As many of you know, I absolutely LOVE art. It’s one of my very favorite hobbies, and also my job. I know a bunch of you guys enjoy art too, so I thought it’d be fun to show you a few of my favorite art mediums, brands, and supplies, along with how I use them. 🙂 Hopefully you’ll discover some new things to improve your art and make the process more fun.
Also, I will link to my Etsy shop a couple of times, as well as throw in some affiliate links (see note below the featured image. Okay, that’s it! I hope you enjoy these mini reviews!
NOTE: This post includes affiliate links. If you purchase something using my link, the price won’t change for you, but I get a small commission for advertising and you get to support this blog for free! Thanks – I quite appreciate it! 🙂
- Winsor & Newton watercolors. These supplies aren’t really in order of most liked to least liked, but this might be my favorite. 🙂 I’ve had this set for a few years and I still love it! The colors are very pigmented but still transparent, like quality watercolors should be. It comes with 24 individually wrapped “pans” of watercolor, which you can replace color-by-color when you run out. Handy, right?
- Faber-Castel Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils. To be honest, I haven’t used these much yet, so far I’ve enjoyed them! They’re not as richly colored as “real” paint unless you apply a good amount of pressure or use lots of layers, but other than that, they’re excellent. Unless you press too hard, the pigment dissolves almost perfectly in water with no streaks. Watercolor pencils are great for on-the-go sketches, or detailed illustrations when you want more control over the outcome.
- Silver Black Velvet paintbrush, size 8. If you only buy one paintbrush, this is the one to get! Silver Black Velvet brushes are ridiculously expensive, but let me tell you – this paintbrush is ridiculously amazing. Why? Because it’s so versatile: you can paint a whole background fairly well if your paper isn’t huge, but on the other hand you can twirl the tip into a tiny point that’s great for details. I’ve had this brush for a while and the bristles are nearly as good as new!
- Strathmore/Arches watercolor paper. In a lot of ways, a quality brush and good watercolor paper will help your art more than a fancy set of watercolors. I guess this is technically two recommendations, but your choice will depend on your budget. Strathmore watercolor paper is affordable and pretty good quality too – great for beginners! Arches, on the other hand, is NOT cheap, but it’s also outstanding quality. These are both cold press (bumpy – think goose-bumps from the cold), but I really want to try hot press (smooth) sometime…
- Hand-Book Journal Co. Sketchbook. (The link is to the same brand but different size.) This little guy is a great, versatile sketchbook that handles almost anything! The bookmark and elastic band are lovely features as well. 🙂 The paper is thick enough that your art won’t bleed through, except perhaps with Copics, Sharpies, and the like. It will wrinkle a little with watercolor, as you can see in the far right picture, but it’s an acceptable substitute for actual watercolor paper when you’re just doing a casual painting.
- Royal & Langnickel Gouache. I’m not experienced with gouache so I can’t really compare this to anything else, but I enjoy using this set, and it’s SO cheap. Gouache is basically a cross between watercolor and acrylic paint: water soluble like the former and creamy, bright, and more opaque like the latter. This set comes with a great range of brilliant colors that dry with a beautiful matte finish. The white gouache is especially good for highlights.UPDATE: I like Arteza’s gouache set so much better! 🙂 You can find all different sets on their website, or get a gloriously huge pack here.
- Gelly Roll white gel pen. (It’s best to get a pack of these at a craft store like Hobby Lobby or Michaels rather than online.) Guys, if you enjoy art and don’t have a white gel pen, PLEASE GET ONE. They’re super cheap and nearly indispensable, in my opinion. White gel pens have SO many uses, but they’re especially good for highlights on shiny objects like eyes and glass, as well as small details like whiskers, or intricate patterns like mandalas or the triangles in the art below. This brand of pen glides on smoothly and dries bright white.
- Gold ink. Another fun way to make your drawings pop is to use gold ink! This is the only gold ink I’ve used, but I don’t think I need to try any more. 😉 It’s super shimmery and metallic and beautiful. The one small drawback is that you need to shake it well before using as it separates pretty easily. See the layers in the top center picture? If you shake it, it works great, though!
- Prismacolor colored pencils. I think I’ll stand by these pencils for the rest of my life. XD I never really liked using colored pencils before I got these, but now I do! Where normal colored pencils can be streaky and hard to blend, these are creamy, brilliant, and blend super easily. They’ll still be streaky if you apply them lightly or don’t blend them well, but… see the rooster picture down there? I did that entirely with these pencils, and it looks almost painted, doesn’t it?
- Micron pens. I LOVE THESE THINGS! Not only does this set come with a fantastic range of tip sizes, but the ink is dark, flows well, and is completely waterproof. That’s the best part. Don’t you hate it when you’re drawing something and then paint over it and smudge the whole thing? You don’t have that problem with Microns! I got these pens last year, I think, and the ink is just now starting to run out in some of them even with how often I use them. One thing to note is the nibs will wear down after a while if you press too hard while drawing.
- Frixion erasable pens. This is more of a letter-writing or doodling supply than a full-blown art medium, but they would work well for preliminary sketches like you’d usually do with pencil. You’re probably wondering if they can actually erase… and yes, they do! See the picture down there? It works, trust me! Sometimes you’ll still see a trace of ink left, but often it completely disappears.
- Mechanical pencils. It’s annoying to sketch details with regular pencils because you have to sharpen them so often. But that’s not a problem with this set! These HB pencils come in four sizes for various levels of detail, as well as plenty of replacement erasers and lead. These are GREAT for complicated sketches.
- T’GAAL pencil sharpener. This is by far the best handheld sharpener I’ve found, and it can even compete with electric sharpeners! It’s easy to use and doesn’t break the pencil or leave those annoying shards of wood like handheld sharpeners usually do. The knob adjusts how much it sharpens the pencil – 1 doesn’t grind off much wood, just the very tip; while 5 makes the sharpened part long and narrow.
- Kneaded eraser. (You can find these at craft stores too.) This gray blob doesn’t look very appealing, but it’s most helpful. Kneaded erasers are putty-like erasers that lift graphite without harming the fibers of your paper. They might not get your paper as white as a normal eraser, but they’re great for evenly lightening broad swaths of pencil or sketches. You can also roll them to a fine point for erasing small details. Also they last forever and don’t flake all over your drawing!
- Washi tape set. (You can also find this at Hobby Lobby.) Of course, I had to add washi tape to this list, right? XD I have a bunch of beautiful tapes, but this set includes some of my favorites. Unfortunately, the gold foil tape has a paper backing (see picture below) which is kind of annoying to use… but it peels off like a sticker and is great otherwise!
And that’s it for my top 15 art supplies! I hope you guys enjoyed seeing the photos and art, and maybe found some new products to try out. 😀
Do you have any of these supplies? Which one would you like the most? What is your favorite art supply?
Thanks for reading, dears, and have a lovely day!