My Favorite Art Tools

I am often asked about my favorite art supplies and which tools I use regularly.  Rather than attempting to answer each individual question one at a time, I thought I would draw up a hand little list with links* that I can update as needed.  Hopefully you will find this blog post helpful as you pursue your own artistic endeavors.  If there is something that you think should be added to this list, let me know! I would love to have an excuse to try something new!

 

PENCILS

This is my current favorite DRAWING PENCIL/HOLDER.  The weight is good and has a nice hold (I have a 0.7mm).  For led, I prefer HB and B, as I have a light hand.  If you are heavy handed, I would go with an H or even a 2H, though you risk scratching the surface of the paper with the harder lead.
I may try THIS PENCIL in the future, because I do miss the natural wear down of the thicker led pencils of traditional methods.

INK PENS

A recent favorite already has a cult following: MICRON.  I love the smaller sizes, as usual, and the fact that the ink is waterproof.  Yes, waterproof.  My mind was blown—I did not even realize that this was a thing!  It has been the perfect addition to my watercolor portrait routine.  I love them.
I have used FABER CASTELL since college and have always loved the XS size.  I prefer to work with one size and just go back over my lines to thicken and add emphasis, rather than switch between sizes and styles.

PAPER

For watercolor paper, my favorite is STRATHMORE 300 SERIES.  Yes, that cheap paper that you can find on sale at your local craft store every few weeks!  My favorite is the 9x12 size.  So close to my usual 8x10, and the perfect size for my scanner.  The water sits well on the paper, but doesn't sit to short or long.  I have actually never tried Arches, which has the cult following, but I don't like a lot of tooth to the edges of my paintings (how the pigment dries), and from what I understand, Arches tends to be rather guilty of this!  Something to try in the future, however!

For portraits (pencil/ink), I generally use this BRISTOL PAPER.  I like the smooth texture.  Perfect for the fine details of a colored pencil portrait or a small ink contour.  For sketches themselves, I generally just grab a sheet of computer paper or whatever sketchbook is handy.  I am not picky—I just want to draw! haha

WATERCOLORS

I learned to paint with a small traveler's kit, similar to THIS ONE BY WINSOR AND NEWTON.  If you are just starting out, or find yourself short on time to learn and explore, these pans are really convenient.  While I generally use tube paint now, it is because I am more aware of what colors I love and use regularly.
For brushes, I have not found a favorite brand at this point.  Again, not super picky about this, though I generally prefer round brushes in various sizes.  I did receive THIS SET for Christmas, and have enjoyed using it, though I would not say that I am in danger of becoming a "snob" at this point.

 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

 

2018 Midwest Wedding Vendors

There are so many things that I would do differently if I were getting married again (to my Superman, of course).  Not only knowing more about the industry than a fresh-out-of-college graphic design student would, but knowing specific vendors who I would want to work with.

So I have decided to have list (updated annually) of my preferred vendors—who would I want to work with for my big day—people who create quality work in a style that I find relevant to today's wedding trends (just say "no" to the pom-pom style wedding bouquets), and people who I know that I can trust.

 
TopMidwestWeddingVendors.png
 

WEDDING PLANNER:

Rhiannon Bosse | Full service; Day of Coordinating; Florals
I love her sense of style and the way she runs the show.  I recently listened to a podcast style Instagram-live and I loved what I heard/learned.  She is organized and thinks ahead, which is exactly what you want in a wedding planner.
Ines & Marie | Full service; Day of Coordinating; Styling
Romantic and elegant.  They run a full show and can offer help with florals, paper goods, styling and renting furniture

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Samantha James Photography
A recent discovery for me, but I was instantly hooked!  One thing I can definitely say that I regret from our wedding day was not taking the time to look for a quality photographer.  You have that with Samantha, and she's a sweetheart to boot!
Kristen Cloyd Photography
I love this girl!  Based in Chicago, I love her light and airy style as well as her personable and genuine heart.  A newer photographer to the field, she is quickly making a name for herself

Honorable Mention:
If she had not moved down south, than I would probably call Alison Chang for our photographer.  I've worked with her in the past and absolutely loved the finished results and how she was able to help everyone relax and feel comfortable.

FLORIST:

A Day Design | Florals; Event Planning
If I chose one of the planners above, I would likely use their floral services, but I do often find myself crusting over Shelby's work.  I haven't worked with her myself, but she has a great reputation.
Curtsy and Bow | Florals; Planning
I have had the pleasure of working with Robin on a styled shoot this past year.  She is a doll, very personable and down to earth, and her bouquets were stunning.  Definitely my favorite part of the entire shoot.

VENUE:

The Detroit Institute of Arts | Walter B. Ford Great Hall
The hubby and I are both artists and I can't believe that I didn't think of this venue when we were married a few years ago!  I love the idea of celebrating in this beautiful environment with the white marble and the elegant pillars... I would definitely consider having our ceremony and pictures taken here!
Greenfield Village; The Henry Ford
I am a history lover, and one of my favorite places in the world is Greenfield Village.  For an outdoor ceremony, I would probably choose Pennsylvania Courtyard or the Coltswold Cottage.  The Lovett Hall Ballroom would be a beautiful reception location—and I love the idea of pictures in the Prechter Promenade.

SOMETHING UNEXPECTED:

Unlike Juliet | Wedding Magazines
Betsy is a gem and we have been instagram buddies for a few years now.  Her wedding magazines are brilliant and I am hoping to snag one of her business versions in the near future!

 

Wedding Invitations with a Historical Flair

Could all of my stationery have architecture drawings on it?  I am in love with the contrast between the more delicate and free watercolor next to the structured line drawing of this memorial.  It perfectly echoed the elegance for this event and even added the needed sophistication to the reception table.  The beautiful wine and peachy pink flowers with the minty sage leaves were the perfect color combination for this early fall wedding.  I especially love how the wine envelope grounds the entire suite and keeps it from looking too light and airy for the location or season.

If you have not had the opportunity to visit the Grosse Pointe War Memorial—just to tour the grounds—I highly recommend it.  Beautiful architecture, lovely gardens, nice views.  It was a pleasure.

GrossePointeWeddingInvitation3.png
Source: HistoricalWeddingInvitations

A Seaside Wedding Invitation

And by "seaside", I mean "lakeside".

This lighthouse and wedding took place at Marblehead Lighthouse, just off of Lake Erie.

I love how everything came together for this invitation. The bride specifically requested a sophisticated "beach" theme.  She didn't want seashells everywhere, but the venue—which was also where this sweet couple was engaged—begged for a tie in with the stationery.

It was decided: the lighthouse had to be included, and a crest surrounding the text of the invitation itself was decided upon to add a classier element.  To tie the two elements together, the shield of the crest itself is a thick rope and the water is delicately added to the corners.  Add some flowers and you have the main body of this invitation!

It was love at first sketch.

The icing on the cake (or, shall we say "the salt in the air"? Okay, I'm done... this is a freshwater LAKE, after all) was adding the gold metallic elements.  Because this was a small suite, I hand painted the gold dots on the berries.  It was a simple way to add that extra special something to really make this suite shine!


What do you think? What is your favorite element of this suite?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

NauticalWeddingINvitation.png