Happy mid-October everyone!
I’ve been having a lot of fun doing my #blacktober prompt this year. It’s been going strong, and have done a complete sketch everyday so far! Hopefully this post won’t jinx my progress.
For this post I’d like to talk about the different supplies I use to make my traditional art. I love experimenting with my art, and have accumulated tons of supplies to use. I’ll let you know my favorites, and show you ones I use the most.
I went over the art techniques I use in this post, so this post will be a nice add-on!
I made a Tiktok a while ago showing off my supplies, but let’s look at them in more detail, shall we?
Everything I talk about today will be linked if you would like to shop 🙂
I love using mixed media sketchbooks. My favorites are the Strathmore Mixed Media sketchbook and the Canson Mixed Media sketchbook. The paper in this sketchbook is pretty thick, and depending on the type of paper you like, you can get the kind with more or less “tooth”, or a more grainy texture. The “toothy” textures take pencil and watercolor very well, and the smooth texture takes marker and ink very well. The Canson sketchbook I use the most frequently is a mixture of these textures, so I use many different types of supplies with this! The Strathmore sketchbook has a more smooth texture, so I’ve been using one for my Blacktober prompts. I tend to get the 9×12 size, but both sketchbooks come in a ton of different sizes.
A couple weeks ago, I bought a bulk these two sketchbooks, so I wouldn’t run out for a long time. I love these sketchbooks!
For illustrations and comic making, I like to use Bristol Board. The specific kind I use is the Strathmore 300 series Bristol Pad in the Vellum texture. This is a great surface for making comics because the Vellum surface is great for taking ink and markers of all types. I also use these for making illustrations too, especially for marker-based illustrations. I sometimes use gouache and watercolor on this surface, but the paint still takes the paper well enough. Just make sure you tape your paper down! These bristol boards come in many types of textures and sizes. I generally use the 11×14 size. I like to draw big, so I need a lot of room!
I also like to work on Illustration Board. The type I’ve been using is the Strathmore 500 series Illustration Board for Wet Media. This is a pretty good board for taking many different types of mixed medias. I don’t use illustration board all that much, but when I do, my artwork always looks more professional! I generally buy the 15×22 size and cut it into 4 equal pieces, making each piece around 7.5×11. It’s the perfect size for making cute little illustrations.
Some other types of paper I use is basic copy paper for printing designs for stickers, and photo paper for making art prints. I use the Canon Pro Luster paper, but I’d like to experiment with more photo paper for my prints in the future. I have to be careful though, cause it can get expensive!
Here’s a more in depth look of the supplies I use for stickers. Like I said, I use normal printer paper to print my designs on, and I use the Xtron sticker maker for making the actual sticker. I have an older design, but there’s a big and small machine, which are both really easy to use. I use to use sticker paper to print my stickers on and cut them from there, but I found it was harder to peel the stickers off, so I now use my Xtron.
My goal is to save funds to buy a Cricut Maker. These machines can make nice, high quality stickers. They’re pretty expensive though, so I will work hard to gather the funds for one! A Cricut Maker is definitely going in my Studio Picnic co-working space; one of each color for everyone to use!
Some of my favorite markers are the Koi Brush Pens. I love these because they come in tons of different colors, have a brush tip for making details, can be blended, and are affordable! I’ve been using them a lot during Blacktober; they can add color to any piece easily! Check out my Blacktober Archive page to see how I’ve used them.
Copic Sketch Markers are amazingly good tools. Like the Koi pens, they can add beautiful color to any piece, but can also be great for blending and adding a more rendered look to your work. They’re very expensive, so I only have a few; the 12 pack of basic colors, and a skin tone pack. I’ve been using the skin tone pack for my recent pieces, and it looks great! I would recommend these if you have some cash; like I said, they’re very expensive. Maybe someday I can afford one of the 72 packs…someday…
If you want to try these markers out, I suggest only buying the colors you need for the piece you’re working on, since you can buy individual colors.
Inking is probably my favorite thing to do in art. I love seeing a piece come together with the use of black ink. I honestly don’t stray too far with my inking supplies, so here’s what I use:
I love love love Sakura Pigma Micron Pens! These ink pens are smooth on every surface, and I use a lot of different sizes. For comic making, I can use them to get really detailed ink drawings that look great when I scan them into the computer. I also love to create different hatching techniques for extra details. These pens come in lots of different sizes, but my favorite ones are .5, .1, and .005. The smallest size is super great for very tiny, intricate details, and .1 is usually my go-to.
One of my new favorite ink pens is the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. It’s a brush pen that produces a beautiful line that can range from super thick to very thin and detailed. I use it for filling in black areas, or making interesting line art. I don’t know how I was making art without it!
When I’m in a painting mood, I like to mainly use water based paints like watercolor and gouache. These paints work well with most of the paper I use, and I generally build up thin layers of paint to then layer colored pencils, or even inks on top. I’m not super big into painting like I was in art school, so I use paints pretty sparingly in my art these days.
For watercolor, I use the Winsor & Newton brand. These come in a tube, which I prefer over the pan sets. I use a plastic palate to hold the watercolors, and add a few drops of water to the paint when I want to use it! If you go to your local art supply store, there’s a lot of different supplies like palates, water cups, and more to get.
I use gouache from time to time. I don’t have the best brand of gouache, so I would recommend to you the Winsor & Newton brand of gouache as well. Mainly because that’s the brand I’ll be switching to! I just bought a cheap brand from Michaels because I wanted to try out the medium back in art school. I honestly don’t use gouache as much lately, but it’s a good paint medium to try out! It’s like a mix of watercolor and acrylic.
As for brushes, I don’t really have a brand I stick to, but I tend to stick to smaller brushes for painting. Mostly because I paint small areas. I would check out Blick’s website on their selection of brushes! Stick with the synthetic brushes though.
For the longest time, I used mechanical pencils to draw. While they are good to draw with, I found the kind I was using smudged too much, and as a left handed person, this was bad. I switched to harder pencil, General Kimberly’s pencils to be exact. I use the 2H hardness, and it’s been very good for sketching and planning. The graphite is hard enough so it doesn’t smudge, and can even be layered with a softer pencil to darken the drawing!
To keep the pencil drawing in tact, I like to use spray fixative to keep it from smudging. I use this brand. This is so my pencil sketches can be better preserved in a sketchbook. Hey, a full pencil sketchbook for sale may be a good idea, what do you think?
Anyways, graphite pencils are great, but let’s move on to colored pencils! I wanted to use the expensive Prismacolor colored pencils, but I found a more affordable brand by Blick. I bought the 48 pack of varied colors on an impulse buy. They add a nice layer of texture over a watercolor painting. Now that I have more colors to work with, I can play around more with this mixed media technique!
The supplies above are what I mainly use, but there are many other supplies than come in handy.
Masking fluid being one of them. Its main function is to cover parts of a painting that you don’t want watercolor to touch. It then peels off afterwards. I used it for that red Sailor Moon piece up above.
Higgin’s India Ink comes in handy if I have a big black area I want to cover, or if I feel like doing some ink wash painting. I haven’t done an ink wash painting in a long time, but I enjoy them a lot, so maybe I’ll do one after Blacktober? I’ve also used india ink and a special brush to make interesting hair textures. I’m really interested in using colored ink for paintings, but colored ink can get expensive.
I do use white ink for adding extra white shines and spots to my art.
Another technical thing is using painter’s tape for creating boarders for paintings. I use painter’s tape all the time, and I love it because it’s very sticky, but gentle on my illustration boards.
Sometimes I use glitter in my art too! I haven’t done it very much, but the idea is to take normal glue and shake the glitter on spots.
I also experimented with using doilies! The idea is to take the lacy parts of a doily and add that patterned texture to the background of a piece. I don’t have a successful piece with this effect, but I’ll show you what I was inspired by:
That’s all for this big, art supply post! I hope it helped anyone out there looking to get some new inspiration.
Just know that it doesn’t take hundreds of dollars to get a stellar collection of art supplies. I’ve had most of my supplies for years now. I went to an art school, and was able to accumulate a ton of supplies. When I was in high school, I was fine with my little sketchbook, pencil, and ballpoint pen. Heck, I drew in a lined notebook for most of my high school career! If you have a pencil and paper, you can draw, and the special fancy supplies will come later. Sometimes friends and family can be very generous and gift you supplies, or you can find people selling supplies on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. Like with your art, you can get creative with your hunt for good art supplies.
See you all in the next post!