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!
THIS PENCIL is my current favorite drawing pencil. I appreciate having a holder that I can put lead into rather than a traditional pencil at this point. I was sick of all of my pencils being short stubs and having to fight with them because I hated the idea of wasting so much product! This has the natural wear-down of a traditional pencil, but less waste and has a good weight to it. Bonus: There's a sharpener in the "lid"(?), which is great!
For lead, 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.
For a more "mechanical pencil" feel, I like THIS ONE. While I personally prefer the one I mentioned earlier, I have carried this one around quite a bit. It's a great back up for me (I have a 0.7mm).
I used Verithin colored pencils for years while I was creating exclusively colored pencil portraits. They are very easy to use and have a hard lead which helps you to get that soft, airy look. For more realistic and lifelike portraits, I love to use Prismacolor's other pencils—they have a more of an oily base to them, so they blend like a d-r-e-a-m and look more like a painting.
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.
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
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.
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