"What tools do you use?" is perhaps the most recurring question in an artist's profession. To save time answering this inevitable inquiry, I've made a list of my current tools for your review. Ultimately, it's not the tools that make the artist, it's how the artist wields the tools. The following items are what I've found works for me. My arsenal is minimal, consisting of traditional mediums with a digital sweep through Photoshop.
Each tool title below is linked to a shopping source. If you have trouble finding something at your local art store, online is your next best friend.
Used when sketching. Light enough to plot the structure of the piece and easy enough to erase when necessary.
Establishes a foundation upon which the values build.
In later stages of the piece, I'll often go back over the drawing with this pencil. It fills in smaller spaces of the paper very precisely.
Sharpens edgework where needed.
I use these pencils to build up the value structure
Buttery smooth, introduced to them when I went to Japan and ran out of my own pencils
I get mine from JetPens because I use one kind of pencil more than the rest and can customize accordingly
Creates a variety of effects (smudging, sharpening, carving).
It cleans itself! When it gets dirty, I can fold and stretch it repeatedly until the dark marks are absorbed.
I advise that you get a lot of these (at least 3-5 large ones) because I often lose them or they become irreparably dirty after being tossed around in my bag.
Sharpens the pencil in a unique way, equipping the point for a variety of mark-making.
While taking art classes, I observed Ron Lemen's sharpening method and have used it ever since. Check out his demo.
Smooths the edges of the pencil to create broad side strokes.
Useful for creating sharp, detailed negative shapes that the moldable eraser lacks.
Used for value and color correction. Brings my work to a finish.
I currently use the monthly Creative Cloud subscription.
Research their plans. Affordable options might be available if you are a student.