course. It is recommended that all students check with their tutors or the department to confirm what supplies are required for their classes.


A good quality sketchbook is essential for any art student to practice their drawing skills and to capture ideas for their projects. Sketchbooks provide a space for artists to practice their skills and techniques. Drawing, painting, and experimenting with different materials in a sketchbook allows artists to refine their abilities and develop their style. It's also a place to brainstorm, reflect on previous sketches, make notes, try new ideas and be spontaneous. Take it everywhere as you never know when inspiration will strike!

Discover: Sketchpades & Drawing Paper / Hardback Sketchbooks & Journals


A variety of pencils, including graphite pencils, colored pencils, and charcoal pencils, are necessary for sketching and drawing. They are versatile and can be used to create a wide range of effects, from light and delicate lines to dark and bold strokes. Pencils are also easy to control, which makes them ideal for sketching, shading, and creating intricate details. They are also portable and relatively inexpensive. This makes them ideal for artists who like to work outside of the studio or who are on a tight budget. Overall, pencils are an essential tool for artists of all levels and are a staple in almost every art course.

Drawing ink, charcoal sticks or Liquid Charcoal & pastels are other essentials for your kit.

Discover: Drawing Pens, Pencils & Ink


Depending on the medium, art students may need to bring watercolor, acrylic, gouache or oil paints to class. Paints are essential for art courses because they offer a unique range of creative possibilities that other art materials cannot. Paints can be layered and blended to create complex compositions that evoke emotion and tell stories. This allows artists to explore the range of emotions and experiences that they want to convey through their art. Paints can be applied using various techniques, such as with a brush, a palette knife, or even fingers, which gives artists the freedom to express themselves in their unique way.

Discover: Painting Art Supplies


The types of paintbrush that a student needs depends on the type of paint they are using, size of the artwork, and the technique they want to achieve, but some of the main types include: 

Round brushes - with a pointed tip and used for creating fine lines, details, and intricate designs.
Flat brushes - rectangular shaped and are used for creating broad strokes, washes, and filling in large areas.
Filbert brushes - with a flat, oval-shaped tip, used for creating soft edges, blending, and shading.
Fan brushes - fan-shaped tips for creating textures, blending colors, and creating foliage and organic shapes.
Angled brushes - slanted/angled tips for creating precise lines, shapes, and edges.

Read our handy guide to different brushes and their uses here.

Canvas, paper or card or other surfaces

Depending on the course requirements, students may need to bring different types of paper or canvas to work on, in addition to their sketchbooks.

Canvases are for obviously used primarily for painting on and come either un-framed (cut to size) or stretched over a thin or a thicker wooden frame.

For mounting flat artworks you might need large format (A2 / A1 A0) card boards.

Other surfaces you might need are; lino sheets for lino cut prints, wood, metal sheets, acetate for transparency, light sensitive photo papers, cloth and other fabrics.

Discover: Drawing boards / Stretched canvas & boards

Other tools

Masking tape - for use to fasten your work, mark out edges or as a mask to apply layers of paint or ink for fascinating layered effects.

Erasers, sharpeners & fixative which helps keep your charcoal, pastel or pencil drawings nice and smudge-free.

Scissors, glue & tape - for general paper cutting, sticking and fastening.

Ruler - always handy when your work needs to become more linear. Metal rulers are required when using with a craft or utlility knife, to stop plastic or wooden rulers from being shredded... and your fingers.

Cutting mat & craft knife - to cut out card or paper elements for collages and 3D projects. Remember to keep the protective sheaf on all knives and ideally keep them in their own hardwearing case.

Compass and protractor - easy enough to carry and you never know when you'll need to find a new angle, or create perfect lines.

Storage and travel cases

A durable and portable storage case can help art students keep their supplies organized and protected while traveling to and from class. You can use portfolios with plastic sheets for presentations or keeping different surfaces away from each other, so not to smudge or taint other artworks.

If you have a lot of tools then invest in a carry case, much like a workman's toolbox but fileld with all your art, craft and graphics essentials. Most have different compartments to help keep your many pens, pencils, paints and tools in an organised manner.

Discover: Display Portfolios  / Storage Solutions