Do you want to start drawing? Or are you thinking about getting new art supplies? But want to make sure you're not wasting money on unnecessary tools? Sure, I think you should give yourself permission to explore, but there are so many brands and mediums under the sun that it may get overwhelming. Where do you start?
You've come to the right place! Let's get right to it. Here is a short and sweet list of my 7 tried-and-true, favorite art supplies (aside from pencils, eraser, etc...). I hope this list helps you get started on your creative journey.
I like making my own sketchbooks. Of all types and sizes. Sometimes to save scraps or to create mini journals. I’ve played around with Canson pads, but they don’t hold up as well as Strathmore. They buckle even with a light wash. And all I really need is a pad of either the watercolor or Strathmore Bristol Paper depending on the theme of my sketchbook. (And also a mini binding system. I bought one a few years ago and it's worth the investment if you want to make your own notebooks. Let me know if you are interested in a tutorial for making your own sketchbooks!)
It’s imperative as creatives that we capture what inspires us. I recently switched from the Ecoqua Grid Notebook by Fabriano to Rhodia. The grid became distracting and I want to try bullet journaling (again... and make it pretty like how the people on Pinterest do it. Lol) so I went for dotted to keep my writing in line. And! What I love about Rhodia paper is that there’s no ghosting with my gel pen.
These watercolors are vibrant and creamy. Although I got started with Reeves and used it for a year, the blendability with Winsor and Newton is just amazing. I hadn't realized the Reeves brand was chalky and grainy until I got my hands on the Winsor and Newton. There are professional grade watercolors like Rembrandt and Sennelier for serious watercolorists out there, but for those of us who just want to play, the Cotman series do a fine job.
I choose Sakura Microns over Faber-Castell and Prismacolor Premiere Pens. The latter brands have dull inks and just don’t have as as much control as the Micron Pens. Microns also work wonders with watercolors! Sizes 01, 02, and 05 offer a good variety of line weights. Fun fact: I used to write with the 005 in college. Anything thicker than 05, I use my brush pen. Just a little word of warning though, occasionally, one of the pens in the pack might leak after a few months... It just can’t handle the pressure. Haha.
I don’t carry this light box around with me, but it makes copying over illustrations that much easier! You have to keep it connected to a power source, but there’s no second guessing your line work from your sketches, and you can adjust the brightness. It’s a really good investment if you want to keep your original sketches or if you’re a perfectionist like me and you want guides for when you're writing love letters on parchment paper.
I’m still trying to get a firm grasp on this brush pen to achieve the style I’m going for. I've been drawing with this pen for about a year on and off. It takes some practice, and it really does make an impact with your ink illustrations. They don't fare well with watercolors though. I haven’t tried any other brush pens because I haven’t felt the need to. So this is my number one.
If you’re in the art journaling or illustration world, you know about the Uniball Signo White Gel Pen. If not, I am about to rock your world. The Unibal Signo White gel pen is the most opaque white pen that beats even my acrylics when it comes to covering up mistakes or bringing in highlights. If you want to add eye lights to your portraits, get a set of these pens! They really do bring your illustrations to life. You might need a post-it handy though to get the ink flowing.
BONUS! Some of the basic art supplies I use when I draw (aside from mechanical pencils) are:
KUM Pencil Sharpener (The only sharpener you’ll ever need!)
Blending Stumps (You might be able to buy smaller packs in Michaels or Blicks)
And that's it for my list of art supplies! What supplies do you love to use that I didn’t mention?
Let me know in the comments below! 🙂
Draw more often and make the world a more colorful place,
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Disclaimer: I am NOT sponsored by any of these brands (though that would be awesome.) However, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Your purchase helps support my work and my brand as an artist.