Every artist has different needs for their work, But I have made a list of the top 10 tools that a beginner artist needs or would ask for Christmas or their birthday. This list would also apply to what a beginner artist needs to start basic drawing techniques.
1. Paper, Illustration Board, Canvas
There are different surfaces for various media, such as pencil, pen, markers or paint. To begin with, I suggest using inexpensive copy machine paper. A ream of #20 bond paper is available at office or art supply stores. Latter on you can purchase more expensive drawing surfaces for your finished works of art.
There are a few different kinds of erasers out there. I'm not referring to the eraser that comes with a pencil. There are different shaped pink erasers used for light pencil marks. I prefer a kneaded rubber eraser because it can be shaped to erase small areas by kneading it like a piece of clay. And best of all, it doesn't leave messy crumbs.
3. Pencils, Pens, Paste
There are different mediums that are available, and different effects that each one produces. I suggest using a 2B lead pencil for starters. There are artist pencil boxes that have a full range of leads that start with 2H lightest (hard lead) to darkest 6B (soft lead). The most used pencils for a beginner artist are 2H, HB, 2B, 4B, and 6B. Soon the artist will want to experiment with other media such as, colored pencils, pastels, pen and ink
4. Pencil Sharpener
Keep your pencils sharp so your drawings are sharp. An electric operated sharpener is the best, but the old fashion crank-handled or hand-held type works just as well.
5 T-Square, Triangle and Ruler
The T-square runs across the straight edge of your drawing board and gives you consistent parallel lines. With the triangle you can achieve perfect right angles or can simply use it to create straight lines. Together they can be used for measuring and adding perspective to your work. Rulers are needed to make sure your drawings are at custom or standard sizes.
6. Cutting Knife
Used for cutting out tiny areas, making straight cuts using a metal ruler to cut excess substrate from you works of art.
7. Drawing Table
An adjustable drawing table also called a draftsman's table is to help make the artist comfortable when in their drawing position. For some artists working on a flat table works just as well. You can also create an alternative to the adjustable table by using a piece of wood approximately 18"x24". It can then be propped up with your legs or some books on a table to any angle you wish.
8. Lamp or Light Source
To create your best art you need the best light. Position the lamp or yourself in the right spot so you don't cast a shadow on your art work. There isn't a more important piece of art equipment to add to your art supply than a good artist lamp. When you have great lighting in your work space you can get a full appreciation for color, contrast, and composition. The best light source is outside light. So when setting up your work area be sure to be close to a window.
Being comfortable either at your desk or at the beach is so important. You want to be relaxed but not too comfortable that you'll fall asleep. Being in the same position for a long time can hurt your back or lose circulation in your legs, arms and even hands.
10. Light box
A light box will help the artist see through 2-3 sheets of paper at a time. It helps the artist to outline their rough sketches into fresh lines on a new sheet. It also allows you to change the position of your artwork when retracing to devise an enhanced composition.