My favorite art materials. What a task it was to decide!
I have a board on Pinterest where I collect images from people’s studios, as well as my wishlist of artifacts and art objects that in my head will create the most magical universe of creation. But none of this matters if I hoard. And until now that’s what I’ve been doing: hoarding art materials.
Just last week I discovered that some of my liquid watercolors that I bought in Mexico had evaporated. Not a drop left. I also discovered that some of my Faber Castell Pitt Pens had dried out. My watercolor tubes are sealed shut. I can’t open the cap unless I use pliers or hot water. However, on my palette certain colours have been used up. Oil pastels and certain coloured pencils are suddenly stubs of their original selves.
This should give me a clear idea of where my heart lies. My palette, my mediums and my paper. But for some reason, and in particular during this period of unrest, I tend to calm myself by buying more art stuff. Stuff that I don’t need. I’m pretty ashamed about it. So this weekend I decided to make an inventory of things I have and be super mindful in choosing my favorite things and nothing else.
I also vowed to use my materials. All of them and until I run out, I won’t buy any more. Please hold me accountable!
For my graphite portraits and my pencil sketches like the one above, I use a few pencils:
Toison d’or by Koh-I-Noor in HB and 2B, they sharpen beautifully with a sharpener or blade. I use these for the midtones as they are a bit harder
Lyra Art Design: in F that gives me a really nice finishing. When I feel I went from too dark to too light suddenly I go over it with the F to sort of even it out.
Palomino Blackwing 155, ahh.. these pencils, so dark, so creamy. This is a special edition which looks quite lovely in my pencil cup. Rough sketching, value studies, quick and easy!
Staedtler Mars Lumograph Black. in 2B, it’s different than the Toison D’Or, this one is softer.
Polychromos colour pencils: Before I used Prismacolor, but one day I bought two shades of Polychromos and I didn’t look back. I’m linking to the 120 set but I recommend you get them individually and build a collection of your own.
If I don’t link to them, I got them in a local art supply shop.
St-Petersburg White Nights: I’ve been using these artist grade paints since 2015 after trying other professional brands. This palette is incredibly versatile. You can create a perfect balanced split complementary palette because it includes Emerald green and Carmine. I also have the 12 pan set which is quite handy for travelling. The best part is that these are quite affordable for their quality.
Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache: I use gouache interchangeably with watercolor, so I have a preference for the traitional gouache instead of the Acryla, though I also have a few tubes. I got this set on a visit to Brooklyn and I adore it. I don’t have to worry that my brushes will get ruined as I often forget to rinse them. If you like Acryla Gouache, Sara Boccaccini Meadows has an excellent Skillshare class, if you prefer Winsor & Newton, Angela McKay also has a class where you can see how she mixes lovely colours.
Water Soluble but can be used dry
Derwent Inktense Blocks, these are like solid ink. I use them for sketching, a bit like charcoal and then add water. Sometimes I create mixes or use my brush directly on the block. These are great for landscapes.
Neocolor by Caran D’Ache, these can be used almost like pastel, but you blend them with water. You can use them dry and layer them a bit but not as much as oil pastel. Like the Polychromos, I liked to the largest set so you can see how many colors are available, but try to pick y our colours by yourself. I love these for food illustrations. They give them a bit of a childlike feel. Lindsay Stripling has a class on Creativebug in which she uses different materials, among them the Neocolors.
Last but not least, my beloved oil pastels. Of course if I had all the money in the world I would buy the Sennelier case, but I don’t so I bought several of the cheaper kind and I have to say that once I’m done with the Craypas and the Mungyo, which are OK I will only get Neopastel. In fact I have ordered about five of the Neopastel Cream and five of the Granite Rose, which help with skin tones a lot more than just white.
I recently started to buy from Jackson’s Art Supplies and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with their customer service, the variety of materials and most of all: the ship to Canada and display prices in Canadian Dollars. I have been consciously weaning myself off Amazon. If I find what I want even a bit more expensive elsewhere or I have to pay shipping, I will pay. The main two reasons: their treatment of workers and it just can’t be possible that the guy is so filthy rich. He doesn’t need my pennies.
The links included here are referral links, meaning I will get a tiny commission if you make a purchase. As I said before, I have linked to the complete sets of things so you can see the available colours but I strongly recommend you build your own collection based on the colours you use the most. It’s remember to protect your creative independence by always checking in with your taste and your style!
Do you have questions or want recommendations? Send me a message on Instagram!