Back to College - Design Courses

Starting college or university and studying an art or design course is an exciting prospect, but with so much to think about, choosing a core range of art supplies might not be at the top of your list.  Getting the right kit together is the best way to feel organised and taking the time to choose good quality art materials will help you to get the most out of your course.

Here are our top ten picks to get you started.


1. Sakura Micron Fineliners

A must of any design course, these black fineliners are available in a range of point sizes, are waterproof and lightfast. Ideal for technical drawing and sketching fine details.

2. Hardback Sketchbook

Ideal for sketching your ideas and collecting photos.  Updating your sketchbook can help to develop new concepts and improve your drawing skills.  Its an easy way to keep all you work together and you can carry it with you.  Can be used with pencil, pen, light ink and watercolour washes.

3. Polychromos Colour Pencils

A highly pigmented professional colour pencil, smudge proof and water-resistant.  Good for adding colour and texture to drawings.

4. Aristo College Set

A good quality compass set with extension bar.  This set provides a mechanical pencil, fineliners and eraser to get you started.  Rapid adjustment spindle makes using this compass very easy.

5. Cotman Watercolour Set

Watercolours are ideal for adding colour to drawings and taking out on sketching trips.  The half pan sets are no mess and no fuss, good if you don't have a great deal of space.

6. Layout and Tracing Pads

For layering your designs and sketches, layout paper is white and slightly transparent and is good for rough plans or when you need to use colour.  Tracing paper is a staple and good for any time you need to transfer or layer designs.  Pads are often convenient and easy to carry. 

7. Cutting Mat

A lightweight mat that protects your table when cutting paper with a craft knife.  The surface helps the knife to cut more cleanly so you get a better finish whilst also helping your blade last longer.  Available in A4, A3 , A2, A1

8. Scalpel and Ruler

A good quality craft knife and ruler will last a long time.  The key to getting a clean edge when cutting is to make sure you change the blades regularly and to use a cutting mat.  A good knife should feel sturdy when cutting and give you enough control to cut fine shapes.  A metal ruler is important as it will not get damaged when using a craft knife.


9. Adjustable Set Square

One set square that can create any angle needed.

10. Copic Ciao Markers

A very popular marker among graphic artists.  Markers are good for rendering and adding splashes of colour to product designs.  The twin tips allow different textures and lines to be created, with a very useful flexible brush tip.  These are solvent based markers and dry quickly.


We hope this makes the start of your new college or university course a little easier.  Stay tuned for our top art material picks for fine art courses!

Sara Sulemanji