The BEST Art Supply Stores (They all ship)
CC Lowell - 258 Park Avenue, Worcester 508 757 7713 (Ask for April or Kristen and tell them I sent you)
Dick Blick - 401 Park Drive (Fenway Area), Boston 617 247 3322
Artists & Craftsman Supply -  580 Mass Ave, Cambridge 866 481 4574
Comic Tones (MAIL Order Only)
Jet Pens (Mail Order Only)

1- DRAWING TABLE -  You need an area where you can go to and work.  Ideally a separate room with a table, comfortable chair and a good lamp is best.  This room should be exclusively work only-- and should have all the supplies you need at hand.
Where to Buy: Dick Blick - Fenway area, Boston.

But a studio isn't always possible, many artists just starting out have to make do with what they have. Still, a designated work area in a corner of the kitchen or a back room is still better than no work area at all.  

If you do have to work on a regular table there are a few things you can do to make the work more productive.

You can get a good board at Home Depot cut to a size you're comfortable with for only a few dollars. A nice clip on lamp can attach to the top of the board to give you enough light.  Working this way eliminates the distortion of working flat AND relieves the fatigue that is going to set in when you work slouched over.

Invest the money in a good drafting chair that's comfortable.  This will pay you back quickly and help you produce your best work.

2 - PENCILS - There are a wide variety of pencils you can choose from.  I personally use mostly Mechanical Pencils but still use some regular drawing pencils for layouts.
Where to Buy: Dick Blick, Michaels, A&C Underground

When shopping for PENCILS you'll find different types of lead, it's actually fairly simple to understand if you look at the Pencil Lead Chart above-- H Lead is the hardest-- which will give you a very light line, while B Lead is softer, giving you a darker line.  HB Lead-- which falls between H and B is what your average #2 pencil uses and therefore the lead most of us are comfortable with.

I use a 2B lead to sketch in my layouts and then either an H or an HB to tighten up the details.  The advantage to using Mechanical Pencils is that you can change the lead, but in my case I have different lead in different pencils to save time.

3 - INKS & PAPER Dr Martin BOMBAY INK or DELETER brand Japanese Ink are my first choices for ink.  For paper I use 3 PLY BRISTOL-- some paper companies like Strathmore and Canson make comic book bristol in various sizes.  The usual choice is 11x17 in either smooth or toothy styles.  Some artists prefer to work on bristol with a bit of texture.

Quills and Brushes require control, and we'll be covering them with hands on lessons in the class.  I would suggest getting a Loew Cornell #2 round synthetic (white bristle) brush at Michaels Craft Stores and some DELETER brand ink from Comic Tones if you want the best tools, and neither is very expensive.

5 - ERASERS - Notice that I listed erasers AFTER ink.  That is the only way an eraser should be used.  Try to get out of the habit of erasing your pencil lines as you work-- it's best to draw your layouts light enough that you can go over the lines you want to keep and save your erasing until AFTER you've inked the drawing.  Erasing during the penciling stage can damage your paper and cause problems when you apply the ink.

The only good erasers are the White Plastic style-- I like Staedtler Mars Plastic the best.

6 - Digital Tools - I use an iMac with 2T of RAM for all my digital work.

A Wacom CINTIQ Tablet
11x17 Scanner 
and a lightbox.  A lightbox is crucial to trace over your pencil lines or to create a cleaner final.  If you don't want to invest in buying a commercial lightbox you can make one fairly easily: