Having a good quality collection of art supplies is key to creating great work. Your creativity never has to be held back just because of your supplies, but it’s always worth trying to get the best quality you can. A lot of the time with art supplies, you get what you pay for, so it’s worth paying a little more. However you definitely don’t have to break the bank! 🙂
I thought today I’d share a small snippet into my favourite art supplies, and why I’d recommend them to others. Since I started sharing my artwork over on Instagram, I’ve had a LOT of questions about what I use and where I buy from. I thought sharing a blog post like this might help those wondering, or inspire anyone wanting to try something new!
Please bear in mind these are just my own opinions and recommendations, and I’m definitely no Bob Ross 😉
Acrylic: Acrylic is probably my favourite paint type, as it’s so great for the Art style I prefer to do (messy, thick, easy to blend/versatile). I always stick to Windsor & Newton acrylic paint tubes, they’re my baes. They offer absolutely fantastic quality, and the prices really aren’t bad at all IMO. These 60ml tubes you see in my photo averaged around £2-£3 each. I know that gets expensive when you consider all the colours you’ll need, but I just can’t get enough of them. Definitely my fave.
Watercolour: I have two different types of watercolour paints; the single small tubes from Windsor & Newton (again), and this compact set of colours I got from Cass Art a while ago. I honestly love both. I’d definitely recommend buying the single tubes, as you have so many more options for mixing colours and creating the perfect shade. However the set I got from Cass Art is also amazing quality, and keeps everything in one handy place. It is priced at just under £40 though, so beginners might want to opt for something a little cheaper if they’re not sure they’ll be as dedicated. A little more determined or experienced though? I say it’s well worth the money.
Gouache: I’ll be honest, gouache isn’t my favourite. I avoid it if possible, as I just don’t enjoy the texture as much as Acrylic paint. However if I am using gouache, I’m using Reeves. Sets of Reeves colours are available for under £10, and the quality isn’t bad. You can definitely pay more for better quality, but personally I don’t bother as I know I don’t enjoy the medium as much.
I don’t have any recommendation for Oil paints as these are the worsssstt! Okay, oil lovers will hate me now, haha. But I genuinely despise oil paints, soz. I think this stems from my impatience more than anything, if I’m honest. Oil paintings take SO LONG to dry (around a day), and as someone who likes to work in many layers, you can imagine how I might find that frustrating.
Paint brushes: I definitely have a clear preference when it comes to brushes, and I now stick to this preference throughout whatever work I may be doing. I use Royal & Langnickel Crafters Choice paintbrushes; they are super versatile and have a soft rubber grip which is probably way more important to me than it should be (dork). I use these for both acrylic and watercolour paintings. I prefer round or angled brushes with synthetic brush bristles. If you’re vegan, always check what brushes you are using! Lots of places sell horse hair bristles, and other examples. Synthetic is better anyway, so shop mindfully!
Pens: Us stationery nerds love a good pen don’t we? I could probably be here all day talking about my faves, but I’ll stick to my two most important and most used, for now. I use Copic Multiliner pens and BIC Ultra Fine Point Permanent markers. Both these pens are perfect for watercolour work, because they won’t run when you go over them with water, YAY! This means you can draw your outline, give it a few minutes to dry, and then go in with your paints without worrying the whole thing will ‘smush’ together. Copic pens come in a range of nib sizes, so you can really get yourself a whole collection, and they’re wonderful. Pricey though, as each pen costs around £3.30. The BIC marker pens are probably a little less ‘traditional’, but something I accidentally discovered and then loved! They have a super fine nib, and have that great staying power, even when painting over. However, these pens do tend to bleed when drawing more than Copic ones (which won’t bleed at all, actually). I like having this choice, and love having such an ‘inky’ pen; but please keep this in mind. This probably isn’t the pen for you if you need something super precise and don’t like a hand-drawn/messy style like I do.
Markers: I’ll have to try keep this brief, as again I could be here all day comparing markers. I have three main sets of markers I use and love. Posca pen markers are great for heavy pigmentation, come in a range of nib sizes, and look great for adding real pops of colour to your work. The Windsor & Newton Pigment Marker set have dual nibs, amazing quality and lightfast pigment (meaning your artwork won’t drain over time). Finally, the Windsor & Newton Water Colour Markers offer a beautiful and versatile pen that can be used with water to create paint like work. These are my FAVE.
Watercolour paper: Watercolour paper is something I try to stock up on when I find a bargain, but it’s definitely one of those things I’ll invest more money into rather than scrimp. Take note of the weight of the paper; I stick to using at least 300gsm paper. This means when using water, your paper won’t absorb too much and you don’t have to worry about your paper bending, or becoming a ‘smushy mess’.
Canvases: The great things about canvases, is that more and more discount stores now seem to be selling good quality, stretched canvases for a decent price. This is great for any beginners! I recommend checking out Wilkos, The Range and other similar stores for bargains, and buying in bulk.
Journals: If you’re thinking of keeping an art journal for doodling, using markers, or maybe even watercolours in; I definitely recommend checking out the Moleskin selection of journals. The paper quality is thick and heavy and can usually take a good amount of work.
Where to shop: Wilkos, Cass Art, The Range – These are all regular haunts for me. Obviously browse around online too, compare prices and try to grab a bargain where you can.
I do hope this post helps anyone who might be wondering what tools I use, or inspire anyone wanting to try dip their toe into the art world. I say try it out no matter what your experience or skill level! Even if you’re a total noob, practise will help you improve and creating art is such a rewarding hobby.
*Any items sent for review are written about 100% honestly and in my own words. Sometimes collaborative content and partnerships with brands will appear on this blog. Affiliates links are used throughout this blog.
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