I frequently get asked quite a lot of questions usually around, supplies, experience, tips&tricks, etc. So I figured it was about time to make a public blog and post one new post about the questions I encounter quite often every month.
So for this month, this blog post is centered around my frequently used art supplies. This is one of the BIGGEST questions I get all across my platforms; whether it's in Instagram posts/stories, Twitch streams, or Youtube videos, it became quite apparent that you guys are REALLY interested in my supplies. I thought a blog post telling you in full detail would quench that thirst!
So here goes, my top 10 most favorite art supplies:
I've been using Canson watercolor paper since I first started playing around with watercolors about two years ago. It's one of my favorite brands, why? Because it's cheap af and the quality can't be beaten for the price. I've found this pad ranges between $5-$7, sometimes $9, depending on where you buy it. It's literally the cheapest paper that doesn't bead up when you lift color or blend a spot for too long. I've tried an array of cheap watercolor paper, and NOTHING comes close to allowing me to blend it out easily like Canson does. Though I would love to eventually purchase better quality paper down the line like say, Arches, but at this time I'll stick to my Canson paper (hahahhaha).
2. Draft/Matic 0.5mm HB Mechanical Pencil
I received this pencil as a gift from an old friend which was so freaking awesome! It's one of my favorite mechanical pencils, and the lead size is thin enough for small detail in faces and linework for hair which is perfect for what I needed. Also using HB lead allows me to draw lightly, so my lines aren't as visible when I go over them with watercolors.
I never thought much about these things, but you guys actually ask about it ALOT. So, I do use tape to pin down my paintings, so they don't warp as much during my crazy watercolor wetting stages. I buy the cheapest tape I can get off of Amazon. It didn't exactly have a brand when I had bought it, but I show the name in the picture nonetheless. Try looking up 'painting tape,' and you'll find tons of options to choose from. I know a lot of artists that use the blue tape that you would use for painting actual walls, but they tend to be slightly expensive. Cheap is key!
I usually tape my paintings down onto a board. This allows me to shift my painting around to reach specific areas better, and so on. The board, to your surprise, is the board found on the back of the Canson Watercolor paper pad. I go through sooooooo many pads of paper, it's ridiculous. I try and reuse as much as I can out of my supplies, so I started saving the boards from the pads. Now you may be thinking, 'Girl, you must have a shit ton of boards laying around, you probably don't even use them all.' and I will have to say, that's far from true! Sometimes I don't have ENOUGH! Hahahaha I find myself balancing multiple paintings at once sometimes, so I usually have at least 3-5 boards taped down. And then, of course, I like to drive myself crazy, and start more paintings. Ya, see where I'm going here?
5. Holbein Watercolors
I currently started using Holbein watercolors after I began to use up some of my essential colors from my previous Gansai Tambi palette. I really like Holbein so far. They are highly pigmented and takes no effort to pull from the pan which is incredible. They lift nicely when I blend out colors but are easy to layer which is so important when it comes to how I paint. I think it's a nice palette for watercolor artists that are looking for a step up to better quality without jumping straight into the expensive tubes like Daniel Smith or M.Graham. It is a tad pricey though. I bought a set of 'used but new' 24 tubes for around $25. Off Amazon, they range to be about $40+ for a set of tiny 5ml tubes.
Previously I used Gansai Tambi, as mentioned above. It was my first palette I had ever purchased, so it is dear to my heart. If you're a beginner artist, looking into picking up watercolors but not sure about the investment, I highly suggest trying out Gansai Tambi. The 36 palette features large pans which make lifting from the pan a breeze, but the cost of the palette itself is very affordable. I believe it should be no more than $30 off of Amazon though I have spoken to other artists who say they have purchased it recently for close to $20. The palette is MASSIVE too, so it definitely feels like more of a bang for the buck.
Speaking to other artists, I have found that both brands are highly liked and recommended so you can't go wrong with either.
6. Meeden Pink Metal Palette
So since the Holbein set came in tubes instead of pans like the Gansai Tambi, I had to purchase another component to it: a palette. Normally, I go as cheap as I can, but I had come across this Pink metal palette that I couldn't get out of my head. It was a whopping $18 ALONE (well, full pans came with it but still), but damn, what can I say? A e s t h e t i c s.
7. Heat Tool
This was a yard sale find my mom gave me that I never knew I needed until I started streaming my painting process on Twitch. No one wants to sit around, waiting 30-60min for the first layer of paint to dry, am I right? So I pulled out this hella old, semi-sketchy embossing heat tool and it's been a lifesaver! You're welcome to use your hairdryer if you can't find any heat tools near you, or if they're too expensive, but I noticed the hairdryer pushes paint too quickly. The heat tool is just straight heat, and not a lot of blowing (that's what she said). It's also small, so it can fit comfortably on your desk or stashed away.
8. Escoda Watercolor Brushes
These brushes were sent to me by Escoda about a year and a half ago and have STILL held up to my abuse. They're the only brushes I've needed to use for painting with watercolors which I hope stays that way for as long as possible. The set I received varied in sizes and shape, but literally every single one of them in the set, I use for at least one stage within my painting process. Sizes consist of- 10, 6, 4, 2, 0. Though I feel for artists in general, fancy brushes aren't necessary at all. As long as they don't shed or fall apart, a brush is a brush. Just remember that an artist is not an artist by their supplies that they use, but they are an artist by the skills that they create with. I started with cheapie cracked brushes in the beginning and honestly, still, love going back to them as they were the ones I broke into.
When it comes to brushes used for any other medium such as oils, acrylics, gouache, I use my cheapie stash of brushes since I like to thrash them a bit.
9. Col-Erase Colored Pencils- Tuscan Red
A lot of people tend to mistake this for ink and are always so shocked to find that my linework is just colored pencil. Hahahaaha! This color seriously speaks to me. It works so nicely for lining flesh and for facial detail. I've been on the search for a pen that could come close to this color( as I tend to go through these pencils like crazy from continually resharpening them during the linework stages), but nothing can compare. One day, though....One day...
10. MyArtScape Gouache
Myartscape was kind enough to send me their new gouache set for me to test and review, a few months ago and honestly, I'm in loooove~ I've been wanting to play around with gouache and incorporate them into my watercolor paintings for a while now and had finally gotten the chance. I'm pretty happy with these, though I haven't used other brands so i can't necessarily say they are the best, but for what I use them for, they're pretty good. I mainly use gouache for highlights (using white streaks in the hair, or dots/glistens on the face), as well as for backgrounds. Eventually, I plan on investing in Holbein gouache so both watercolors and gouache can be 'matching' (I dunno, I'm just like that lol).
Again, an artist is not an artist by how expensive their tools are, but by the skills, they accumulated over time. Please don't think that you HAVE to have these specific supplies to create amazing things. Honestly, I started out on flimsy 'no brand' mixed media paper, cheapie brushes that I had laying around for years, and a $2.79 Prang watercolor set from my high school days. Eventually, I invested in each thing individually as I proved to myself that my skills could no longer go further without a slight upgrade (especially in paper and watercolors). I suggest you look around and find what suits you better, Some supplies just don't work for others. We all have our own individual taste. Please keep this in mind. <3
SO that's my top 10 MOST used art supplies. I hope you found this list useful! If you have any questions, feel free to comment down below!
So with that said, stay safe, stay hydrated, I'll see ya next month!